As you may have noticed, in all of my “salacious examples” from last week, the female actors were all the “underdogs.” They were not in positions of power as General Petraeus or Presidents Kennedy and Clinton were. Monica was an intern, Paula a biographer, Rielle a videographer. Although smart and accomplished themselves, compared to their public-office-holding men, they had less to lose and more to gain from their affairs: a better job, book deals, and the affections of the president. The heart of a woman is a very wild place — we cannot count out feelings of love — but this also isn’t a Disney movie; this is D.C. I cannot guarantee that all used their “womanly wiles” to get ahead (Marilyn Monroe was famous in her own right), but many did profit from their relationships with their famous liaisons and, decades later, remain famous due to their association with the scandal.
House of Cards gives us a glimpse into the world of Monica and/or Paula pre-affair… and the dilemma between hard work and easy street. HoC’s two leading ladies, Claire and Zoe, are both very ambitious. They both feel that they can achieve more if they push just a bit harder. Claire wants power, to be the wife of the president or secretary of State, and some money for her struggling charity. Zoe wants to be noticed and promoted at work. Everyone wants to “be somebody” in D.C.