Is the Word Hysterical Sexist?
Joined: Apr 22, 2012
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Posted Jun 26, 2013 - 7:59 PM:
Subject: Is the Word Hysterical Sexist?
In recent statement by Nestle', they denounced comments made by Aby Martin about Nestle by calling her hysterical.
Facebook Posts: Lee Camp, Aby Martin
There are plenty of men that get loud and excited and raise their voice yet it is very unlikely for such men to be called hysterical. Are Nestle's comments a reflection of the lack of women in positions of power? In the political arena there is a large amount of news about legislation undermining woman's rights. In a recent filibuster at the Texas Senate by Wendy Davis, at one later point when republican leaders had the podium, State Senator Leticia Van De Putte -- whom had been ignored a few times by the republican's -- piped up and said:
""At what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?""
The media now is trying to annoit Hillary Clinton as the democratic leader. Hillary has never stirred things up much and has followed much of the establishment direction of foreign policy. She even took a back seat to her husband during an incident of infidelity and was said to "support her man". Would you rather a woman leader that "plays ball" with the old boys or a leader who stirs things up like and challenges the status quo, like Elizabeth Warn?
Recently someone Heckled Michele Obama and many people played on stereotypes of black woman calling her "The Mammy America almost had" and said "she was right in her face".
All of these incidents show a social bias that tries to shame woman for speaking up. They show a bias of which sex these people think the leaders are and which sex these people think the followers are. One thing I like about RT is it promotes an image of strong smart women. This is not how woman are typically portrayed in the majority of the media.
Edited by John Creighton on Jun 26, 2013 - 8:19 PM
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Posted Jun 27, 2013 - 6:46 AM:
I'd say it has sexist connotations. It's rarely used for men. And the origins of the word relate exclusively to women.
"For at least two thousand years of European history until the late nineteenth century hysteria referred to a medical condition thought to be particular to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus (from the Greek ὑστέρα 'hystera' = uterus), such as when a neonate emerges from the female birth canal" (wikipedia)
So it's like the word "uppity," which is not a racist word itself perhaps, but it has been so long associated with the phrase "uppity blacks," that it has a racist connotation. Hysterical is like that.
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Posted Jun 27, 2013 - 2:09 PM:
Hysterical was definitely sexist in origin and long usage. But it is used on men for very specific (and not at all uncommon) behaviours: excitable overreaction to events they should have been able to predict, and, more often in my experience, to the kind of comedy so popular nowadays, wherein people, male and/or female, run about, shouting at one another at cross purposes.
In clinical psychology, the word has been used for the physical manifestation of an emotional trauma, (as "hysterical blindness") regardless of the patient's gender. I don't know whether it has been entirely dropped from diagnostic language.
In none of those instances would I consider it sexist. But I have heard men use in a deliberately derogatory way toward women, as well as to bring doubt upon the masculinity other men. Derivative: hissy fit. I frown upon such usage.
The spell-checker is giving me a hard time about capital I. Upon which I positively scowl. Pronouns ought all to be capitalized, or none, for consistency.
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