I’ve reached the ‘reading to first person narrative’ part of my thesis.
These are the comments from just one online article about a women who had cheated on her husband.
- Pathetic waste of life
- I can help summarize this article so you all don’t have to read it: I”m a cheap, tawdry slut who can’t take responsibility for my actions. If I lived in Saudi Arabia or the days of the Bible, my ass would have been hauled out to the town square and stoned to death. However, feminists will come to my rescue as there is no such thing as shame anymore.
- What a way to try and rationalise [sic] her actions. What a weak little girl. She probably doesn’t understand the idea of taking responsibility for her actions in any area of her life.
- If she forgot herself so easily, and was randomly brought back to herself by some guy being into her, there wasn’t much of a self to care about in the first place.
- tl;dr I didn’t feel special enough
- You fucking dirty slut you need your twat sewn up.
- I don’t even have to read this garbage. You did it because you are a deceitful, lying, cheating whore. End of story.
- You know what I find funny? The fact that you think this man will still want you after you leave your husband. He’s using you. You’re like a toy or a video game, he picks you up when he’s bored. Please divorce your husband, he deserves a wife that isn’t an ungrateful slut.
- Way to shift blame from yourself, classic.
They go on, similarly.
There were a couple comments that strayed from the norm. A few people saying they believed what she did was horrible but they weren’t going to call her names. Ye olde white knights. “I’m not going to call you a slut buuuuuuut…” There were also a couple women who stepped up and said “I have felt like she has felt before. I haven’t cheated, but I understand why she did.”
Boom. That’s where my thesis rests.
Why don’t women leave before they cheat? Why do they cheat and then take to the internet for confessional? Why do studies report that guilt after infidelity is a sign of the desire to make reparations and not just a shitty emotion because you did something shitty because you wanted to leave? Many women report guilt because they felt they couldn’t live up to being the perfect wife. Many women report guilt because they had desires that they felt were ‘greedy’ when they should be pleasing their husbands. Many women report guilt in being unable to hold their families together for their children. Infidelity in this case may act as a crutch to ‘have it all.’ To be the wife. To be the mother. To hold the family together. To not have to find ways to make your needs met. But to find satisfaction somewhere else.
In turn I argue that when we call women sluts we’re silencing the real story behind what they did. Not the justification. Because you can’t justify infidelity. But you can look towards explaining what could provoke a women to do something that causes such moral agony. You can put a lens towards her grief, even if she is the one who caused that grief. (How often do we put ourselves into situations that we know will hurt us, after all?)
It’s no big shocker that internet comments are the dregs of the internet, but they are also a place of active silencing for women who want to share their stories. They say: we hear you, and we don’t want to hear you anymore. I think we can learn something from those stories that help make our relationships (with ourselves, and with our spouses) happier.