Culturally, we have a very real problem with sexuality. We feel it necessary to be judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to what men and women do sexually with one another. With the recent hack of Avid Life Media, who owns the adultery-promoting social network Ashley Madison, our collaborative judgement in regard to sexual practices has come back into the forefront.
For some reason, we are not pissed or concerned that the identities and sensitive information of nearly 40 million people are in jeopardy. No, we’re more pissed and concerned that nearly 40 million people are cheating on their spouses.
What does this say about us as a culture? How is it that our collaborative view on this matter is that these men and women deserve what’s happening to them? At the end of the day, they’re people, just like myself or anyone reading this article. Why is our collaborative viewpoint so poised on cheering for their misfortune?
I’m no fan of adultery. I firmly believe that when tempted to cheat, the relationship needs to be evaluated, and those involved need to come to a collaborative decision about whether or not their union should continue or if the bonds need to be severed. Given America’s obscenely high divorce rate, I can assume that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
At the same time, I’m realistic. People cheat. They just do. Every day, a husband or a wife defies their marriage and has sex with someone else. While I’ve never engaged in physical intimacy with anyone else since my wife and I started dating, I have, in the past, cheated on women with whom I’ve been involved. A significant portion of men and women have.
Is it right? Absolutely not, but it happens. It always has happened and it probably always will happen.
There exists a debate as to whether monogamy is a realistic social expectation or not. While there are some experts and researchers who believe in the collaborate social viewpoint that a lifetime commitment to a single person is not only possible, but preferable, there are others who believe monogamy to be a far more difficult achievement than we seem to believe it is.
Psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton and evolutionary biologist David P. Barash are of the latter camp, with Lipton having once said of lifetime monogamy toward a single person:
“It’s realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language.”
Her implication is that some people, biologically or as per their experiences, just aren’t as capable of committing to a single person for the rest of their lives as others, which makes perfect sense.
We change, regularly, over the entire duration of our lives. Our needs at 40 will not be the same needs we had at 25. Our level of attraction to our spouses will wax and wane as the years progress. That’s just how things work.
One of the major motivators for The Impact Team’s hack was the infidelity being promoted by Ashley Madison, a direct reflection of our collaborative response to the hack in the days since it happened.
“Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion…”
But they do. Despite our collaborative opinion on this issue, the animosity toward those engaging in services provided by Ashley Madison bears absolutely no difference than if, say, Facebook or, as a more closely related analogy, Match.com were hacked. If Facebook were hacked, our collaborative animosity would be directed at the hackers, not the users, and the data breach involved would be condemned vehemently in the court of public opinion. If Match.com were hacked, I believe our collaborative response would be similar to the way I suspect we’d react regarding a possible Facebook hack.
Screw the fact both platforms are used by many as a means to cheat on their spouses.
This is really the crux of the whole story, as I see it. Our collaborative focus on the Ashley Madison hack is not that people’s livelihoods are in jeopardy because of one group’s misguided attempt at forcing a moral issue, but that 40 million people are getting their comeuppance for their behavior.
Who cares if we’re wildly inconsistent with our moral outrage, right? These people are being a bunch of deviant assholes and need to be punished, right?
Last time I checked, we weren’t their mothers.