“This is not new and that is the problem.”
It is 2020, the 100th anniversary of white women earning the right to vote in this country, yet misogyny still runs rampant. Especially within the government — at all levels.
In a little over a week, at least two men in positions of governmental power in the United States called a woman colleague of theirs a bitch. The first occurred on July 20 in Washington, D.C., when New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was called a “f****** bitch” by Florida Rep. Ted Yoho.
The second happened during a July 28 joint meeting of the San Juan County Public Hospital District 1 and Fire District 3 when PHD Chairperson Anna Lisa Lindstrum was called a bitch by Fire District Commissioner Frank Cardinale.
I am certain it isn’t the first time either of these women was disrespected because of their gender. I commend both the women at the receiving end of the misogynistic insult for their dignified reactions.
Lindstrum’s immediate response to Cardinale’s statement was to think of the community and how it isn’t going to be served properly if that type of behavior is demonstrated by its elected officials.
She said, “Our community deserves better than this. We have asked for cooperation … this is really hard when you don’t feel respected. We’re trying to do the right thing for our community and we’re trying to do the right thing for our staff.”
On July 23, Ocasio-Cortez gave a speech about the insincerity of Yoho’s apology. Soho had called her “disgusting and crazy” and said she was “out of her mind and dangerous.”
Some key quotes from her speech, including the opening sentence of this editorial, were:
• “These are the words that Rep. Yoho levied against a Congresswoman. A Congresswoman that not only represents New York’s 14th Congressional District but every Congresswoman and every woman in this country. Because all of us have had to deal with this in some form, some way, some shape at some point in our lives.”
• “I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women [names], and using abusive language towards women.”
• “When you do that to any woman, what Mr. Yoho did was give permission for other men to do that to his daughters.”
• “Treating people with dignity and respect is a decent man. And when a decent man messes up — as we all are bound to do — he tries his best and does apologize. Not to save face, not to win a vote. He apologizes, genuinely, to repair and acknowledge the harm done, so that we can all move on.”
Neither of these women deserved to be called a bitch by the men who chose to do so. Not because they’re in positions of power, but because they’re women — and because they’re human. No one deserves to be belittled, especially when they’re trying to do their job.
When you use a derogatory term toward a woman — no matter their status or career — consider the fact that you’re essentially giving permission to other people to do that to your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter.
This is not new and that is the problem.