What Puts the Scandal in Sex?Politcal sex scandals

Essay by GrizzwalUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2012

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What Puts the Scandal in Sex?

Sex scandals have always been a part of political history. Some of the most renowned politicians, such as Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, engaged in scandalous acts (Danges, 2011). Today, stories, like the ones of Belinda Stronach, headline our newspapers and fill our blogs. Politicians' unruly sexual behaviours fulfill society's desire for gossip. These stories intrigue and captivate citizens and spice up monotonous lives. But, what line has to be crossed to turn politicians' sexual behaviours into sex scandals? A scandal is defined as a "public revelation of an alleged private breach of a law or norm, which results in significant social disapproval or debate" (Liao, 2010). Through the examination of various political sex scandals, it becomes evident sex is not a scandal unless it involves media coverage, unethical, illegal and corrupt behaviours.

A scandal, political or sexual, does not transpire unless it receives media attention (Griffith, 2011).

Ultimately, media is the catalyst to a successful scandal (Griffith, 2011). Sex scandals are especially media prone because they are "interesting, easy to understand, and universally attention-grabbing" (Griffith, 2011). Sex scandals often produce strong societal reaction, as they involve unethical, immoral, corruptive and even potentially illegal behaviour (Liao, 2010). Technological innovation has produced a media system able to supply immediate information to various devices (Dagnes, 2011). Eliot Spitzer's scandal exemplifies just how prominent the media is; the revelation of his story emerged on the newspapers, radios, televisions and internet both nationally and internationally (Liao, 2010).

Cultural context determines whether a sexual act materializes into a scandal (Dagnes, 2011). Privacy laws largely regulate allowable media coverage. A comparison between the Paris-Match and Clinton-Lewinsky affairs typify different cultural customs of press coverage. The Paris-Match affair uncovered the French President's, Francois Mitterrand, long-term extramarital relationship with his...