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Get angry when powerful men like Trump, Kavanaugh, Grassley and Hatch insult women  4 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

Give me a break. I am so tired of men, mostly older white men with power, saying insulting things that demean women and then try to walk them back. 

My fury, of late, is aimed at the macro-aggressions springing from the lips of Donald Trump, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley, all white men over 70 in positions of influence.

How dare the president of the United States tell a female reporter that she never thinks, as he did to ABC reporter Cecilia Vega at a White House press conference. “I know you are not thinking. You never do,” said a dismissive Trump.  

On what planet was Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch born, 84 years ago, that he thought it was okay to say he found Dr. Christine Blasey Ford “pleasing” and “attractive” after she bravely testified Sept. 27 that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.

And what did 85-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley mean when he said he has a hard time recruiting women to be on the 21-member Judiciary Committee because the workload discourages them?. 

“It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it,” said Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee chairman. “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” Subtext, it’s too taxing for the little ladies. In fact there are four female Democrats on the committee, but no Republican women.  

When Twitter lit up and many women quickly pushed back, the men or their aides sputtered in each case: That’s not what I said or meant. The White House edited the Vega transcript into, “I know you are not thanking. You never do.” But Trump said it. There’s video to prove it. And so the transcript was fixed. Grassley backpedaled; it's hard to recruit men, that’s not what he meant. But it sure sounded that way. Hatch said he meant Ford’s personality, not her looks, was “pleasing,” though doesn’t make it much better.

Older white men should no longer get the luxury of making insulting remarks and then begging to clarify. You said it. Trump, Hatch and Grassley may be from another generation, but that doesn’t earn them a pass. These men are comfortable demeaning women because for so long, conditioned by society, women rarely let themselves publicly explode.

We must do it more. 

Anger is not a bad thing. On a psychological level, it’s is a red flag that something needs to change. We women are angry at being dismissed or disrespected. And if you are a woman, and not angry, well, you should be. Anger is what instructs us to say, wait a minute, this is not okay.

The way Kavanaugh belligerently and aggressively challenged Sen. Amy Klobuchar —asking her if she had ever blacked out from drinking — was not okay.

"You're asking about blackout, I don't know, have you?" he responded.

"Could you answer the question, judge?" Klobuchar said, looking somewhat surprised by the response. "So, you have, that's not happened? Is that your answer."

"Yeah, and I'm curious if you have," he added.

How many wish the Minnesota senator had channeled the anger she surely felt into a public rebuking? I wish she had said, “Don’t you dare talk to me like that. I don’t care how furious or upset you are.”

It feels really good to use your anger to educate. At a key moment in my life, I did it.

I was on a board with mostly older white men. The executive director, also an older white man, was describing something I didn’t understand. So, I did what I’ve always done as a reporter, I asked him a question.

“It’s on the website, dear,” he said condescendingly.

Years of internalizing and suppressing similar micro-dismissals sprung up. Without a great deal of thought, I blurted: “Don’t call me ‘dear,’ F--- face.’”

Hushed silence was followed by laughter and later he apologized. I said it because it was crystal clear to me that the director never would have called any men in the room, “dear.” It felt great. It still does, and it has emboldened me to push back and speak out when women are not fairly represented on conference panels (please, no more manels), in op-eds, as news sources and in positions of leadership.

We women have to stand up for ourselves and each other. We have to take risks, push our way into power. Stop being so nice. We must put ourselves out there, seizing this #MeToo moment where we are believed, listened to and enjoying a relatively newfound respect.

President Trump: We do think. Sen. Hatch: We are smart, not pleasing. Sen. Grassley: We can handle the workload and then some. We can’t handle being dissed or dismissed. To quote the famous 1976 movie, "Network," “We are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”

 

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