WASHINGTON (CAP) - Women across America are dealing with their anger at former presidential candidate John Edwards, and showing their solidarity with his embattled wife, Elizabeth, by making their own husbands' lives miserable, according to a new study.
"It's fascinating, actually," said Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Research Center. "It wasn't their husbands who lied, cheated or fathered a baby out of wedlock, but they're the ones getting berated, denied sex and, in some cases, physically punished."
"My wife yelled Men are pigs! and hit me in the shoulder with The Politician," said Mark Fresnel, 44, of San Antonio, Texas, referring to one of several new books to portray Edwards' dysfunctional behavior. "Stupid John Edwards."
According to Dr. Spitznagel, women who participated in the study seemed to follow a similar thought pattern:
1) John Edwards is a disgusting pig.
2) John Edwards is a man.
3) My husband is a man.
4) My husband must be a disgusting pig.
"Then they hit the husband with one of the books," said Spitznagel.
"How could a man run around with some strange woman and get her pregnant, and make a SEX TAPE, while his wife has CANCER?" asked study participant Sally Johansen, 38, of New Brunswick, N.J., then turning to her cringing husband, Craig, 40, and yelling "ANSWER ME!"
"If I ever meet John Edwards, I'm going to punch him right in the face," murmured Craig Johansen as his wife continued to glare at him icily.
Reports of women furious at their own husbands have been spiking ever since the news of Edwards' out-of-wedlock baby first broke, said Spitznagel.
"Combine that with the coverage of Tiger Woods' affairs and what happened with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and you have sort of a perfect storm of badly behaving men who women can't punish directly," he said. "But they can level their frustrations at their own confused and defenseless husbands, which at least makes them feel better in the short term."
He did note that most women haven't physically injured their husbands, although many participants said if they ever met Edwards in person, "they would knee him so hard in the groin that he'd sing even higher than he did on the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter Christmas album," said Spitznagel.
Meanwhile, not everyone is blaming all the world's husbands for Edwards' behavior. Darlene Fortenski of Mothers Against Everything (MAE) notes that "women are supposed to treat their husbands with the utmost respect and dignity, even if Mr. Edwards did make some terrible choices, such as filming his illicit intercourse when he should have been taking his wife to chemotherapy."
Considering that for a minute, Fortenski then added, "But if my husband thinks he's getting his man-hands near my flannel PJs until the Edwards' divorce is final, he's got another thing coming."
Those divorce proceedings are expected to continue well into the spring, with most legal experts agreeing that if the judge is a woman, Elizabeth Edwards will probably be granted custody of her husband's penis.
- CAP News Staff