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How We Describe Women

Whore. Prostitute. Kardashian-wanna be. Slut. Home wrecker. B*tch. Golddigger.

These are just a few of the ways Jill Kelley and Paula Broadwell, the two women involved in the downward spiral of General David Petraeus‘ career, have been described.

English: Official photograph of General David ...

Helpless and vulnerable?

Notice I say “involved in.” I didn’t say either one made him get into so much hot water. He did that himself. But the words we use to describe others speaks volumes about the way we perceive men’s and women’s roles in society, and in relationships.

I mostly see references to Petraeus as being stupid, with the occasional “moron” and “dumbass” thrown in. I can’t help but notice that the terms used to refer to the women in the case are more hostile and emotionally charged.

So many articles have titles like “Woman responsible for ruining Petraeus’ career.” Last time I checked, he is a grown man, capable of making his own decisions and being responsible for them. Yet we seem to always find a way to make it the women’s fault, even blaming his wife Holly for allowing herself to get old and lose her looks, which led to the affair that ruined his career and their marriage. How DARE she allow that to happen! Shame on her!

Are we really just saying that men can’t help themselves, and women always have to be watched closely to keep them from “making” men do the wrong thing?

And here I thought we were living in the 21st century……


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