‘Homewreckers’ website: why is it always the women who get the blame?

Women who have ‘stolen’ someone’s husband are being outed by betrayed wives. But we have to challenge the belief that if a married man strays, he’s not responsible

Share

Just when you think the internet can’t find any more ways to degrade and humiliate women, they go and invent one. In a new and particularly nasty form of “slut shaming” which was reported last week to be growing rapidly in popularity, a US based website allows the wronged wife or girlfriend to expose “the other woman” in her relationship for all the world to judge.

Similar to "revenge porn" in that it aims to name and shame women who are deemed to have transgressed, the She’s a Homewrecker website encourages the injured party to vent her spleen, not against the man who cheated on her, but against her female rival. Make no mistake, this is no forum for harmless anonymous ranting. Created by a woman and apparently aimed exclusively at females, it states explicitly that, “We will not publish any stories without photographs and names”. The website has even published contact details for the alleged mistresses, along with a disclaimer that it is not responsible for the posts.

Apart from being potentially defamatory and downright dangerous, the site is a particularly hideous form of girl-on-girl nastiness, encouraging an unhealthy “mob mentality” amongst spurned wives and girlfriends banding together. It is taken as read that the person responsible for the affair is the harlot-like temptress, because men, bless them, have no choice in the matter. The age-old assumption is that men are so in thrall to their penises that if a woman, particularly an attractive one, is to offer it to them on a silver platter, the poor, weak male creature cannot possibly be expected to exercise self-control and keep it in his pants. The female of the species is seen as the archetypal Biblical whore, Eve, Jezebel, Salomé and Delilah all rolled into one ball of wanton woman to be placed in the online stocks and then fed to the wolves. Even after years of struggling for equality, it seems that when it comes to affairs, it’s still the guys who get the pleasure and the girls who get the blame.

The terms “homewrecker” and “the other woman” both reek of the 1950s , implying that women must still compete in a Darwinian struggle for the scarce resource of a marriageable man, and that only testosterone-driven men possess the sexual appetite for affairs. Although the term “the other man” does not exist in common parlance, women also cheat on their long-term partners, and recent studies have indicated that once factors such as income and employment status become equal, women might be just as likely to take lovers as men. The website also assumes that a man can be “stolen”, as though he is a piece of private property, when women have resisted the notion that they themselves can be owned since the first wave of feminism.

I’m not suggesting that infidelity is something to be condoned, but relationships are complicated things, and I would guess that most of the women being "outed" on this website are not the devil incarnate. Affairs are exciting at first, but ultimately painful and messy for all concerned. I doubt that many women set out to be someone’s “bit on the side”, since you’re lucky to get out of an affair without being hurt yourself and causing harm to others.

There are countless examples of mistresses faring pretty badly once the affair is discovered, particularly with high profile men. Monica Lewinsky was a classic case of a plaything who was no match for the wife, and was quickly discarded and left to fend for herself in the full glare of the media. Perhaps the “poster girl” for mistresses everywhere is Camilla Parker-Bowles, hardly the typical femme fatale, but it appears as though she kept her counsel, got her man, and seems to be living happily ever after. Diana did not exactly “slut shame” Camilla – the tabloid press did that for her – but preserved her public dignity by containing her comment to her famous Panorama barb, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

The women doing the posting on “She's a Homewrecker” are understandably hurt and angry, but washing their soiled linen in such a public arena is unlikely to bring them lasting satisfaction. They are misguided in blaming the third party, rather than the man who promised to love them forever (if, in fact, he did). I am not suggesting that any woman should do a Lorena Bobbitt, but if anyone has an axe to grind, best grind it in the right place, not on some vile, misogynistic website. The late Sir James Goldsmith once remarked that, “When you marry your mistress, you create a vacancy,” so whilst it may be human nature to think of “the other woman” as a bitch, it pays to remember that karma can be the biggest bitch of all.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas