Saturday, June 20, 2009

That's SENATOR Bitch To You

I love Senator Barbara Boxer. I love her with all of my shriveled, wasted, cat-loving feminist heart.

Senator Barbara Boxer: Well, why has it been delayed?

Brigadier General Michael Walsh: Uh, ma'am, at the LACPR—

Boxer: You know, do me a favor, could you say "Senator" instead of "ma'am"? It's just a thing—

Walsh: Yes, Senator.

Boxer: —I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it. [giggles and mumbling in background] Yes, thank you.

Walsh: Yes, Senator.

Apparently though, asking to be addressed by a title that you have earned is completely unconscionable if you happen to be of the female persuasion. Liss puts it beautifully:

The visceral reactions to this in various threads have been extremely informative. Echidne calls her post (recommended reading) "Senator Cuntface," an epithet she snagged from the YouTube comments on this video. Along with every other variation on "Senator + Misogynist Slur," I've seen her called "Barb," "Barbara," "Mrs. Boxer," "Senator Dirtbag," "Madame Dingbat," and dozens of other monikers that are not Senator Boxer—which illustrates precisely why a woman in her position might insist on being called by her proper title: Because not using it is often a sign of deliberate disrespect.

Ultimately, the exchange was nothing more than a woman politely asking a man to treat her respectfully, and that man politely agreeing to do so. There's absolutely nothing controversial about it, aside from the fact that it still drives lots of people bonkers to see a woman stand up for herself in public and demand the respect she's earned.

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