Wow, here I thought I wouldn’t be writing about Stampede this year, and that scandal had passed us by. Looks like I was wrong. As I was listening to the radio, on my way to do some book I writing I heard the tale. Today, there was a woman standing on a very busy street corner, with a cardboard signing that read “I cheated on my boyfriend at Stampede this is my punishment”. The woman was dressed in oversized clothes, a hat is covering her eyes, and the sign blocks most of her. Obviously, I have some thoughts.
I try very hard not to make an knee jerk reaction until I can find out as many facts as I possibly can. Was this a stunt for publicity? Was this simply attention seeking behaviour for a little fame? Was this, perhaps, just a dare or a bet? The skeptic in me asks as I delve into the research. And then, I realized, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the public reaction to this woman, standing on the corner, obviously hiding as much of herself as possible. Whatever the motivations behind, in that moment, she projects shame, and guilt. The word cheated is underlined. The busy street corner catches commuter on their way to work. This is a statement that impacts an incredibly large amount of people. And the comment section on Reddit did its very best to show pretty much every possible reaction to this incident.
The rallying cries of foul are plenty. Slut shaming at it’s finest. The cynics call say it is all a rouse to get her out of the house to pack up her stuff, and change the locks. And whatever the fallout is as a result, one thing is clear, this is that particular relationships price of admission. You cheat, you are shamed and humiliated. Agree with it or not, public airing of the dirtiest of laundry has occurred.
In my true balanced nature I ask you to pretend that this was a male standing on the street corner instead of a female. My gut reaction is that if it was a male, he would be in physical danger. I truly believe that people would be throwing things at him, sneering, and the temptation to “nudge” him with their vehicle would be strong. Whether the same risks existed for the female are not initially clear, I do believe that we have a stronger opinion to a female cheating in hindsight, and a stronger physical urge to act when it comes to a male. If you find out a male has cheated, you want to slap them or kick them in the nuts. You have a physical urge to even the playing field. With women, it’s different. We are cruel. We use words like slut, and whore, and all sorts of vile sneers and snickers.
I wrote about the differences in our societal reactions between males and females cheating in this post, and while it did not make me popular with the female in question, I think it still holds water. We have a clear gender bias when it comes to cheating. Take for example the Stampede slut a few years back. She was a woman who basically had to own the sexual act and capitalize on it rather than become swallowed up in the scorn and shame. No one asks about the men in question, and there were two in the act, and one filming, so I guess 3 technically. Did they lose their jobs? Were they all single? What level of societal shame did we place on them? Oh, that’s right, they were opportunistic males. So they got a pass. She took fame by the horns, and they just slipped quietly into the night. The same is true for the person this woman cheated with. His picture is not on the cardboard sign, he is not standing with her in solidarity, he is nowhere to be found (if it is a he, which I assume, only because a female to female cheating scenario would have received a jovial hi five and entered into the spank bank).
I think we all can agree that this relationship is doomed. Tit for tat relationships are not sustainable. Public shaming is something we do not as a society accept. We believe we have evolved beyond the Roman games at the coliseum. Slut shaming is not something we should be proud to do in a public forum. And make no mistake, that is exactly what this boyfriend is doing to his girlfriend. He has brought her shame out into the limelight, and that is deplorable. There is no balance in that behaviour, and the relationship will not survive.
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