Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

Polly Gillespie: Why do men get away with sex scandals?

Sex scandals for men are by no means career crushing and will often make a man more desirable to women.  Photo / Supplied
Sex scandals for men are by no means career crushing and will often make a man more desirable to women. Photo / Supplied

It's not right. It's not just. It's not modern nor do I condone it, but a sex scandal of the straight adult kind, even of the same-sex adult kind, has never hurt a man. Not really. Not truly. Not deep down in the soul of society.

A woman? Yes. Kristen Stewart may as well have pooped on the Pope's hat when news broke she had cheated on her boyfriend, fellow Twilight vampire Robert Pattinson. She was vilified, trolled, loathed and quite possibly asked to sew a scarlet "A" on all her clothes, by press and fans alike.

It was as though she was the first person in Hollywood to cheat. She was not, but may have been the first young woman to cheat and be outed for it, in some time. Has it ruined her career? No. Is she treated differently? Yes. She's now also openly out as a lesbian or bisexual or sexually fluid, but in summary she dates chicks now.

Are men treated the same way? Well, Tiger Woods was also vilified but he had two things working against him.

He was black in a still very racist world that only excused his ethnicity because he was great at a white man's sport, and secondly he chose to sleep with countless women in North America and beyond.

Cheating on your wife with strippers and porn stars never reads well. Dreadful for Tiger, and not awesomely awesome for Charlie Sheen either. It could be argued that Charlie seemed to be applauded a little more for his shenanigans, but the porn-star thing again didn't particularly endear him to the average fan.

Sex scandals for men, however, are by no means career crushing, and from personal experience I can tell you, will often make a man more desirable to women. Many years ago there was speculation that my then partner had had a tawdry affair. Our ratings rose, as did his fan mail from women. I like to call it the "Bill Clinton" effect. Clinton may or may not have perpetrated various sex crimes over the years. Many women claim sexual harassment and assault, but is remembered most for being seduced by, or seducing young, pretty, curvy, intern Monica Lewinsky.

The world was shocked! The press went crazy! The women came leaping out of cupboards north and south of the Dixie Line claiming seduction and assault. Clinton, instead of being vilified and made to wear a chastity belt made from "Hillary's heart of steel", he was placed on the naughty-boy chair and tickled by, and flirted with, beautiful women world over. Being a good-looking, wealthy, powerful, charming man made him Teflon-coated.

I'm sure his female fan mail also went through the roof. Of course many people, men and women, were truly outraged and disgusted. It was, after all, appalling behaviour if true, but a lot of women just found "Cheeky Willie Clinton" a little sexier and more obtainable.

It's not right. It's not fair. It's not modern or smart or at all condoned by me, but this type of sexual scandal, unlike white collar fraud, or assault and burglary does not necessarily destroy a man's career, reputation or chances for his wife to become President of the United States.

If a man was running for the highest office in the US and people got wind of her raging affairs, philandering, touching, and sexually inappropriate behaviour, would it hurt his chances? Yes. Yes it would, because it would emasculate him. It would neuter him, and he would not be seen as sexy and powerful, but rather a door mat.

It's not right or fair, but I believe it to be true that men who spread the love and lust freely and regularly are forgiven far more easily than any woman who may on any given occasion spread her legs.

- NZME.

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Breakfast host on The Hits, columnist for nzherald.co.nz Life & Style.

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