Don’t Worry Your Pretty Little Head About It


If there’s one thing I cannot stand during a debate, it’s condescension. And when it’s from a man using tired old sexist rhetoric to undermine a female’s opinion, my burner goes from low to nuclear in a hurry.

Now, I am not a feminist. Further, I’ll rip the head off of anyone who dares to call me one. This hearty hatred of paternal condescension comes not from a liberal feminist background, but from a lifetime of arguing politics with men and then having my opinions trivialized because of my femininity.

Men do it all the time without realizing it. The reason why I wrote this post is in one of the articles to which I linked yesterday, the one dismissing any claims regarding similarities between W and Lincoln. The sentence that set me off is on page 2, first paragraph (emphasis mine).

Some Bush supporters, while agreeing that things have not been exactly peachy these last eight years, nevertheless try and compare Bush to Lincoln — at least as it relates to the idea that both men faced serious challenges and remained steadfast to their beliefs in the face of virulent opposition. (My PJM colleague, the lovely Kyle-Ann Shiver, makes that point in her piece opposite this one.)

The lovely Kyle-Ann Shiver?

Would Rick Moran write such a thing while debating a male? I doubt it. You’re not going to find Mr. Moran writing “the handsome Glenn Reynolds” or “the studmuffin Glenn Reynolds” while debating an idea from El Instapundito anytime soon. No, Mr. Moran was putting the lovely Ms. Shiver in her place, reminding her that she, a mere pretty little female, shouldn’t worry her sweet little self about such things. It’s condescending.

Even worse, assuming he wasn’t trying to put her in her place, calling her the “lovely  Kyle-Ann Shiver” could have been used as a way to soften his disagreement with her. “I disagree with your analysis and think you’re as stupid as a pile of little green apples. But aren’t you lovely? You are. Don’t feel too bad, sweetie.”  This pisses me off as much as the condescension because it assumes that women can’t handle opposition without being coddled or soothed.

I doubt it was a conscious decision on his part. I don’t think he did it deliberately to undermine her position or sooth her into compliance. I haven’t read Mr. Moran’s work enough tothink otherwise. I think it’s just a knee-jerk response some men have when seriously debating women. Some do it (either consciously or subconsciously) for the condescension or to soften the blow of disagreement. Either way, it pisses me off mightily.

NOTICE: I have no idea if Ms. Shiver is lovely. I’m sure she is in at least one way or other. Let’s assume she is completely lovely. It doesn’t change what I wrote above.

LATER: Of course, if Mr. Moran could be flirting with Ms. Shiver. If that’s the case, he could have picked a better time to do so.

UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION: Feel free to call me lovely. Just don’t do it during a debate.