Don't Compare Hillary Clinton & Huma Abedin Unless You’re Talking About Their Political Accomplishments
Former congressman and continued serial philanderer Anthony Weiner was caught in another alleged sexting scandal on Aug. 28, and all eyes are now turned to his wife, Huma Abedin, who shares some striking similarities with another prominent political figure. Abedin and her longtime boss, Hillary Clinton, have both been involved in massive sex scandals surrounding their husbands, and many have been quick to make that connection between the two women. But you can't compare Clinton and Abedin, because their husbands' actions have no reflection on their own accomplishments.
The news of Weiner's actions, and the ensuing announcement of his and Abedin's separation, dominated the news cycle on Monday, for no particular reason. As the vice chair of Clinton's presidential campaign, Abedin is an important political player. But the majority of the news stories focused on Weiner's history of sexting and his marriage to Abedin. Several articles condescendingly referred to Abedin "finally" leaving Weiner, as though it's her fault — that this happened because she stayed married to her husband. Despite the fact that Abedin is a well-respected political figure, the stories had a distinct similarity to those of the tabloids.
When these situations arise, blame is often placed on the woman in some way or another. People immediately began to question why Abedin had stayed married to Weiner for so long, just as they blamed Clinton for staying with her husband when his scandal broke in the '90s. Weiner is a laughable, harmless figure, a perfect example of the "boys will be boys" trope, while somehow, Abedin is to blame. Not only does it shamefully and wrongfully place blame on the women who weren't even the unfaithful ones in the relationship, but it also assumes a lot about their marriages that no one could actually know. More importantly, though, it distracts from their important achievements. Both Clinton and Abedin have many impressive accomplishments that they should be known for.
Abedin and Clinton are incredibly accomplished women, and prominent political figures in their own right. To devote any time or attention to their husbands' distressing actions while shying away from their political victories would be a huge disservice to them, particularly because of what they are working to accomplish this year. It's sexist enough to make their stories about their husbands' indiscretions, but it's even worse to shift focus away from the historic possibility of electing the first female president for no other reason than tabloid fodder.
Ultimately, Clinton's and Abedin's situations are very different, because Weiner has no real connection to Clinton's campaign or political goals. Comparing the two situations won't achieve or reveal anything relevant to the campaign, simply because the sole fault in both cases is on their husbands.