Women are Closing the ‘Infidelity Gap.' What Gap Will We Close Next?

Gather around, fellow feminists, because I have exciting news: we've done it at long last! We've begun to close that infamous gap between men and women — you know the one — that yawning gulf of inequality that insidiously reinforces patriarchy. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. That's right, we're finally closing in on men in terms of how many of us cheat on our spouses. Wait, what do you mean, the "pay gap"? Get out of here, Susan B. Anthony's ghost; we do not have time for you.

Lots of news outlets are reporting that women are beginning to close the "infidelity gap," according to a recent survey. Woohoo! We enterprising feminists have made big gains: the percentage of women who admit to having affairs is up 40 percent in 20 years — it's now at 14.7 percent. The percentage of men who admit to having affairs, on the other hand, has remained stagnant at around 21 percent this entire time. There are manifold explanations for the rise in cheating: some say it likely has to do with a decline in the prohibitions around female desire; others argue that working women now have the economic power to cheat without fearing financial ruin.

Whatever the reason, there's a tendency to laud the statistic as an (admittedly twisted) symbol of female progress. Cool! Ladies are doing it for themselves! In this spirit, here are a few other bad behavior gender gaps that we must strive to close within the next 20 years in order to achieve a true egalitarian utopia:

  • The farting in public gap.
  • The not calling your parents gap.
  • The sitting on the subway with your legs spread really wide gap.
  • The hot pockets and beer for dinner gap.
  • The liking Daniel Tosh gap.
  • The reclining on a beanbag chair listening to Pearl Jam gap.
  • The wearing one pair of pants for a week straight gap.
  • The being smug at a bar because you majored in philosophy gap.
  • The thinking it's okay to wear a newsboy cap as an accessory gap.
  • The having a lot of back hair gap.
  • The drawing dicks on dusty cars gap.

We truly have a long way to go.

But is this line of thinking right? Can we read an increase in female infidelity as a statement about the rising status of women? There's something more than slightly unnerving about prescribing to the logic of "equality means that everyone gets to be an asshole equally" — or, more accurately, "gender equity means that everyone gets to exhibit the same negative gender stereotypes, regardless if they're a man or a woman." It seems counter-intuitive, to say the least, and to frame such findings in the language of the actual feminst movement is pretty demeaning (or at least that's what Susan B. Anthony's ghost is telling me).

Image via Getty.