So far this year I’ve talked about nice people with ugly beliefs and nice people in fiction. Now for a discussion of the pressure on women to be nice, to be decorous — in short to shut the hell up and not question the menfolk.
For example, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren started questioning Jeff Sessions’ fitness for attorney general, Mitch McConnell invoked a procedural rule to prevent Warren speaking ill of another Senator.
Or we have Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown who during an abortion debate referenced her vagina. For actually using the word, the majority leader (Republican) declared Brown had violated the “decorum” of the State House (another Republican declared the word was hideously offensive — nothing that should ever be said in mixed company).. The leader barred Brown from speaking on a subsequent, unrelated bill and did the same to Barb Bynum for suggesting the state ban vasectomies unless needed to save a life.
And now we have Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s response to a Native American woman who confronted him in a recent dispute: he wagged his finger and told her to be nice.
In my piece on niceness in fiction, I pointed out that writing a nice character doesn’t mean writing them as a doormat. The guys in these accounts confuse the two (probably intentionally). The nice, polite, unfeminine behavior they’re demanding is behavior that doesn’t challenge them or threaten their goals in the slightest. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that while pols may bristle about how unfair male critics are, their response is rarely “be nice.”
Likewise, antifeminist snowflake Suzanne Venker has a new article on the Fox News website about how what men want most in a woman is niceness. A woman who’s soft, gentle and nice. A beta female. They don’t want someone who’s going to fight them. Whereas women don’t want nice, they’re attracted to a guy who’ll take charge. Venker says that Of Course she’s not telling women to be a doormat but yeah, she is. Nice = submissive. Which is her usual take.
There are times it’s good to be nice. Times it’s good to appear nice. And times to drop any pretense of niceness and stick in the shiv. I’m sure Zinke and Venker know that, they’re just not going to admit it.
In other sexist news:
•A neo-Nazi rant declares that casual dating is cheating, proving that what we need is white sharia.
•Alaska state Rep. David Eastman is convinced women are getting abortions because it’s an opportunity to travel.
•The Oklahoma legislature has passed a resolution calling abortion murder.
ªLots of women live in states with anti-science forced-birth laws (abortion causes depression! Breast cancer! Etc.)
•Then there’s the right-wing enthusiasm for women getting married and popping out babies. Which prompts one writer at the Federalist to declare people who have pets instead of babies are insane. Literally. Don’t we realize dogs are actually savage predators at heart? Yeah, like human beings aren’t?
•Fox News bigshot and alleged sexual harasser Roger Ailes is dead. I’m not crying. I’m crying even less because if he’d died just a year ago, Fox would have saved the $45 million it’s paid in the past nine months to settle harassment lawsuits against him.
•In more good news, the New Hampshire politician who founded the Red Pill misogynist Reddit sub-site has resigned from politics.
•Frontier flight attendants say the airline won’t let them pump breast milk at work.
•Apparently the military community has a new female target for its wrath: dependas, women who supposedly marry military guys for the wrong reasons.
•A man hits on a woman working retail, then waits in his truck to talk to her again when she gets off work. He’s stunned people thought the waiting outside was suspicious.