The Wrecking Crew

The madonna-whore syndrome: an internet revision

Pay-back’s a bitch; what goes around comes around; EXPOSED.

These are just some of the threatening slogans touted on women’s t-shirts, soon-to-be available from a new website called (brace yourselves) Created to shame the brigades of women ‘tearing families apart’, the site allows users to upload names, images and detailed descriptions of infidelity. It welcomes feedback: there’s even a ‘vote’ button, so y’all can see exactly how disgusting your skank is compared to other skanks, and a comment function jam-packed with barbed, often quite terrifying vitriol. As each new crime is added to the list, the names are posted on social media (@exposeamistress) along with links to the stories in question: they read like a list of dead on the site’s Twitter feed., as its mission statement explains, is a space where “the betrayed woman exposes the other woman who became involved with her husband/boyfriend: from the Hollywood homewrecker to the average white picket fence, destroying women who just can’t seem to let go of your husbands and boyfriends.”

Those poor, poor husbands and boyfriends.

It’s an entreprise founded on revenge – on, as the site itself claims, betrayal. At the same time, a disclaimer notes hurriedly that “ is all about gossip and satire”, although how much satire’s involved in posting offenders’ addresses and phone numbers on the comment sections is debatable.

Founder Ariella Alexander took to Jezebel to claim that she expected more from her gender. “If they actually respected other women and their relationships, men would be unable to cheat” – because, of course, male libido is always driven by the agency of scheming women (that’s how rapes happen, duh). Unsurprisingly, a male equivalent of the site has yet to be launched.

By throwing a skewed spotlight so unflinchingly, this most public of burn books denies an active male participant in cases of marital infidelity (something that’s both condescending and, obviously, bullshit). And the often graphic details of sexual misdemeanours besides photographs of the women draws the spotlight inevitably back onto the female body as, weirdly, both subject and object. Loosely available or tantalizingly inaccessible, and ne’er the twain shall meet. But where are the men through all this – sniggering in the wings?

The smiling photos on She’s A Homewrecker show people defined, and always negatively, by the sexual choices they’ve made: supposedly a forum ‘for the ladies’, it plays straight into the hands of a patriarchy which seeks to tar with the brush of sexual behaviour, the old virgin/whore dichotomy. In a world where Martin Scorsese can marry five times and still be recognised predominantly as a film director, the recent brouhaha over Kate Winslet’s third marriage (‘calamity Kate!’ wrote Judith Woods for the Telegraph) reveals that once a woman’s climbed out of the Snow White box, it’s very hard to drift back in.

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