Christine O’Donnell: Let’s Leave Her Personal Life Alone, OK?
To all of you ladies who are ready to stomp sidewalks this weekend in lingerie and some form of animal ears, good luck with the Halloween hookups and hangovers. But keep in mind, it apparently only takes one anonymous guy’s cocky locker room talk to contaminate a woman’s career path, and there’s nothing any of us can do to prevent it from happening to us in the future.
Earlier this week, a man came forward to Gawker and revealed an encounter (of the hookup variety) with Christine O’Donnell, the female Republican candidate running for Delaware senator against Democrat Chris Coons. O’Donnell’s Communications Director Doug Sachtleben has classified the publicized morning-after-story as “just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with.” And we here at CollegeCandy, who have been collecting the best morning after stories for years, couldn’t agree more.
The entire situation is all “he said, she said” at this point (well, more like “some anonymous guy says and she refuses to say”), but who seriously cares? They (allegedly) hooked up three years ago, long before Ms. O’Donnell was a candidate in this very race. Does this encounter say something about O’Donnell’s ability to lead? Is this story pertinent to the election at all or is it only “news” because it bashes a female candidate in a sexually explicit way?
Think about it: we never hear about male a candidate’s sexual history unless it’s particularly lurid or involves a cigar vulgar, yet Christine O’Donnell’s somewhat innocent one night stand is splashed all over the media.
The woman got a little one random night – she didn’t have a secret baby with a KKK member, for God’s sake.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) condemned Gawker for publishing an anonymous account, stating that it failed to accomplish anything related to the election besides mock O’Donnell’s failed hook-up. NOW president Terry O’Neill responded, “NOW repudiates Gawker’s decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O’Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere.”
And in 2010, with Smartphones, social media and the deadly combination of the two – we’re all in the public sphere, whether we decide to go into politics or not. (And for all you potential politicians, don’t think you’re safe once you’re married, either – the press will still get you for fooling around with your own husband!)
O’Donnell wasn’t a political figure at the time of this event, she was a regular woman just like the rest of us. And, also like the rest of us (OK, many of us), she wanted to get some. So what? Should that matter now, three years later, as she runs for political office? Should one night of (failed) passion undermine her election? Should we even be talking about this?
Whether or not we support O’Donnell’s political agenda, let’s keep her personal life out of it. If not for the sanctity of politics in this country, at least for the sake of gender equality and the futures of rest of us who have our own sexual skeletons in the closet.