I’ve never been accused of being overly sensitive with regard to words, but I recently had an interaction online that caused me to take notice. I read the following Peter Daou tweet:
“Trump spent the campaign insulting people. Hillary spent the campaign being insulted. Only she got OBSESSIVE negative coverage.”
The discussion was about the news coverage during the Presidential campaign and how when the news stories were compiled into word clouds, those words used for Trump were mostly positive and those used for Hillary were mostly negative.
Again this was not based on personal perception but instead on published news articles from a supposedly unbiased press. It implied that the news was actually very biased when reporting about Hillary.
I replied that I thought it was unbelievably sad.
Someone replied to me that “That’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say.”
That’s the way the cookie crumbles. For a “die-hard Republican troll” (you can always tell when they have 12K tweets but only 67 followers) to use that *specific* phrase with regard to Hillary’s defeat felt sexist. It was jarring. It was the first time I really listened to that phrase.
Yeah, I know, before you read on, I’m not a snowflake (unless you count me as part of the blizzard that resists) but it *felt* like this guy (male) was making a sexist statement. Recently I am noticing a lot of things that I had simply taken for granted before the election. This is one.
Last night at dinner, I discussed the cookie phrase with three of the boys and Marc.
“It’s not sexist, I say it all the time. It’s like saying “Shit Happens.”“
Well just because someone who doesn’t think *they* are sexist, says a phrase often doesn’t mean *it’s* not sexist. I continued. “So why didn’t he just say “Shit Happens?”
“Because maybe he was trying to be polite.” (Note – from personal experience online trolls are rarely polite.)
“Well if you were talking about a man’s defeat would you be more like to say “Shit Happens” or “That’s the way the cookie crumbles?””
It was agreed that they would use “Shit Happens.”
Only one son asked me why I thought it was sexist.
“It goes back to a time when men routinely called women sweetheart, darling, and cookie.” I told him. “It was a way to exert dominance over women and to make them appear infantile.”
“Hmm, in this case I could see that and understand why you would think its sexist.” (Note – that’s my boy.)
So what if “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” actually implies “that’s the way the woman has a mental breakdown?” Just because we say it often doesn’t mean it’s not a sexist statement when used in a specific instance.
We tried to look up the origin of the phrase but got nowhere. Hear me out – while I admit that cookies do crumble and that it’s a vivid image, in this *specific* case it felt like this man was denigrating Hillary and taking away her power by equating and calling her a (cute and non-powerful) cookie.
“Mom, sometimes you think too much.”
Well maybe I do, but as a writer words and the context in which they are used matter. Mark Twain used the word nigger in his writing, at the time it was an accurate and an appropriate word for his stories.
Now, if I call a person of color a nigger that’s highly offensive. I simply wouldn’t do it.
And if I liken a distinguished , hard-working and accomplished, woman’s career and Presidential defeat to a “cookie crumbling” isn’t that also highly offensive?
Sometimes it’s the thinking too much that brings awareness and change.
I’d be very interested in your views on this.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.