For many decades, feminist have promoted the viewpoint that cheating wives are honest women. They cheat because of their husband's self-centeredness or laziness or other character flaw he possess. Articles such as Psychology Today's "Women Who Cheat on Relationships", Womens Day's "Why I Cheated on My Husband" and Redbook's "My Wife Cheated On Me" all promote this attitude. Conversely, a backstabbing husband is viewed differently than a backstabbing wife. Most media outlets, including Psychology Today, Womans Day and Redbook write articles claiming husbands cheat because they are liars and selfish. In fact, Redbook heavily criticized a husband merely for flirting.
However, reader comments in several media outlets indicates changing public opinion regarding a backstabbing wife.
On Yahoo's Dear Abbey, a husband wrote he inadvertently discovered email messages between his wife of 45 years and another man. She planned to secretly meet the man, a former business client, at a hotel in his home town during a convention. Her phone records confirmed daily secret long-distance conversations between the two.
Public reaction was decidedly against the married woman.
Typical comments were "sorry Sir--don't delude yourself. Exit gracefully, and with YOUR head held high. Someone will appreciate an honest man. Your wife obviously" and does not." and " Sorry dude, they don't start 'drifting 'after 45 years, she's had all she wanted while you were busting your butt to keep a roof over her head. Get yourself a good legal team, and investigator. You will be shocked what they can find out about her past affairs!!!" and "Heres the reality with the guy whose wife is going to a convention to cheat on him--When he confronts her about the email she will act wounded,scream how he invaded her privacy and then tell him if there is no trust there should be no marriage. She will then stomp off indignantly and get a lawyer,screw her husband over and take him for what she can and after she has picked him to the bones she will still have the sex she wanted with that guy but this time she will act self righteous and the wounded party for those that believe her lies."
Some readers even pointed out Dear Abbey's promotion of feminist double standard. For example, one reader stated "I love it last month or the month before there was a letter from a woman that her husband was cheating. The first words were, get a lawyer, file for divorce and sue him for everything you can. What happened this time? Why not tell him to dump the cheating B*&*CH and get a lawyer to sue for everything he can? What double standard of BS advice to give to this guy. Take the advice she gave the wife of a cheating husband last month."
At the Huffington Post, public reaction to a wife's infidelity was similar. This outlet displayed a video of a husband crashing his SUV into his house after catching his wife cheating. Some typical responses were "Not me. I'm not going to ruin anything I own. Just turn around and walk away. She's obviously not worth it." and "I am not sure how destroying your own house (and likely getting arrested) constitutes revenge. It hurts to get cheated on and really sucks to catch them in the act but take a walk and preserve your dignity and your assets. Dump the wife, keep the house. That is revenge."
Admittedly, there were readers at both outlets defending the backstabbing women. They continued promoting the old feminist viewpoint that a wife's cheating is her husband's fault. These readers made statements such as "The husband may have done something wrong" and "Maybe he was a lousy husband" and the husband is "a schmuck".
Perhaps the most stunning reversal of opinion appeared on the usually female chauvinist website CafeMom. A backstabbing wife wrote that she had an affair when she wasn't getting along with her husband. The affair lasted 5 months. Ultimately, she became pregnant by her boyfriend. The boyfriend ended the relationship once the pregnancy arose - not an unusual reaction for sleazeballs who date married women. She then worked on making her marriage better. Three years after the affair, she confessed to her husband. Surprisingly, many readers were unsympathetic to the backstabbing woman.
Typical comments were: "She waited till their relationship was going well to tell him because she feared if she told him while they were having problems, he'd leave. That's selfish. Cheating is selfish." and "Odds are every time it gets hard she will turn somewhere else." Many also stated that the husband should get tested for STD's. However, there were a few women promoting old feminist double standards. They stated "If [the husband] loves her, he will drop his pride and make it work" and their bonds "can be even stronger" because of her honesty after 5 months of cheating.
Despite continuing feminist propaganda within the media, people's attitudes regarding marital backstabbing are changing. More people are holding women accountable for their behavior. Slowly, the public is reaching the conclusion a backstabbing wife and a backstabbing husband are the SAME THING.