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Sex scandals, politics hurt the Women’s Movement?

Editor’s Note:SDNN columnist Colleen O’Connor will write about women throughout the month of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. Join us as we recognize Women’s History Month by sending in your stories too and checking SDNN every day for stories from other women in our region. Happy Women’s History Month!
What a month for Women’s History.

Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi just muscled a landmark health care package across the finishing line in the House of Representatives.

Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton is on the brink of an “unprecedented accord” with Russia for a reduction of nuclear arms.

Detroit native and Princeton professor emerita Natalie Zemon Davis, just won Norway’s Holberg International Memorial Prize for being “one of the most creative historians writing today”— the reward for a lifetime of scholarly work — $785,000. Admirable.

An independent thinker, in an independent age, Davis approaches history from the ground up — “where what happens in a woman’s workshop—can count as much as decisions at a king’s council.”

In short, her equivalent of the physicists’ chaos theory. Meaning, “If a butterfly flaps its wings in China, the weather changes in New York.”

Wouldn’t the Women’s Movement be proud? First the right to vote. Then equality in admissions to colleges, universities, law schools, medical schools, politics, the military, and equal pay for equal work.

As the cigarette commercial for Slims once trumpeted, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

And finally, modesty is back in fashion on the Paris and Milan runways.

How could it be otherwise when dresses are backless, frontless, seamless and with less transparency than the Fed—and more “wardrobe malfunctions” than Janet Jackson?

Nowhere else to go, but cover up. But, I digress.

Closer to home

Now appearing nightly, at one of San Diego’s Strip Clubs, is the latest in a long list of young women who have catapulted above their aging elders to fame, fortune, and fabulous notoriety at increasingly young ages.

Lead stories on the sex lives of the rich, famous, talented, and disturbed have been blasting across most media outlets, overshadowing the now insufferable health care debates.

There are so many exhibitionist mistresses, mavens, and malcontents, that I can’t keep up.

Seriously. Where do these women come from?

Just think about it:

Elizabeth Edwards is on the cover of People Magazine with a photo insert of Rielle Hunter, John Edward’s New Age mistress. The headline blares, “How much more can she take?”

Let’s see. Edwards has been diagnosed with cancer. Her husband has:

• One, maybe more mistresses.
• A child, not Edwards’ child but his former aide’s…later his.
• A slew of National Enquirer stories, quite unbelievable, but true, and in contention for a Pulitzer Prize for “investigative journalism.”
• A tell all book about the double life of the family man by his own former aide.
• A sex video, raunchy by some standards, X-rated by all standards, filmed by his mistress; who directed, wrote, filmed, and starred in her little story.
• A GQ article with salacious photos and bizarre comments by the stuffed animal clutching, Rielle-Hunter.
• A grand jury investigation detailing the laundering of non-profit funds to pay said mistress. Hints of a criminal indictment.
• And confirmation of possible “other assignations” complete with 2am jogs, towels stuffed under hotel room doors, etc. Small wonder these guys like being on the road campaigning.

That Edwards may have know of her husband’s infidelity, and still pushed his candidacy for the Presidency, which may have also cost Clinton the election as the first woman President of the U.S. does qualify as a compelling narrative if written from the ground up as in Davis’ history of women’s workshops.

I’m sure Hunter would agree.

Only instead of the butterfly flapping its wings, these women are flapping their lips.

But, there are more such stories. Many, many more.

Here is but a partial list of anonymous women who toiled in the “workshops” that would keep our creative, “ground-up historian, Davis busy:

• The very expensive prostitutes visited by former New York Attorney General Elliott Spitzer. They kept the money. He lost his job. His wife stayed.
• The woman in Argentina that disgraced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford claimed to be his “soul mate” but couldn’t take along on his “hikes along the Appalachian trail. He escaped impeachment. His wife left him.
• The women willing to service Tiger Woods’ voracious and often kinky requests, requires a calculator and a strong stomach. He racks up conquests sex texts faster than the National Debt clock.

Just out of a short course in sex rehab, and about to return to the Masters Golf Tournament Tiger Woods now faces the publication of a slew of his “sex texts” from one of his mistresses’ online websites.

Use your own imagination to fill in the blanks or link onto the site.

These X-rated texts went viral, and the site crashed in short order.

The Los Angeles Times quoted from the site that Joslyn James, aka Veronica Siwik Daniels, is looking forward to the next chapter in her exciting career. Fans are encouraged to keep checking back here for future plans and sometimes controversial announcements.”

That’s Door Number 1.

I’m afraid to look behind Doors Number 2 though Number 14, historians’workshops or not.

James’ Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred promised that there is lots more where these texts came from, meaning her client deserves more than an apology from Woods, or a lousy $785,000 in prize money.

After all, Woods said, “he loved her.” That should be worth at least a million.

Others in the Wood’s female workshop/stable were labeled as a “Playboy model,” “a porn star,” a “cougar,” a “stripper” turned “cocktail waitress,” and a “nude model.”

Tears and money flow

Tears. Lots of tears. And lots of press. And lots of money always accompany these outings, confessions, apologies, blackmailings, or photo shoots.

Back to Hunter of John Edwards’ fame. She inexplicably called Barbara Walters, in tears, to complain that her half-dressed photo shoot in GQ, was humiliating. Her half-dressed photos among her daughter’s stuffed animals, put her in a league of her own.

The Times Online more aptly called the photo shoot “white trash.”

The hush money she has “allegedly” received from John Edwards, is fast approaching that of our historian’s life-time of work award.

Another of these mistress women, “allegedly” in the hot tub with a young and ambitious Sen. John Ensign (R-N.V.) some 15 or 10 years ago, netted $100,000 for her discretion. Small potatoes today. We don’t know if she cried.

Woods’ aggrieved wife Elin, who did cry, could be looking at over $500 million in a potential divorce and/or prenup settlement. This sets the bar rather high for others.

San Diego connection

Probably the saddest, most riveting, and possibly the most honest of these “workshop women” rivaling King’s Councils, is Michelle McGee, the mistress to Jesse James, husband of Oscar winning actress Sandra Bullock.

After all, her forehead tattoo reads, “Pray for us sinners.”

Raised Amish, this 32-year -old woman moved to California, got full body and multi-colored tattoos, rewrote her history, and eventually bedded James on his motorcycle shop’s casting couch.

This, while Bullock was working on her Oscar winning performance in “Blind Side.”

See a book title here?

More tears, but not by McGee. Both James and Bullock cried at the awards ceremonies, loving each other publicly, one last time, perhaps. He has “apologized.” She has moved out.

His money question is still to be adjudicated.

McGee reportedly sold her story to US magazine for a paltry $30,000.

A former stripper, she sometimes works at San Diego’s own, Platinum Strip Club. Perhaps, a return is in the offing. Look for those bars and “tip jars” to be filled in anticipation.

According to US magazine, “Ever since McGee sold all the sordid details of her alleged affair with James, 40, to tabloid In Touch — ‘her phone has been going off nonstop. She’s been turning it off. She’s overwhelmed.’”

McGee, like most of these other women, claims that she is no home-wrecker, that the marriage between Bullock and James was over. After all, he said so. James apologized. Bullock moved out.

McGee gets to keep the money, the fame, and the workshop. The narrative continues.

What Would Eleanor Say?

Clinton once admitted that during difficult times (involving Monica Lewinsky) she channeled Eleanor Roosevelt, who still ranks as the most admired woman in U.S. political history, and is often considered one of the leaders of the modern women’s movement.

She often advised, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Not in these rooms.

Science Weighs In

For those who prefer science to tabloids, here is the latest fact-based explanation for the motives and success of the beautiful young versus intelligent women. The Wall Street Journal calls it the Velma-Daphne paradigm from the Scooby-Doo cartoon.

“Maybe the best explanation for the Velma-Daphne paradigm can be found in rational choice theory, as opposed to evolutionary biology.

There are many ways to pursue the good things in life. Cultivating one’s intelligence is hard, requiring huge investments of time and effort. If you’re born with the rare and valuable asset, beauty, an asset that can be exploited rather more immediately than smarts (what with all the opportunity costs of education), it would make sense to make the most of said asset.

“Which is to say, for the attractive it just might be smart to be dumb.”

Equality at last. You’ve come a long way, baby…or not!

The narrative continues, as do the historians’ workshops.

Colleen M. O’Connor is a former college history professor, the director of the “Faces of San Diego 2000″ family photographic history project and co-editor of Eleanor Roosevelt: An American Journey. She is an SDNN political columnist and can be reached at CoConnor15x@yahoo.com