Amy Davidson: The Kay Summersby Defense
Amy Davidson is a senior editor at The New Yorker.
There are plenty of reasons for women, generally, to be discouraged by both the fact and the coverage of the Petraeus scandal. It began with the comparison of the looks of Paula Broadwell, his lover, and Holly Petraeus, his wife, who are twenty years apart in age—as if older women could have no expectation of fidelity—and an almost gleeful cataloging of Broadwell’s wardrobe, body, and, as a Petraeus associate put it anonymously, the “claws” that she got into the General. (“You’re a 60 year-old man and an attractive woman almost half your age makes herself available to you—that would be a test for anyone.”) She wore tight clothes in Afghanistan; she wore a halter at the Pentagon. As Frank Bruni of the Times noted, the odd detail from her life—“her long-ago coronation as homecoming queen, her six-minute mile”—was “presented not merely as a matter of accomplishment, but as something a bit titillating, perhaps a part of the trap she laid.” Then, before one had time to brood much on the foolishness of powerful men, attention shifted to side-by-side analyses of Broadwell and Jill Kelley, the “Tampa socialite,” whose interactions were described as a “cat-fight.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Now it can be told: The weakening of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the crowning achievement of GOP partisans who detested the law
- Japanese textbooks may sanitize history, but comic art books don't
- Novels About Real-Life Women Are Saving Forgotten History
- Rubio becomes the first Republican presidential candidate in 2016 to admit US must confront “painful” history of racial discrimination
- CNN documentary focuses on “Nixon’s Own 9/11"
- Historians Against the War gathering signatures for new resolution to AHA on alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial
- Election results are in for the American Historical Association
- Nial Ferguson warns Obama’s bet on Iran has low odds of success