Paula Broadwell is back in the news. According to yesterday’s New York Times article, “Paula Broadwell, David Petraeus and the Afterlife of a Scandal” Broadwell is trying to “restore her reputation.”
I’m not sure as what exactly. An unqualified biographer of famous generals? A woman who can do a lot of push-ups? Who was Paula Broadwell before she schtupped General Petraeus?
The Times tells us:
Yes, this is that Paula Broadwell, the mentee-turned-biographer of David H. Petraeus; the West Point graduate and military intelligence officer who was revealed, through a high-profile F.B.I. investigation, to have had a romantic relationship with Mr. Petraeus, a former C.I.A. director and the highest-profile general from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is also the Paula Broadwell who would be publicly portrayed as a “homewrecker,” a “stalker,” a “temptress,” the woman who “brought down the director of the C.I.A.” And, perhaps with the most frequency, as the “mistress,” a word for which there is no male equivalent.
Broadwell is fed up with the homewrecker reputation — “How long does a person pay for their mistake?”
(Yes, mistake singular. Do these people all work from the same script?)
It’s all terribly unfair. Petraeus resigned, apologized to the Senate Armed Services Committee, plead “guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material related to eight personal notebooks he’d shared with Ms. Broadwell… remained home in isolation… He was sentenced last April to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine.”
Broadwell was never charged and remains married to her chump husband.
But still she suffers.
She lost her military security clearance; her promotion from major to lieutenant colonel was revoked when the news broke. The F.B.I. still has her computers — including her dissertation research — and she withdrew from her Ph.D. program. She said she was told in more than one job interview that, while she was qualified, hiring her would be a public-relations nightmare.
Four years on, her name still pops up in the news with regularity. She tracks these references with precision. Every time there is a new development — a legal update, Mr. Petraeus’s sentencing, the recently self-published memoirby the woman on the receiving end of her emails — she said she is reminded: that for him, the affair is a footnote to an otherwise celebrated career. But for her — not as decorated, not as public, but still accomplished in her own right — it has become a lasting stain.
So how would Broadwell like us to forget that she was Petraeus’s fuck puppet? She’s started a public service campaign to get us all to stop saying “mistress.”
It’s sexist and unfair.
And so the public inquisition into the “mistress” began, with everything from her fitness acumen — could she really run a six-minute mile? — to her body fat (13 percent) to her “usually tight shirts and pants” scrutinized. She was called, by a senior military source, “a shameless self-promoting prom queen” who “got her claws” into him. She was “curvaceous,” with “expressive green eyes.” One general described her as “seemingly immune to the notion of modesty,” referring to the attire she was said to have worn in Afghanistan.
I’d say Broadwell is singularly immune to the notion of shame. Really Broadwell? It’s not what you did, it’s what we CALL it that’s the problem? Seriously?
Wow. I can’t think of any better way to get the public to forget you were ever a mistress than reminding them to stop calling you a mistress.
As terms go — do you have any idea what Holly Petraeus calls you? Mistress isn’t in the top 10, ranking far below, “whore,” “bitch,” and “sinewy horse-faced slut bucket.”
Chump Lady is all in favor of gender neutral language around infidelity. If you want to be polite, use “affair partner.” “Fuck buddy” is an acceptable alternative as well. Mistress is some archaic term that roughly translates as “maiden who lies down with unicorns.” By all means, let’s chuck it.
Ms. Broadwell was pleased to discover last month, after conversations with The Associated Press, that it had addressed “mistress” in an updated style guide, advising “friend,” “companion” or “lover” in its place, or language that “reflects that it takes two to tango,” said The A.P.’s standards editor, Thomas Kent.
Thanks AP style guide!
Hey Mildred, I’d like to depose your “friend” in my divorce case.
I saw your Ashley Madison profile looking for COMPANIONSHIP, Bob, and we’re THROUGH!
Is that your lover blowing you in a Walmart parking lot or is that a morbidly obese barnacle attached to your penis?
Feel free to use these new, judgement-free terms in sentences of your choosing! The important thing to remember kids, is that Paula Broadwell is NOT a mistress.
She’s some narcissistic nitwit who misses the spotlight.
Hope her chump husband finds this site. Keep those Google alerts going, Paula.
***Image from the New York Times.