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Kirsten Powers shut down a colleague who called Kamala Harris 'hysterical.'

The clip has gone viral — and for really good reason.

Kirsten Powers shut down a colleague who called Kamala Harris 'hysterical.'

Sen. Kamala Harris went into the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on June 13, 2017 with a list of hard-hitting questions for Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Though Sessions did what he could to dodge them, Harris was dogged in her pursuit of the truth.

Anyone who tuned in to CNN later that night for coverage of the hearing heard a slightly different analysis, including one word in particular that stood out: "hysterical."


USA Today's Kirsten Powers took issue with former Trump advisor Jason Miller's description of Harris's behavior and asked him to explain why he thought Harris was being any more "hysterical" than her male counterparts.

"I think calling her hysterical is probably a little gendered," Powers told him, when he couldn't give an explanation.

Before Powers had even finished her statement, panelist Jeffrey Lord interrupted to insist "hysteria is a neutral quality."

"It's just women who are usually called hysterical," Powers responded.

And she's right.

As a concept, "hysteria" can be traced back to an ancient Greek belief that connects excessive emotion to the uterus. Seriously.

British scholar Helen King traces the term back to Hippocrates. While that usage faded, "hysteria" returned during the Victorian era and has been used as an excuse to dismiss women as being uncontrollable, irrational bundles of emotion ever since.

And although associated with witch trials and the anti-suffragist movement, hysteria also helped lead to the invention of the vibrator — so, silver linings, I suppose.

And while it's no longer solely used to describe women, a simple keyword search on Google Books of all English books published between 1800 and 2000 show the descriptor is applied to women on a much more regular basis than men.

Image via Google Books Ngram Viewer.

Add in the fact that there's no conclusive evidence that women are any more "emotional" than men, and you see where the problem is with singling Harris out specifically as being the "hysterical" one in that hearing.

In the context of the hearing, if you were to label anyone "hysterical," the most appropriate recipient would probably be a visibly flustered Sessions, who at one point talked about how Harris' questions made him feel nervous.

GIF from Washington Post/YouTube.

Too often, "hysteria" is still used to dismiss strong women with opinions and drive.

In Miller's case, whatever point he had in trying to dismiss Harris' questioning was rendered moot by a sloppy choice of words that reflected his own sexism.

He might claim that his perspective was "objective" in ways that Powers' analysis wasn't (the implication being that Powers isn't capable of seeing things rationally); but the moment he called Harris "hysterical," he betrayed his own subconscious fear of — and bias against — strong and opinionated women.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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