Anthony Weiner: Politics and the Penis

Women were long deemed unfit for office because hormones cloud their reason—but men are the ones who can’t think straight, says Leslie Bennetts.

Rep. Anthony Weiner had a successful career, an impressive wife and a bright future -- until a technological misstep turned his penis oversharing into a national scandal. These days he’s got so much company it makes your head spin.

Men’s obsession with the male member has produced “a rash of penis photos” that led Jon Stewart to ask Kristin Schaal, The Daily Show’s “senior women’s issues correspondent,” what it all meant.

This phenomenon “can be chalked up to the age-old misconception that women want more information about your penis, and that seeing it will make you more attractive,” Schaal explained. “Men need to realize that their penis has far more power over them than it does over us.”

No kidding.

Schaal added that penises “look like a species discovered living on the ocean floor near undersea sulfur jets.” She also claimed that Alexander Graham Bell described his own penis as “a pink toadstool” or “the head of a one-eyed vulture sitting on a wrinkled beanbag chair.” Whatever your preferred analogy, it’s clear that the minds of men are no match for its powers. If their lives were made into horror movies, that rampaging little pink toadstool would mow them down every time.

Explanations vary. “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time,” suggested Robin Williams.

And yet men continue to believe that the mere sight of a pink toadstool will cause women to be overcome with lust. The Oregon masseuse who accused Al Gore of sexual assault said he was turned on by her resistance and quoted him as saying: “You know you want it!”

Then there’s DSK. When a naked 62-year-old with a fat belly bursts out of a hotel bathroom and forces his penis into the mouth of a protesting maid who happens to be a Muslim widow half his age, what form of self-delusion convinces him that she is swooning with desire even though she’s screaming “No!” and begging him to stop?

Given the persistence of such behavior, many of Western civilization’s most enduring stereotypes are utterly mystifying. Popular culture has always insisted that women couldn’t be trusted in positions of power because their judgment might be addled by raging hormones. Oh, really? We’re the ones who can’t think straight because of sex hormones?

There are so many men whose names have been rendered punchlines by outrageous sex scandals that it’s hard to remember them all, from Clinton to Ensign, Sanford, Hart, Schwarznegger, Spitzer, Craig, McGreevey, Strauss-Kahn, Berlusconi, Weiner -- the list goes on and on. Now try to think of women officials brought down by sexual derangement. But don’t hold your breath; you might expire before you came up with one.

According to The New York Times, women in Congress work harder than men, introducing more bills, participating in more legislative debates and giving more speeches. Such discrepancies are found worldwide; ask any expert in micro-lending as a development tool for third-world countries and he or she will tell you that loans are given to women because men squander the money on “alcohol and whores,” as one put it, whereas women hire other women, build new businesses, and elevate the economic level of the whole community.

From Africa to Astoria, men would have more time to perform useful labor if they spent less time trolling for sex during work hours, not to mention in their Congressional offices. Talk about a waste of tax-payer dollars! When high-school and college students used social media to contact Anthony Weiner, some apparently had crushes on him -- but even so, didn’t they have a right to be represented by an elected official who was looking out for the interests of the citizenry instead of just looking for sexual targets?

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Charlie Sheen has long prided himself on being a compulsive whoremonger, and one Hollywood madam who supplied him with prostitutes was recently asked by Vanity Fair what Sheen wanted in a woman. “Two tits, a hole and a heartbeat,” she replied.

Do women really have to settle for elected officials who view them the same way?

“Weiner’s job was to make policy, and this is what he thinks of 50 percent of the population?” says Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. “Women contact him, and what does he see? Not a constituent who needs health care, safe housing, day care; he sees a fuckable object whose humanity is completely erased. No wonder women and children are suffering. We need government to see us as human beings.”

Right now, women hold 16 percent of the seats in Congress and 23 percent of those in stage legislatures. In all 50 states, there are only six female governors. Among 100 big-city mayors, eight are women.

These small bands of female officials are pretty tired of the way so many of their male colleagues behave in public office. “Every time one of these sex scandals goes, we just look at each other, like, ‘What is it with these guys? Don’t they think they’re going to get caught?’” said Rep. Candice Miller, a Michigan Republican.

And yet men keep doing the same things -- and they keep getting caught.

So if we want things to change, maybe we should start by electing more females. Until Congresswomen start sexting unsolicited pictures of their vaginas to constituents half their age and forcing themselves on male pages in the cloakroom, it can hardly hurt to try a different approach.