Raise your hand if you’ve ever been interrupted in the middle of the story?
Raise your hand if it was me who interrupted you?
Yeah, sorry ’bout that.
I interrupt, a lot, and sadly many women do. Girls, tweens and teens especially, are often teased for talking too much, interrupting too often, speaking so fast it’s like they’re in flood waters and they’ve got to get in the whole story before the water mutes the punch line.
Except flood is the menfolk in our lives, and we have been programmed to get out the story, our story, before the guys take over the conversation and our words are just empty bubbles of air.
The times, they are a’changin’ – or they maybe they were a’changin’ – when badass Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (only called badass because she dares to do what millions of mediocre white men do every day: speak up and speak out), was shushed by said middle-aged slightly above average white man, Kentucky Senior Senator Mitch McConnell.
The great interrupter: Elizabeth Warren
McConnell didn’t just shush Massachusetts Senator Warren, but silenced her from reading a relevant letter from famed civil rights advocate Coretta Scott King concerning the racist history of nominee Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Warren was reprimanded, then banished from participating in the hearings.
Don’t you talk about my friends that way. Bad girl, go to your room:
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
I guess Warren didn’t speak fast enough. Or interrupt often enough.
She played by the rules, the good ol’ boy rules, and still, her time, her words, the words of the famed civil rights leader Coretta Scott King were silenced.
For the time being.
And so did the resistance.
Women who have been hushed, shushed, reprimanded, mansplained, over-talked, corrected, laughed at, ignored, embarrassed, and humiliated for the gall of being a woman can relate. And we don’t even have to be married to do so.
Often, we’re corrected for how we’re saying whatever we’re saying, or how we look while saying it, rather than the substance of the message attempted to be conveyed.
The actual words, thoughts, and ideas are second to all of that ‘other.’
Women are sick of being told what to do, what to say, how to say it, and how to look while saying it.
Smile. Be nice. Be polite. Don’t use that voice. Don’t be angry. Next time. Be sweet. Smile. Don’t take it so seriously. It’s just a joke. You sound angry. Smile. Don’t interrupt. We’re out of time. Wear something pretty. Not that pretty. Be stronger. Don’t be so bitchy. Be more subtle. Can’t you be nice? Smile. Don’t curse. You’re prettier when you smile. Atta girl.
Like the septic tank guy who came to my home to literally talk shit, and when I balked at the yearly fee, he said, and I quote:
“Why don’t we wait until your husband gets home, sweetie, to talk business. Have him call me.” (~2005)
I could fill this blog with examples like this, not from the barefoot and pregnant pre-historic, pre-feminist, movement of the 1950s, but from an ample harvest from the privileged, good life, the post-feminist movement we have all benefited from. Or we white women have benefited from.
Just not too much, not long enough, and apparently not any longer.
Here’s what really pisses me off
Of all the analysis, media reports, alternative facts, and political talking points surrounding the Warren/McConnell debacle, the one that sticks, the one I can’t shake because of its absurdity and roots in forever keeping women in their place, in respect to the men of which they honor and, cough-cough, obey.
Senator Orrin Hatch to the rescue of defenseless wives everywhere (almost)
Utah Senior Senator Orrin Hatch, another superior rather than mediocre white man, said this of Warren’s harsh critique of the AG nominee Jeff Sessions:
“Jeff Sessions is a really fine person,” Hatch said. “Think of his wife. She’s a really fine person. Jeff has been here 20 years. He’s interchanged with almost all of us. Sometimes you agree with him and sometimes you don’t, but he’s always been a gentleman.”
“Think of his wife. She’s a really fine person.” — PUH-LEEZE!
This in reference to now Attorney General and (former) Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’ wife, Mary Blackshear Sessions, whose feeling might be hurt in the impolite portrayal of Sessions actions as written by female civil right leader Coretta Scott King read by Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The Good Wives Club
Why does Senator Orrin Hatch not apply the same sexist rationale to Bruce Mann (Elizabeth Warren’s husband) when his wife was silenced on the Senate floor while doing her job?
Or how about thinking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s wife (Coretta Scott King’s husband), whose polite, poignant, professional words worked to opposed Sessions from a seat on the federal court in 1986 (but were doomed to fail to do so in 2016)?
What about those wives? Aren’t they really fine people? Shouldn’t we think about them?
Words are powerful. So are women. And wives. But none should be silenced by the men who do not want others to hear their ideas, opinions, and words, lest their power be unleashed on unsuspecting minds willing to listen.
#resist #persist #dosomething #shepersisted