Who Has Sympathy for Ruth Madoff?

Ruth Madoff—loyal, pampered, tight-lipped wife of the single worst financial criminal in American history—seems to be unpopular. But why?? Is it feminist backlash? Anti-feminist backlash? Or, uh, something else? Poll and analysis below!

New York Magazine explores this perplexing issue at length in a story this week. Theory #1: People hate her because she's a woman.

Ruth's problem seems to be a particularly female one. "It's the gender politics of the culture," says Gloria Steinem. "It's easier to blame the person with less power." And, she adds, why aren't people blaming her sons? "They would be much more likely to be in cahoots, because they were in the same professional field. And the answer is, they're men, that's why."

Theory #2: She's just a dumb lady.

According to a friend from high school, it would not have been difficult to keep Ruth in the dark. "I don't know if you fully understand the difference between you and us," says the woman in her late sixties. "When we were young, and the man came home for dinner, he was the king of the house and we catered to him … We were the type of people who, if your husband came home and said, ‘Sign this,' you wouldn't ask why. If he asked you to sign it, you would sign it."

Theory #3: Oh maybe it's this .

"He conferred with her on everything. The idea that she didn't know anything is laughable," says the longtime Madoff employee.

Such a complicated issue, the whims of the public opinion! Really, where are these alleged people who have mixed feelings about, or even feel sympathy for, Ruth Madoff? We must smoke out this rare creature. With a poll. Vote below, and the truth will be revealed. [NYM. Pic: AP]