Why Don’t We Call Him the Adulterer if the Women are the Mistresses?

Sorry. I’ve jumped on the Tiger Woods gossip-mongering bandwagon. I’m tired of it too, but maybe not exactly in the same way as others are.

Floozies. Dogs. Mistresses. That is how some of the women involved in the scandal have been referred to in the media. Woods, who is alleged to have had more than a dozen affairs during his marriage, is still being referred to as the greatest golfer of all time. Why isn’t he being referred to as the adulterer if the women are the mistresses?

A friend of mine recently posted a note on his facebook about  sports talk host Jim Rome interviewing Charles Barkley. I do not listen to sports radio so I haven’t heard this interview, but this snippet my friend posted is what made me stop in horror (I’ve added the boldface):

Rome challenged his assertions, but Sir Charles never backed away from his points. After he hung up, Rome made the following statements. “I know that Charles is tight with Woods. I get that. But Charles is known on TNT for being a straight talker. I guess I wasn’t that surprised he backed up his good friend. He did say that what he did was wrong. But then he quickly denounced those women as being sinister and the press as being relentless and unfair. But like I said, if you sleep with dogs, expect to get some fleas. Those women kept his emails and text messages all this time because they’re cocktail waitresses and he’s Tiger Woods. Tiger chose that kind of person to hook up with so why is anyone surprised that they’re bankrolling that connection now? Again, if you choose to sleep with dogs, you’re going to get fleas. I disagree with Chuck that the focus should be on how these women are treating Tiger or how the press is treating Tiger. The focus should be on how Tiger treated his wife and children.”

No. The focus should be on how even in this day and age it’s OK to refer to women in such disparaging ways. Dogs? Sinister? Are you kidding me? Yes, the women involved in this slow-motion car wreck have made some very unwise choices, but identifying them based solely on physical features, past sins and sexist stereotypes is used to discredit them. Because really are you going to believe a sinister cocktail waitress over the world’s greatest golfer?

I’ve heard and read some Christians jump on the forgive-Tiger-and-give-him-a-second-chance wagon. Everyone needs second chances and then some. Many Christian commentators have focused on the gossip-mongering angle of the story or about infidelity and its consequences – valid. But let’s make sure as Christians we don’t shy away from addressing the sexist comments and taking on a culture that worships sports figures and then demonizes the women who buy into the idol-worship. Let’s make sure we welcome the floozies, dogs and mistresses, too. Jesus did. He had to. It was part of his story generation after generation from Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the unnamed woman who had been Uriah’s wife.

We’re a week away from Christmas. Our Savior born to the floozie known as Mary. Forgive us for our double-standards and blindspots.


  1. SueAtGraceCorner December 19, 2009

    I kept hoping someone else would jump in on this, but….

    Two thoughts:

    (1) This is an old, old question. We don’t call Tiger an adulterer for the same reason that almost no one questions how the woman in John 8 could be caught in adultery all by herself.

    (2) I’ve always suspected that the capriciousness of male sexual arousal gives most men a general (if unspoken) sympathy for philanderers. They all know what it’s like to be unable to control untimely erections, so it’s probably not much of a stretch to believe that “he couldn’t really help it” when a man acts on those urges. And the degree to which men view themselves as sexually helpless seems to correspond directly to the degree to which they view women as inherently “sinister” or “manipulative.”

  2. eliseanne December 21, 2009

    something i have been pondering lately is the illegality of prostitution and how it plays in these realms as well…sorry if it is a tangent.

    I can hear wives demanding that prostitution be illegal so that their husbands are motivated to not visit prostitutes…and wives hating the prostitutes if they do.

    I can understand that hating reaction after an affair. But people can’t stay there. As they move through healing and processing, people have to remember that it was the man’s choice to visit the prostitute or other person.

    Wives need to realize that whether prostitution is legal or illegal, it is their husbands’ decisions to have an affair or not. If a woman magically appears naked on a bed in front of a man, it is still his decision to have sex with her or not.

  3. Jessica January 10, 2010

    ooh snap! Good post with a great question. I think it also stems from people still wanting to be able to view Tiger as a role-model and morally upright. By placing the blame on the women they are able to vilify them rather than Tiger and paint him as more of a victim of a “dog attack with flea bites.”


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