There’s no civil war around the pain of infidelity. When your partner is dishonest and steps outside the relationship, the hurt is real whether you’re a woman or man. It’s the public’s reaction that often tells the tale of a gender double standard.
In the span of two weeks, two celebrities faced their sins of infidelity under the glare of the public eye. Nas, who opened up about the demise of his marriage on his now #1 album, Life is Good, told VH1 his one regret was cheating on his wife:
He experienced an outpouring of support for admitting his infidelity, which had long been rumored. People went as far to say that Kelis should forgive him and welcome him back with open arms as he’s clearly still in love with her. And he only had one transgression.
Kristen Stewart made the front page of Us Weekly for cheating on her boyfriend Rob Pattinson with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. She released this apology shortly after the news hit:
I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.
The resulting onslaught was immediate. Kristen’s character and her love for her boyfriend were all called into question by the public, which generally decided she didn’t deserve a second chance with him.
Their cases are different. Stewart cheated on boyfriend Pattinson with a married man; Nas was married to Kelis. And the way they were regarded by the public before their transgressions has an impact on people’s reactions.
But too often, it happens that a cheating man is seen as a good person who made a mistake and is given a pass. And just as frequently, a cheating woman is judged harshly and dismissed as a bad person beyond redemption.
Do you think there’s a double standard? If so, how do you account for it?