Sunday 22 September 2019

Sinead Moriarty: 'It's time to stop punishing women for sins of husbands'

Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Photo: PA
Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Photo: PA
Sinead Moriarty

Sinead Moriarty

Should the sins of the husband taint the wife? Should a husband's bad behaviour cast a shadow over his wife's life? Should she somehow be held responsible for his misdoings?

It seems so old-fashioned to think that in this day and age, in this era of #MeToo, that a woman would be expected to 'pay' for her husband's transgressions.

And yet, this weekend, actress and best buddy of Meghan Markle, Priyanka Chopra, has been castigated in the media for wearing a Marchesa dress to her bridal shower.

Marchesa is the fashion brand co-founded by Georgina Chapman, who is the estranged wife to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Social media was alight with people chastising Chopra for choosing to wear one of Chapman's designs.

Chopra, not one to back down, lashed back, saying she intentionally chose to wear Marchesa for one of the biggest nights of her life, in order to show support for her friend and designer Georgina Chapman.

Of her decision, Chopra said: "Georgina's a friend of mine…And I don't think it's right to take it out on a self-made woman what somebody in her life did. That's the wrong attitude."

Chapman married Harvey Weinstein in 2007. But she announced she was divorcing him soon after the cascade of accusations of sexual assault and harassment came out against him.

So why should she pay for his sins? Why should the company she created be boycotted and destroyed because of her ex-husband's behaviour?

Why are women so often punished for their husband's mistakes? Look at Hillary Clinton, people actually blamed her for her husband's infidelities. She was cold and ambitious so of course he went looking for comfort elsewhere. She was too focused on her career, she wasn't nurturing enough, she just didn't do enough to keep her husband happy…

And then, when she decided to stick it out and stay with him, she was ridiculed for being weak and pathetic.

Bill Clinton was the one who played away from home and humiliated his wife publicly and yet his popularity grew while hers tanked. How can this be? Where is the logic in that?

Why are we so tough on women? Why should they be blamed, mocked and have their careers damaged because of what their husbands did? Surely, like Chopra, we should be supporting these women who have been humiliated by their husband's conduct?

Of course, there are those who believe Chapman must have known what Harvey Weinstein was up to. Why do they think that? Seriously? Is a sexual predator really going to go home and tell his wife what he's been up to? Is he going to regale her with stories of preying on starlets in his hotel room?

Why is Hillary Clinton judged so harshly for staying in her marriage despite her husband's infidelities? Why are people so quick to judge and so slow to support the wives?

Women (and men) should be supporting other women, not criticising them and judging them for something they did not do, and had no part in or knowledge of.

Ever since Eve was blamed for Adam eating the apple (he could have said no!) somehow, whatever sin a man commits, the woman is always implicated.

Husbands behave badly and people look to wives for explanations of why. Wives, it seems, are judged for crimes they did not commit. Women find themselves being shamed even though they have not been accused of misconduct themselves. Why? It's wrong on every level.

There still seems to be this old-fashioned belief that the wife "should have known" about the allegations against their husbands before they became public. Wives are tarnished by association.

It is up to other women, and men, to stop this ridiculous cycle of blaming a woman for her partner's wrong-doings. These women need support and sympathy, not blame and shame.

Irish Independent

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