+
More

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

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

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.

[rebelmouse-image 19528287 dam="1" original_size="887x390" caption="Image via Google Books Ngram Viewer." expand=1]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.

[rebelmouse-image 19528288 dam="1" original_size="500x281" caption="GIF from Washington Post/YouTube." expand=1]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.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.