Womanhood

“Nasty” and others synonyms for dynamic women

I really wished we’d never have to talk about this. There are things in our society that are so vile, so upsetting, so sinister, that I longed to never have to discuss. But here we are, having to face up to reality. Ripping off that Brazilian wax strip and diving into the jagged lacefront of society. Yes. We’re going to talk about politics.

But not in the traditional sense because this girl right here does not watch C-SPAN and the word pundit makes me giggle. But I do vote, at every election, even the local ones and I try my absolute best to stay informed. However, I still find the whole process disjointed, hard to unpack, and purposefully taxing. I mean, at one point we had fifty-eleven candidates running for President. In the words of the esteemed Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins, “ain’t nobody got time for that!

This week the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced that one of those fifty-eleven people were back and would be his running mate. It was history making. Senator Kamala Harris of California would be his Vice President. This would make the first time a Black woman had appeared on a major party ticket as Vice Presidential candidate. It’s a huge deal. Even me, a political infant, was hella excited about what it meant for women to have one of us in a Vice-Presidential role. But before I could even finish a sturdy “Yassss Queen!” and snap my fingers in the air, news hit that Trump had referred to Kamala as “nasty” on a public stage.

I didn’t, don’t, and will never expect much from Don. He’s everything that is wrong with America in one wrinkled little traffic cone colored package. But what really got me about his sophomoric taunt is the whole ass audacity of it. I understand that within the Black community Kamala is a bit of a polarizing figure but what we cannot dispute are her academic and professional accomplishments. I mean, degrees out the ass, District Attorney in San Francisco, Attorney General in California, and U.S. Senator since 2017. She lives and breathes this stuff! And yet…we… have Donald Trump — whose greatest accomplishment prior to becoming President was firing D-list celebrities on NBC — calling her ‘nasty’. Oh, and Trump Steaks.

Now, I’m all for calling someone nasty if they actually are. I’ve met many a flaming nasty asshole in my life and as I said, I don’t know much about this woman so I pulled up the particular situation he was talking about regarding Rep. Harris drilling Justice Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing

After running the tape back, all I saw was a Senator holding a Supreme Court nominee accountable for possible — what’s the word? — CORRUPTION! The GALL to call her nasty because of this. The audacity. You ever had a man use the cell phone you bought him to call another woman? THAT amount of audacity is was reached out and damn near choked me.

This whole situation reinforces something that we knew happened historically but hoped would not continue. Something that me and many other women have likely experienced. It’s the ability of insecure men to, regardless of our competencies and abilities, diminish us to some oppressive stereotype to bolster their confidence and position. It’s nothing new. You’ve heard it right? Anytime a woman holds a man accountable (especially in public) or addresses her displeasure in any way she is hysterical. Or worse, particularly with women of color, she is angry.

Just for context, this name-calling of Kamala as ‘angry’, ‘nasty’, and ‘a mad woman’ is on the heels of another Senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being called an entire bitch by her ‘colleague’ Rep. Ted Yoho. Again, the audacity to purport that women are angry and not in control of their emotions when men are the ones who continuously devolve into name calling and even the occasional throwing of the hands. I mean, let’s not forget when this happened just a few years ago at a state Senate meeting:

They were going to literal blows. But women are hysterical, right? The problem with this hysterical woman narrative though, is that it works. It’s been effective in barring many women from patriarchal (oh, there she go with the patriarchy shit! YUP!) institutions filled with men. We know about the labels, know how untrue and damaging they are, and yet they can still be deployed to discredit women’s abilities and our rightful place in government.
Previously, we may have been able to give these men, pundits (giggle) and elected officials alike, a pass. Perhaps, they did not know how derivative and misogynistic it was to refer to women’s emotions in a professional environment. But now, in this age of the internet with endless information and TikToks at our fingertips we can’t claim that Trump and his geriatric frat brothers don’t know what they are doing. It is volatile and it is purposeful. It is nasty. And it is lazy.

Kamala has a bunch of legitimate stuff she has done that we can be angry about. Any politician worth their salt would dive headfirst into her history with criminal justice. If they analyze her stance on that and use it to plant seeds of doubt in voters’ minds that would be a more justified approach. She would have to answer for her decisions as a prosecutor. But no, they would rather attack her womanhood.

It’s crazy that in politics a candidate’s womanhood is a bigger target than her political record. Watching the Trump administrations response to Harris’ selection is like listening to a room full of men tell a woman to ‘calm down’. And we all know to neeever do that. Cause the truth is, ya’ll don’t want to see us when we’re really pissed off. Typically being called nasty or angry would be a reason to pause and re-examine behavior, but now being called names by powerful men is a signal that you’re likely doing something right. You’re breaking away from the status quo, holding their arthritic feet to the fire, and performing on a level that they could only imagine. So far, Kamala has not responded to any of the childish antics and I hope she doesn’t. I hope she stays above the fray. Goes high when they go low. But if she does respond, I hope she has AOC help write her speech.

Be sure to watch the Democratic National Convention tonight. Kamala Harris will be giving her first speech as Vice Presidential nominee. I’m not sure what the whole shindig is but I think about it as Comic-Con for Politicians. You’re welcome.

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