The Kiersten Cerveny story isn’t about “low self-worth”–it’s about lying to your husband
From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum
“One look at her Facebook page — since renamed ‘Remembering Kiersten Rickenbach Cerveny’ — would have been, until last Sunday, enough to induce envy in most anyone.
“Her photo album is vast. She was photogenic, well-loved, well-traveled. Here she is on April 5, 2008, celebrating ‘my 30th birthday in Turks and Caicos’ with her handsome future husband, Andrew, also a dermatologist.
“Here they are again, dressed up for a formal event, looking utterly carefree. ‘Wow!’ posted a user. ‘What a good-looking couple!’
“There are pictures of Kiersten sailing in Jackie O-style sunglasses, on vacation in Hawaii, partying in New Orleans, lounging après-ski in Whistler, swathed in a thick spa robe and, later, dining by the fireplace. There are photos of her three adorable, beaming children, the youngest now a little over 1 year old. She lived with her family in a $1.2 million home in Manhasset, LI, and her life — at least on Facebook — seemed to be filled with equally good-looking, happy people living equally privileged lives.
“But then, these days, the gap between the person we are and the person we present to the world has never been wider.
“There are 80 million photos posted in Instagram a day. Facebook has 1.49 billion active users per month. Twitter has 316 million active accounts; Tumblr 230 million. Pinterest has 47.66 million unique visitors from the US alone and is the fastest-growing independent site in history.
“Increasingly, most of us are living two lives: one online, one off. And studies show that this makes us more vulnerable to depression, loneliness and low self-worth.”
“Low self-worth”! That’s why Kiersten Cerveny lied to her husband, according to news reports, telling him she was simply off to a girls’ night out that fateful evening. She also seemed to know Johnson pretty well. And those underpants, hmmm.
Look, women can be wonderful. They excel at tenderness, making a pleasant home, and otherwise generally beautifying wherever they happen to be. I love looking at those Facebook photos of Kiersten Cerveny because I love all those fabulous, elegant, expensive clothes she’s wearing in them. What a gorgeous wedding veil, a floor-length lace-edged mantilla. I wish I’d been wearing one of those for my wedding!
But we should not idealize women. “Low self-worth” is not the reason women wander from their homes in search of more excitement than they clearly get from their husbands and children. And it’s clear from those photos that Kiersten Cerveny craved excitement. She liked to be seen wearing glamorous attire in chic, costly venues, and she liked even more to be photographed, which is why she posted so many photos of herself. She had already been married and divorced once before she wed Andrew. I don’t know a thing about that previous marriage, but if you look at those photos closely, you’ll see that Andrew’s smile always looks a little nervous and uncertain. And how about that HBO producer! Johnson, before Cerveny’s death, had been making a pilot for a series about the porn industry starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. That’s sure better than some dull work-a-Joe doctor out in the burbs. And indeed, reports are emerging that Cerveny regularly partied in Manhattan without her husband and was no stranger to drugs.
Did Emma Bovary suffer from “low self-worth”? I don’t think so.
Read the rest here.