Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strong Women: The Jon and Kate Debacle

I knew something was going on with Jon and Kate these days. My blog's statistics tell me that over the past couple of days my post containing their picture has been drawing literally hundreds of people from all over the world to my blog. So I talked to my mother who is profoundly emotionally invested in their story. Turns out that Jon and Kate are getting divorced.
Lots of online and tabloid commentary about the divorce can be summarized as harping on the idea that Kate is "too strong" amd "domineering" while Jon is "too passive." I have no interest whatsoever in why these people decided to get divorced. I could never understand why aanybody would be interested in the personal lives of people they don't know. What bothers me, however, is this rhetoric of "no-wonder-he-dumped-her-since-she-is-so-powerful."
Some people are more forceful by nature than others. Sometimes, these people are women. And that's perfectly fine. Believe it ir not, there are many men who love this kind of women. Also, people sometimes (or even often) get divorced. Thee reasons for a divorce are always complex and can't be summarized in a couple of cliched statements about who's more in charge. I somehow doubt, however, that it would occur to many people to suggest that somebody's marriage ended because the man had a strong personality.
As I have said before, I come from a long line of very powerful, strong women with great careers. My great-grandmother, my grand-mother, my mother, my aunts, my sister, and I are all extremely opinionated and sometimes very loud women. This has not prevented us from having full and rewarding personal lives. So this view that you have to be a silent and modest wall-flower in order to be popular with men is completely misguided. (Not that any one of us became outspoken and strong in order to attract people. It just happened.)
So my suggestion is: let's lay off Kate and concentrate on our inherent chauvinism that forces us to criticize a mother of 8 (as well as any woman or man) for having a personality.


Anonymous said...

Kate and Jon both came from living in trailers most of their lives. All of a sudden they have millions of dollars and unexpected fame. The reason they are splitting up is that they both think they can do better now that they are made over and rich. I think it is really sad that so many couples stick together simply because they think they cannot do better. When people like that move to a bigger city, get a make over or come into money, their confidence gets a boost and they split.

Clarissa said...

"I think it is really sad that so many couples stick together simply because they think they cannot do better."

-I couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

We live in a 'me' - centered society, and in this society 'your' job is to make 'me' the center of your world. If it just so happens that fulfilling 'me' includes enough payoffs for 'you', then 'we' just may avoid a divorce.

Clarissa said...

I know what it's like to be the center of a person's world. And that is one unpleasant experience that I wouldn't wish even on my enemies.

But I know what you mean.