Monday, December 14, 2009

Thoughts on the Tiger Woods Brouhaha

I've not so far written about the Tiger Woods story because I viewed it as yet another story about a straying celebrity and that it would quickly become yesterday's news. Reports such as these are now rather commonplace and are hardly worth reporting on, let alone commenting on.

But this story outlived its fifteen minutes a long time ago and, personally, I'm getting tired of hearing about it. I don't see what all the shock and fascination is with this story. It's not as if he's the first, nor will he be the last celebrity (or non-celebrity, for that matter) to fall off the monogamy wagon.

I also don't see why Woods is off the golf tour. I don't see what one thing has to do with the other. The state of his marriage should be a private matter between him and his wife and it in no way impedes his ability to play golf. It's not as if being monogamous would make him a better golf player.

And it's not as if he beat his wife and had done something criminal. Indeed, if anything, the shoe is on the other foot in this instance. It seems the only reason he had an accident was because his wife bashed in the back window of his SUV, thus distracting him, as he tried to drive away.

I've read comments from people cheering her on for this; taking the opinion that he got what he deserved for his infidelity. The sexism of such statements boggles my mind, as I'm quite certain there would be no cheering if their roles were reversed in this drama. People would be calling to have him locked up and the key thrown away if it had been him bashing a window in with a golf club while she drove away. It seems when it comes to domestic violence and infidelity, the double standard is alive and well.

Other people are shocked, asking how could he do such a thing. Again, with the ubiquity of stories about celebrity infidelity and its corresponding prevalence in the lives of ordinary people as well, I think that people are asking the wrong questions. They take the view that people are failing marriage, but in reality, it would seem that our idea of what marriage should be is failing people.

Instead of asking why so many people are unfaithful, we need to be asking such questions as, why are all marriages expected to be monogamous, why was monogamy originally instituted in the first place, are the original reasons for monogamy still relevant in our society today, what is the exact nature of "fidelity" -- is it summed up by sexual exclusivity or can it refer to other aspects of a marriage and, if so, must sexual exclusivity always be a part of it. and so on.

Perhaps we need to be re-examining and re-evaluating the structure of marriage and the purpose it serves in our society and be willing to make some changes, instead of trying harder to cram people down into the same old, ill-fitting boxes.


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