Sonia Sotomayor: Hysteria when you’re near

It astounds me — truly astounds me — that even in this day and age public figures can get away with attacking women leaders just for being women. A woman who is strong-willed, opinionated, assertive, forceful, or unwilling to suffer fools — all qualities valued in male leaders — is labeled an “angry bitch.” And not just! See, she has this thing called a uterus, and has these hormones called estrogen and progesterone, she must be unable to control her emotions. Back at the turn of the century, the previous turn of the century, they referred to this imagined phenomenon as “female hysteria.”


(Neurologist Jean Martin Charcot demonstrates a case of “hysteria” c. 1885)

As soon as President Obama named federal appeals judge Sonya Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court, right-wing commentators jumped on the chance to attack her — since they apparently are only against sexism when it’s politically convenient for them (i.e. making misogynist comments against Sen. Hillary Clinton, but claiming critics of former Gov. Sarah Palin are sexist).

An excellent article by McClatchy Newspapers on Wednesday predicted the coming firestorm:

WASHINGTON — Judge Sonia Sotomayor can be blunt, aggressive and impatient. So get ready for another public debate, and probably some insinuations, about her judicial temperament.
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Shaking up a nation of zombies

Last night, I went to the benefit screening of “America the Beautiful,” which originally came out in spring 2007. For someone who is very aware of media messages to women about beauty and sexuality and how we, as a culture respond, very little of the movie was surprising or new information. However, women (and men) receive hundreds and thousands of these negative messages every day, so I am always in favor of someone new trying to counter or break down these communications.

When it comes to this kind of feminist commentary, people always say, “Oh this has been said before!” Yes, but has it been said enough? How many headlines in a week screech, “Major Celebrity Gains 10 Pounds and Is Totally Fat Now.” Oh, that’s been said before. Does not stop them from saying it again.

Here is what made this film interesting to me: Continue reading