GENDERED SPEECH

Feeeeeeelings

Once you begin to think about the changes in Western culture and discourse that have come with the huge influx of women into public life over the past several decades—and the victories of their vanguard, the PC movement, in academia, media and government—you start to see florid examples of “femthink” (usually empathy- or compassion-driven, and trying to make up with drama what it lacks in logic) just about everywhere:

Take US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose empathy/compassion for minorities has hardened into something very insoluble, many would say irrational—certainly it seems to have little to do with the actual Constitution that must be the basis for Supreme Court decisions. About herimpassioned” dissent from a 6-2 decision upholding Michigan’s right to ban race-based discrimination (i.e., discrimination in favor of minority groups like Sotomayor’s), critics wrote, among other things:

“Her opinion is legally illiterate and logically indefensible, and the still-young career of this self-described ‘wise Latina’ on the Supreme Court already offers a case study in the moral and legal corrosion that inevitably results from elevating ethnic-identity politics over the law,” wrote the editors of the influential magazine. “Justice Sotomayor has revealed herself as a naked and bare-knuckled political activist with barely even a pretense of attending to the law, and the years she has left to subvert the law will be a generation-long reminder of the violence the Obama administration has done to our constitutional order.”

Appearing on Fox News, Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard said the first Latina justice’s lengthy opinion was driven by “emotion.”

“This was a decision written by somebody who was writing about emotion,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Caller. “It was President Obama’s ‘empathy standard‘ — that’s what he was looking for when he nominated her, that’s what I think he got.”

In a 6-2 ruling written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s Proposal 2, a 2006 ballot initiative that banned affirmative action in state colleges and public employment. The justices didn’t take a position on the constitutionality of affirmative action, but validated the right of a majority of Michigan’s voters to prohibit it. Conservatives widely praised the outcome.

Sotomayor’s opinion, co-signed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, argued that judges “ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.” It also attacked Chief Justice John Roberts’ views on race as “out of touch with reality.” She took the rare step of reading her dissent at length from the bench Tuesday before a packed chamber.

A similar attitude, just as emotional, just as perplexing to the logical and data-driven, is seen in the predominantly female movement against vaccines. From a recent NYT column:

For much of the past decade, [Jenny] McCarthy has been the panicked face and intemperate voice of a movement that posits a link between autism and childhood vaccinations and that badmouths vaccines in general, saying that they have toxins in them and that children get too many of them at once.

Because she posed nude for Playboy, dated Jim Carrey and is blond and bellicose, she has received platforms for this message that her fellow nonsense peddlers might not have. She has spread the twisted word more efficiently than the rest….

McCarthy waded into the subject after her son, Evan, was given a diagnosis of autism in 2005. She was initially motivated, it seems, by heartache and genuine concern.

She proceeded to hysteria and wild hypothesis. She got traction, and pressed on and on.

In 2007, she was invited on “Oprah” and said that when she took Evan to the doctor for the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, she had “a very bad feeling” about what she recklessly termed “the autism shot.” She added that after the vaccination, “Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.”

In an online Q. and A. after the show, she wrote: “If I had another child, I would not vaccinate.”

She also appeared on CNN in 2007 and said that when concerned pregnant women asked her what to do, “I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate.”

Etc.

Incidentally I disagree that the anti-vaccine movement has benefitted much from Jenny McCarthy’s particular celebrity—I think that if she had been subtracted from this picture, other mothers with autistic kids would have arisen to become ringleaders, and their “reasoning” would have sounded just like McCarthy’s does now. As I have suggested before, the mistrust of modern, industrialized foods and medicines seems to run very deep in the female psyche.

Of course, there are cultures out there that are less influenced by femthink, and still provide some extreme reminders of the days when guythink ruled:

A pro-Kremlin politician apparently yelled at his aides to “violently rape” a pregnant journalist who had asked him about sanctions against Ukraine.

Nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky is seen to wave his arms wildly at the Russia Today journalist Stella Dubovitskaya, who asked a seemingly innocuous question…

Apparently then calling Ukrainian women “nymphomaniacs”, Zhirinovsky is said to have accused the reporter of also being a sex addict, and began reciting Christian sayings, RT said.

Zhirinovsky at least has this defense: he was probably drunk.

GENDERED SPEECH