Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sex and power, a dangerous combination

"Come back", Charlie Sheen. All is forgiven. Maybe the media circus has left behind this provocative adventures in Hollywood, but also, the last outbreak of wanton curiosity makes social Sheen's antics seem almost acceptable. Sheen was a famous and powerful long enjoyed a lifestyle based on sex, drugs and alcohol that led to a huge scandal, but who else was wounded himself.

Now, American society has to deal with the behavior of his "Terminator", who not only betrayed the trust of his family, but also presented to voters as a man of honor and integrity while hiding that he had had a child with his employee's home and never told his wife. But worse is the scandal surrounding the former managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, after a hotel worker accused him of attempting to rape her while she cleaned her suite in New York.

At least Sheen was never intended as anything other than a party animal, and used his fame as Hollywood star, his charisma and money to live the libertine fantasy that many only dream at some point. Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to and Strauss-Kahn had to be better, or so it thought.

But perhaps this insensitive behavior is part of a powerful male profile. "Even Osama bin Laden had several wives and his stash of porn," Matt Miller wrote in The Washington Post. " "Do these behaviors occur only in the territory of the alpha male?" The answer, if you think about archetypes as former President Bill Clinton, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the golf star Tiger Woods and the U.S.

presidential candidate John Edwards, seems to be yes. "Powerful men can be powerfully insane," writes Time magazine. "They tend to take risks, or at least to value them differently. They are often surrounded by people with political or personal interest in protecting them to the point of concealing their follies, indiscretions and crimes." The article cites a study to be released soon according to which the higher amount a man or woman in the hierarchy of business, most likely arising adultery.

"With power comes both the opportunity and confidence," the authors argue. "And trust creates a sense of sexual entitlement." Tracey Weber, writing in the web of investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica, said his hopes that the publicity gained by the current scandals avoid other potential victims of such behavior.

But as he says, his own experience will not let be optimistic: the reporter was on the team "Los Angeles Times that reported in 2003 about the alleged sexual harassment when the actor hoped Schwarzenegger for governor of California. Weber convinced some women to detailing the behavior of the actor, with a high cost for them.

"One woman called me crying," he wrote. "I persuaded her to reveal her humiliation, but here comes another. The voters, like Hollywood, ignore the behavior of the star."

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