This blog post has been percolating since the report that Chris Christie himself commissioned “exonerated” him, while doing a character assassination on Bridget Kelly, his former deputy chief of staff (and, it appears, his chosen scapegoat for BridgeGate.  Hell, BridgeGate even has most of “Bridget” right in the name!  Case closed!)

Anyway, Rachel Maddow first pointed out the slut-shaming aspect of the report, which painted Bridget as an unstable, oversexed woman scorned.  And even a Fox news analyst agreed.  And though my daughter is two and still in diapers, the culture in which we live will increasingly  shape who she is and how she sees herself.

So what might the psychological impact be on her, and her cohorts?As parents, we try to teach our children that they have intrinsic worth and value.  Yet, we’re in a culture that commodifies sexuality (female sexuality, in particular) and then shames the females who practice this.  Men are studs, females are sluts.  So it’s been, so it remains.  Maybe that’s changing, but not nearly quickly enough.

It seems likely that my daughter will learn, before she even has breasts, that she is supposed to be “hot.”  She is supposed to seem comfortable with her sexuality, to brandish it even, because the only thing worse than being called a slut is being called a prude.

But if she practices her sexuality too liberally, then she should be ashamed.  Others will no longer respect and value her.  Her worth has been diminished.

Having to walk this tightrope can exact a psychological toll.  Girls have to make choices, constantly, about who they want to be and how they want to be seen, and perhaps the distance between the two.

As my daughter grows up, there will be more Bridget Kelly’s, and what do their stories tell young women?  That if you make certain sexual choices, you can be disqualified as a competent person in other areas of your life.  You might forfeit respect in, say, work.  For girls and women, the personal is not only political, it’s professional.

And is the same true for men?  As of right now, no, it’s not.  Male competence is not questioned or besmirched in the Christie report.  Only female sexuality blurs judgment, it seems.

What do our sons learn about the world through the lens of slut-shaming?  They learn that they can exonerate themselves on the backs of women (pun sorta intended).  This isn’t healthy for them psychologically.

Focusing on others’ behavior and not taking responsibility for their own doesn’t lead to positive self-esteem.  Feeling like you can get away with something can mean that you want to try.  Why instill that in any kids?

Yes, there are times when we have to tell our kids life isn’t fair, they need to get used to it.  But this arena shouldn’t be one of them.  Gender equality isn’t just about equal pay (though it should be about that, too); it’s about equal respect for equivalent behaviors.

Or maybe equal disrespect.  When a boy and girl have engaged in the same act, one shouldn’t get high fives while the other gets averted glances, whispers, or nasty comments.

Because people like to talk.  They like to pass judgment on others.  But at least let it be equivalent judgment.  That’s what an equal playing field is about: equal opportunity for veneration, and for scorn, for boys and for girls; equal opportunity for everyone to make their choices and be responsible for them.