Was Aging To Blame For Weiner's Cock Shots?

Illustration for article titled Was Aging To Blame For Weiner's Cock Shots?

The latest in why-did-Weiner-do-it theories: middle-aged men feel invisible and are forced to commit sexual misconduct as a result. Pardon me if I'm not totally convinced.

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In the Daily Beast, Christopher Dickey tells the story of this one spy he had lunch with (yeah, I know) and how he's sad that women don't notice him anymore. He then extrapolates this into a thesis about Dominique Strauss-Weiner-Negger:

For Rep. Anthony Weiner , 46, the fear of invisibility would seem to be so profound that he took to tweeting pictures of his depilated chest and distended crotch to complete strangers on Twitter and Facebook. (The congressman may have worried all his life that nobody would see him, and he's such a geek he'd be pitiful if he weren't so arrogant. One wonders, is Rick Moranis too old to play him in "Weiner: The Movie"?)

So Dickey falls on the nay side of the Weiner hotness question. He goes on to say that "similar concerns about invisibility, articulated or not, probably lurked in the head of 62-year-old Dominique Strauss-Kahn" and that "Schwarzenegger, now almost 64, preferred women who thought he was more beautiful than they, or that he thought might think so; women, that is, who saw him as he wanted to be seen."

It's worth noting here that Strauss-Kahn is accused of sexual assault, while Weiner's and Schwarzenegger's misdeeds are lesser. Beyond that, though, is the invisibility of the aging male really a good explanation for their behavior? After all, DSK's reputation as a "seducer" was entrenched long before he got old, as was Arnold's for getting overly handsy. And older men are accorded far more opportunity to be sexual beings than are older women, who could probably teach Weiner a thing or two about invisibility.

Dickey tries to acknowledge this last point, but he doesn't seem to fully get it:

In truth, invisibility is inevitable. And women have always known that, and felt it, and feared it and discussed it. I have rarely spoken about this question with women friends over 40 who didn't understand immediately what I was talking about. Yet the most beautiful and painful expression of invisibility's tragedy that I know is actually a poem written in the 1960s by Randall Jarrell, a man who was then approaching his 50s and who was writing about a woman more or less the same age. Her only wish is that "the boy putting groceries in my car/See me. It bewilders me he doesn't see me."

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So, the problems aging women face are best articulated by a dude poet. Sorry Weiner, Schwarzenegger, DSK, et al — when guys stop making claims like this, maybe then we can talk about invisibility.

Anthony Weiner's Fear: Being Invisible To Women [Daily Beast]

DISCUSSION

CassandraSays
CassandraSays

Even if it was an explanation it wouldn't be a valid excuse, which seems to be what he's hinting at (though he's attempting to make it vague enough to give himself room to deny that he's doing so).

But no. Other than Weiner we already know that these men acted like this when they were still young. They haven't changed. Maybe it's just that we expect more dignity of older people, and that society excuses a lot of obnoxious behavior from young men in the pursuit of sex, because boys will be boys, etc. (Insert eyeroll here)

This is a fascinating and very telling counterpoint to the article about whether or not women regret the loss of catcalling as they get older, though. Apparently it's just assumed that women will fade into the background when they're no longer considered hot, and that of course that will make them sad, but it's something they simply must accept. Whereas apparently for men the same loss of official socially sanctioned hotness via youth is a Greek tragedy of epic proportions, so you can't blame the poor dears if they act out a bit. I mean don't you realise how hard it is for them?

Sexism neatly summed up in two articles that don't even realise how closely intertwined they are.