“The Princess and the Poop” Edition
S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Hello and welcome to The Waves. First Thursday, January 2nd, 2020. The Princess and the Poop Edition. I’m Christina Ritchie, a staff writer at Slate and host of the Slate podcast Outward.
S3: I’m Marcia Trautman, a professor of history at Georgetown University.
S4: I’m Nicole Perkins, writer and co-host of First Aid Kit.
S5: And I’m Jean Thomas, the senior managing producer of Slate Podcasts.
S6: And it’s our annual kollin Show. Our first show in the New Year. We’re so excited. We’re all gathered in our respective studios except Marsha, who’s calling in from an exotic locale on the road.
S7: I am under a code that sounds cozy under there.
S6: We have a full docket of is it sexist questions to get to today. Thank you to everybody who sent them in. Your questions were particularly juicy and thought provoking this year, and I think we’re gonna get to a good chunk of them today and listeners, if you like.
S8: This is sexist discussion type thing. Please note that in every episode we answer one of these is sexist questions for our Slate Plus listeners. And you can join Slate Plus for just $35 a year for the first year where you can even take a two week trial period by going to slate dot com slash the waves plus. And this week we’ll save one of our questions just for Slate Plus members.
S6: We took one of your excellent questions. Our conversation got a little heated and involved a comprehensive evaluation of curse words. We are going to decide whether it’s sexist to call someone a douche or a douche bag. Here’s a little snippet from that conversation.
S9: Maybe enema would be another good enema. Yeah, everybody.
S5: Is that funny enough now? I mean, it’s funny, but it’s not really us. Yeah. You’re such a fucking enema. No, I’m not feeling it.
S6: And that’s gonna be a good one. That’s the question we’re answering for Slate Plus members this week. Let’s get into it. Our first question comes from an anonymous listener whose likeness Jun will impersonate. Yeah. Take it away.
S10: So this anonymous listener asks, isn’t sexist for husbands slash male partners not to have social media accounts? This question may have come from a woman who is married to a man who has only a neglected LinkedIn profile and who loves to tell people that he doesn’t do social media, which is, I guess, why all always cousins message her on Facebook if they want to get in touch with him, for that matter, all his family members Facebook message or even email her and ask her to ask him stuff because, you know, her rubbishy is at responding to emails, they say. Is it sexist?
S11: All right. Who wants to take a first crack at this?
S12: I’ll start. I think it is sexist because the social media management for a family is akin to situations in which the female partner remembers everyone’s birthday, knows the shoe sizes of all the kids. It’s something about the way that the social life of the family is often feminized. And so I think the posturing of like I’m too busy or too interesting or too deep for social media. And that’s my wife’s domain is sexist.
S13: I agree. I think it’s sexist. I think it falls under kind of like making the woman, the secretary, the administrative assistant of the family. And that’s very bothersome to me. And I also wonder if there is some element of jealousy or possessiveness that kind of goes into it as well. Like if the guys if men stay off of social media, maybe they won’t be tempted to slide in someone’s demons or something like that.
S6: And, you know, that’s fine. So you think maybe the the woman partner is asking is telling my husband like, oh, you don’t need to have a social media because they don’t want him to stray.
S13: I think sometimes that is part of it. Yes. And I think that sometimes men also are just like, let me not even tempt myself. So you just handle all this kind of, you know, all of that stuff.
S14: And also, it’s just a way for them, for some of them to get away from that responsibility of managing birthdays and managing the connection to their family, their extended family and things like that.
S13: So I think there are a lot of different elements that come into play. But bottom line, it is sexist.
S6: Yeah. I also think it doesn’t necessarily just apply to couples where the the man doesn’t have a social media account. I think any division of labor that has the woman being the one to field messages from family members be in charge of, you know, sending out photos of the family and keeping in touch. Is at a well known and common sexist division of labor. And on social media, it’s not necessarily just about the DMK with family members. I think it also extends to commenting and liking on other people’s photos, which for some people is an important part of keeping up family relationships and also knowing about what’s going on in people’s lives. So that when you run into the cousin you haven’t seen in a year or an old friend and maybe something has happened to them, they broken up with their partner, they left their job.
S15: You are not completely in the dark because, you know, they think, you know, because they’ve posted on social media. And so you would be possibly doing damage to your friendship if you start talking to them like you don’t know what’s going on in their lives. And I think a good rule of thumb for somebody with a question like this is if your partner would feel out of the loop if he was single and didn’t have social media. Then yes, it’s sexist if he’s depending on you to keep him in the loop.
S10: Interesting. No, I am not here to defend the male gender. However, I do have something of a slightly contrasting opinion here, because since this question was based on social media, I don’t think anybody like has an obligation to be on like Facebook or Twitter. You know, Instagram, Tick-Tock, whatever. Like, it’s okay to to say, you know, social media is just not for me. I really don’t enjoy it. It aggravates me. It makes me feel bad. I’m just not going to do it. That’s an okay points of view. That’s an okay attitude. Obviously, though, as everybody said, what’s not okay is just opting out of being a responsible communicator. And I will say that my partner, who is not a man but still doesn’t do social media except Instagram because she’s an artist, but she still, however, is much. Better communication than I am because she, like, keeps in touch with friends and family and even like uses the telephone, which I can barely even imagine.
S8: And so it’s it’s like, let’s not even for once, amazingly, let’s not even blame the social media, not by social media, I think is maybe cynical. It’s about just being responsible and doing your bit. So you don’t have to be on Instagram. You don’t have to be on Facebook. But you do have to communicate or just not push the work off on someone else without at least having a conversation about that.
S6: I think you raise a good point, because there’s also the fact that, you know, Facebook, Twitter. I don’t know about Tick-Tock, but, you know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. These are companies that are making money off of people participating in them. And, you know, trawling for data off of them and engaging in a possibly definitely unethical behavior in terms of allowing foreign adversaries to influence the political process. And, you know, generally poisoning the discourse. So so, yeah, maybe maybe there’s a principled stance to be taken in terms of opting out of social media or a stance, just like you said, June, that, you know, is I’m going to protect my mental health by not engaging in these platforms. But in that case, I think if one person is still doing the bulk of the family communication labor, you the person who’s not on social media has an obligation to tell those family members, hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve been communicating through my wife or my girlfriend. I miss actually talking to you. Can you text me instead?
S16: I mean, the other part of this, that that you know, the question you didn’t ask about, but I have heard that these days a lot of really important business that is not optional, like things like what schools are doing and what, you know, how volunteer, you know, compulsory volunteering opportunities are communicated about happens on Facebook. So I think that that’s another aspect that often these these social media things are not actually social media. They’re no, you know, the way that schools communicate or the way that, I don’t know, other entities communicate. So as much as I would like to think of all this is being optional, I know that for a lot of people it actually is not, because that’s how your school tells you. But what you need to do for your kids. So if you’re not on there, you’re not getting that information.
S6: I love the idea of a compulsory volunteering opportunity. It sounds really threatening. I believe they all are. As our Slate Plus members know, usually we assign each is sexist question a one to 10 rating from not sexist at all to most sexist thing on the planet. This week we’re not doing that for each question because it would take us forever. So we’re just gonna give it a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. Does that work?
S5: It totally does, because, you know, typically we’re super scientific.
S17: But the statement, right.
S6: I mean, that’s not to say that our judgments are any any less infallible. You know, absolutely not. These are still binding decisions. It’s just a pass fail rather than a numerical grade. OK. So husbands or male partners not having social media accounts. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Is it sexist?
S10: Thumbs up? Sexist? Yes. Sexist. Thumbs up. Thumbs up. Sexist.
S6: Same. All right. This is a unanimously sexist. Husbands and male partners get the to Facebook. I feel terrible saying that.
S7: All right. Our next question. This one truly sent me in to an Internet worm hole. It came from the phone. Let’s listen.
S18: Hi. This message is for the wave. Is it sexist that men take longer to go hope than women? This is a scientifically proven fact. If you ask me five or ten or fifteen women who are married to men about this, they will tell you, yes. My husband takes 25, 30 minute. Do number two and I take two to five minutes. These men, they disappear upstairs with their iPhones and their laptops sometimes and hang out up there for half an hour.
S19: When women have to go number two, they go into the bathroom. They take your business. They come out and get on with the day. So that’s my question. It’s in Texas. Men take longer to wait to hear your answers by.
S5: I just have to jump in here to say I think it’s very interesting that this is question number two.
S17: Again, one.
S6: June, you’ve said that English folks take particular interest in questions of the bathroom and the bottom. So I’ll write first on this.
S10: We are a little obsessed with the bathroom in the bottom. I hope our best our producer Sara is nodding. She agrees with me. So, yeah, here’s the thing. I myself love, love. There is nothing really almost nothing. I’m serious about that. That makes me happier than a really long, luxurious poop just hanging out. Yeah. And that’s that was like the greatest thing about being working from home is that you can just really enjoy your bathroom time. I love it. There are few things in life that I enjoy more than a really long time in the bathroom. And that’s maybe that’s too much information.
S20: But I’m telling you, I think it’s just enough for me. So I say.
S8: You know. OK. Yeah, it’s true, it’s this is gendered because men often, you know, this is a theme of this this episode that like men often are able to kind of opt out. Like what? I don’t have kids. I don’t have that many responsibilities. I can spend twenty five minutes in the bathroom. I know a lot of women can’t, but I think I would rather work for a world in which everyone can take 25 minutes. That is my goal. I’m getzlaf 20-20-20. That’s going to be my my big my cause. It’s just to make more bathroom time for everyone. So it’s sexist if it means that you’re opting out of your responsibilities, if you’re putting emotional labor on someone else or just labor. But now, man, it’s not sexist is fantastic.
S21: So I did a little lit review and looked at some studies about bowel function and I learned some really interesting facts. So one study found that normal bowel function, that is to say, you know, regular poops, whatever that means for you, doctors usually say between 3 a day and 3 a week is normal.
S17: Today, only 3.
S6: That’s that’s the higher end. June. I don’t know. Young’s normal bowel function is enjoyed by less than half the population and younger women are especially disadvantaged. A third of women poop less often than daily and 1 percent poop once a week or less. I know it’s incredible. Another thing I learned women have you know, and this is all general. Obviously everybody is different.
S21: But in general, women tend to have wider pelvises. They have a couple more internal organs in there like the uterus. Their colons are longer and lower and men have more rigid abdominal walls that help push poop through or food through, I guess.
S6: So this all works together to make the passage of of poop more challenging for women. I am not positive that whether that means women just poop less or if it means that, you know, women are more constipated so they have to take longer on the toilet. But that information contradicts a little bit. What I’ve heard anecdotally from my colleagues who I pulled, the vast majority of whom I said that if they’re in a relationship with one man and one woman as God intended, the man takes longer to poop because he’s just hanging out in there, not because anything about his body is making him take longer to poop. And one man I work with, I’m not going to say his name said he believes in. I think this is a little bit of a generous interpretation, but it’s a little bit understandable. He thinks that men are worse at voicing their emotional needs or admitting that they need to be alone and recharge. Shutting herself in the bathroom fulfills that need without you having to say, hey, I could use a little alone time. I’m not sure where I land on the sex thing yet, but this is the information I have and I’m going to wait to hear what Marsha Nicole say before I make up my mind or this question.
S22: I’m making no statements about my own marriage, but this is what I will say.
S23: But I think that this is a wonderful example of where biology and culture meet. And so I do wonder if some of the dietary habits that men form, as in their adolescence, has an impact on their ability to cook later in life. And the reason I say this as someone who has an older brother and lots of cousins who like we’re into competitive eating with their friends for no reason. I think that some of it is about how men approach consuming foods and the havoc those foods will then deploy on their colons. So some of this, I think, is dietary. But I also think that when I think of the really feminized careers like teaching or nursing, and when women say things like I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom during the day, I think that there’s a socialization of getting in there in and out quickly because of the number of tasks that you have ahead. So I think that this is a merger of two cultural issues that I may have observed in my own life, that I don’t know if it’s sexist necessarily, but it is gendered and structural.
S24: Yes. So I definitely. Think it’s gendered.
S13: I remember when I lived with one of my ex-boyfriends. He literally took a slice of pizza into the back when you guys broke up.
S17: Unfortunately, no. I was like, oh, what are you doing? Why are you taking food into the bathroom? It’s like, I don’t know how long I’m gonna be in this leg. I’m to fully digest it. Laughs You feel pooping out a meal.
S25: And he was a very like very slim guy. So I guess that’s part of why he was so skinny. Like as soon as he was evacuating would just like put something else. I don’t know. So I do think this is gendered and I do. I agree with Marcia that women typically have not had the chance to use the bathroom thoroughly in peace. I’ve seen so many videos on Facebook, you know, moms showing whether they can even go to the bathroom. There’s a little hand under the door from their children, like, you know, as a mom, what are you doing? There was one recently I saw where the little kids was like, oh, you’re taking so long. You want some snacks and like, put some snacks under the door for the grandma. I don’t know why I’m focusing on. Was that your ex boyfriend’s kid? Yeah. Focusing on food in the bathroom. But I do think that men, you know. You know, again, to do some generalization. Men probably have such terrible diets where they’re not eating the vegetables that they should be. So maybe they’re taking longer in the bathroom.
S4: Like Marcia pointed out, I again think that they’re just kind of escaping and they get allowed that bit of peace more so than women do. But I am also kind of fascinated with going to the bathroom because I have IBS, which is irritable bowel syndrome.
S14: So I am like constantly looking for ways to make sure everything is operating the way it’s supposed to. I have a squatty potty nice one, which is like this little step stool thing that you can put in front of your feet. So it raises your knees and has everything like elevated in a certain way that helps everything just come out very easily, much more quickly. I love it’s it’s to the point now that when I go to like if I’m traveling and I’m in the hotel, I obviously can’t take my squaddie party with me. But I’ll use the hotel trashcan, the bathroom trashcan, and by Propp, my feet up that way to get some kind of elevation because it is so good, I need it. And if you know, the actual squaddie parties are like 20 bucks, if that’s too much for you, you can just go get like a little step stool or phobics, a phone, books.
S25: I don’t even know if that doesn’t matter. I still have some in my apartment, so I never clear it. Yeah.
S14: I like the little, you know, like the little step stools for kids when they’re like brushing their teeth at the sink in some or whatever. That really helps. I would encourage anybody, whatever their tender, to use that. They go to the restroom. Also, it’s really not good to say on the toilet that long because your body thinks that it’s still having to push out and they can you can end up with hemorrhoids. So if you’re doing that, if you’re sitting on the toilet for like 30 minutes an hour, stop, we’re all poop experts.
S26: So I do think this is gendered.
S14: And I guess I could say that it’s sexist.
S13: But again, I think if we know that they’re spending this time in order so that their wives or their partners can take over the responsibilities that they’re avoiding, I think that’s what’s make. That’s what makes it sexist. But this is definitely gendered behavior.
S10: Yeah, I just have to jump in here to say that I have been looking at squatty parties forever and I didn’t get one because I thought it went on the toilet seat.
S25: You know, I was like, I just come not picturing it.
S6: Somebody in my family, I forget if it was my parents or my sister, somebody got it as a gag gift. And then everyone else in the family liked using it when they visited so much that now almost everybody in the family has their own quality. Except for me. I haven’t gotten one yet, but I probably should. I will say I think everybody deserves time to unplug, relax, whether that’s in the bathroom or whether it’s not. I think if men are getting to, you know, unplug and unload on the toilet. Women should get to do the same thing elsewhere. If they don’t choose to do that in the bathroom, that’s fine. But I do think this like you do, and I think this is one of those situations where, unlike, you know, being very overly polite and enthusiastic in the workplace, where I think men could stand to be more like women instead of women, more like men. I think this is one situation where perhaps women could stand to learn from men and claim that time for themselves.
S5: I guess that’s a point very well-made. And I I just to since I overshared earlier, I will just overshare and say that I think for me. It’s a sign of, like my wife, my lifetime of bourgeois ossification because like I grew up with it. I grew up in a household with an indoor bathroom. And no, like the heights of a luxury is to be able to like spend time in a bathroom. My God, I can’t be in here. Yes. So I think that my God, it’s all about toilets. I’m telling you, man, it’s the most important room in the house. Deserve it. I know. Right.
S6: All right. This is gonna be hard. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Is it sexist? Because I agree. It’s gendered.
S8: Yeah, it is. I’m gonna say it’s gendered, but not necessarily sexist is sexist. If if people are using it actually could be men or women to avoid responsibilities. But just if if you’re free and you can, you know, and you enjoy it, go for it. So I’m going to say thumbs down. Not sexist.
S27: All right, Marsha, I’m going to give it a half-way thumbs. Now, we’re just getting back to the ten point scale. No moving of the thumbs. But I mean, everyone to eat some vegetables and consider that a strategy call.
S14: I’m going to give this a thumbs down. Not sexist, but still heavily gendered.
S6: I’m with you. Thumbs down. All right. So very gendered. Maybe a little bit sexist. Men eat your sturdy greens and or, you know, women take a phone in there every now and then.
S7: Take some time for yourself. Wow. We clearly love bathroom were around here, which we’re in luck. Our next question is also about the toilet. Let’s hear it.
S28: Hey, the always. My name is Laura in Canada and I’m just listening to the show. My question is, I used to work in a small office with only a few people and pretty much everyone except me wasn’t there. You’ll hear the bathroom and sometimes I go in and the toilet seat would be up. And I think kind of an idea. Then I catch myself and I think, OK, well, most people here, guys, it’s almost more efficient for everyone to toilet seat up because that’s a toilet seat. Most people in this office require. So my question is, is it sexist to put the toilet seat down in the majority male environment? Is it internally sexist of me to expect that? Thanks so much and have a wonderful New Year.
S6: This is a really interesting question. So the question is, is it sexist to put the toilet seat down if you’re surrounded by men? That’s kind of a new twist on the the you know, should men always put the toilet seat down question. What do you all think?
S13: I kind of think yes. I kind of. I think that it would. I think it is excessive to expect all the men in the office to cater to the one woman in this regard. I. But I do think that maybe they should if possible. Obviously, I don’t know what kind of office this was. If this is like a nonprofit situation where, you know, funds are limited. Because I you know, I would say don’t put the toilet seat down, are expected to be down. But I think that they should still also supply feminine products if possible.
S25: So I guess I’m off. Interesting that you said feminine. Oh, no. Oh, my God. Yeah, I know. And very like 1950 right now. So I. But I do.
S14: I just feel like it it kind of borders on some sort of expected chivalry that gets really messy. And, you know.
S13: You know, when it comes to like feminism and what to expect in the workplace and having these men cater to her and this particular kind of way, it feels really tricky to me. So I. But I do think that it’s a little much to expect them to cater to her and like this one particular area of the bathroom etiquette.
S8: My view of toilets is that whoever is going to use it, whether it’s from men’s toilets, women’s toilets, mixed toilets, whatever, the resting position, the proper resting position of a toilet is with the toilet seat down. And so that is what it should be. Now, this has come up before on a previous call in show with with Hannah and and Noreen. And there was there was some disagreement from listeners about this. But I don’t care. That’s what the proper position should be. And furthermore, I did some research on this. I spoke with my friend Rose George, who wrote the great book, The Big Necessity The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, which is largely about toilets. And she said that, you know, putting the seat down is polite. That’s that’s, you know, one thing, but also in a situation where there is a lid. So, you know, probably not in a in a. Workplace bathroom, because where there’s not typically hardwood. But where there is a lid, the lid should always be put down because a flush sprays droplets around the room. And if you don’t, you might get fecal particles on your toothbrush. So by extension. Toilet seat to just keep it all down. Get in the habit. Everybody put it all down.
S6: I also think the suggestion that, you know, toilet seats should be left up is pooper oration because men also need to sit down to vote. It’s mixu and who knows when they’re going into the bathroom, whether they’re going to poop or not. But I also think that the gender makeup of any given office should not. I think there needs to be one rule for everything. Yeah. Cardless of the gender makeup of, you know, who’s using the bathroom. That said, the most efficient thing to do is for every person who uses the bathroom to just leave the toilet seat. However, they used it so that it’s, you know, maybe the next person who comes in will use it in that position. Maybe they won’t. But if you change it, then you’re definitely touching the toilet seat. And I think the goal should be to have as few people touching the toilet seat as possible because it’s disgusting. And I will say objectively, the view of the toilet with a toilet seat up is always grosser. There’s always something disgusting on the rim of the toilet. I’m sorry to people who have to look at it like that, but I think so. Basically, I’m of three minds.
S17: I’m not sure what I think.
S6: But no, I don’t think it’s sexist for this person to put the toilet seat down in the majority male environment. Marcia, what do you think?
S29: I would prefer the one work community so women can just use their best conversation with their squaddie party. But I do believe that the proper way that God intended toilets to be is with it fully lifted and perhaps some crime scene tape over it. Kids re done every time someone uses it. I don’t think it is an unreasonable expectation that a toilet seat is down in an office. I think that’s just proper form and that it is not sexist to not want to see a toilet seat up because I find it vile.
S6: OK, so the question, is it sexist to put the toilet seat down in a majority male environment? And is it sexist for the listener to expect that it should be down?
S11: I’m going to say now, thumbs-down.
S8: I agree. It is not sexist to put the toilet seats down, so not sexist toilet seat down. I also think that you’ve made a very good point, Christina, about the fact that, you know, rare that that even men’s bathrooms are mixed use in terms of when you’re like actually, you know, using a toilet so that it’s just like. Again, I just want to reiterate, everyone put the seat down. That’s that’s the rule. Just be considerate. It’s not about like efficiency’s. Interesting, but come on, put it down.
S13: I’m still going to say it’s sexist. I will be the lone. I don’t know. Bathroom.
S25: Whatever. I don’t even know what I would be in the situation. I’d still think it’s it’s sexist to expect that. Although I do understand the point about no one wants to touch a toilet seat, and I can only imagine how filthy the toilet seat is in a majority male office.
S13: And just like having to use that bathroom period is just going to be awful. So but I still think that I don’t know. I think the expectations are unrealistic here in this scenario.
S6: So thumbs up. It’s sexist. Maybe our Ennahdha men are more considered in the bathroom. Who knows? Maybe. What do you think, Marsha?
S30: Thumbs down. Not sexist. I’m going to counter my perspective from the last segment and maybe encourage everyone to be constipated and not use the bathroom at work.
S7: Let’s save all of your long, luxurious poops for home. Just kenning go in. You need to go. OK. Great question. So happy we got the chance to answer that. One time for our next one.
S31: Hi. So it’s sexist when husbands NATO’s self deprecating. So humble. Jokes about how the wife outranks him in the home or comments like my wife overrules me all the time or my wife puts me in my place. And there is an issue convey respect for the wife, but they come off like. Of course, he is a lower authority, he does. It’s funny when I talk about her as having greater authority and also places that bagging life kind of narrative. However, I found myself sometimes using those jokes to refer to my husband. I’m gay and I have a husband. It is sexist that I use those jokes to describe my husband.
S6: So happy to have this question because I love the questions that force queer people and gay people to think about how, like heteros narratives and jokes made for heterosexual people apply to us. So I’m going to go first on this one. I do think those jokes are sexist because, you know, as our listener puts very nicely, it only works as a joke because it’s playing on the idea that, you know, women aren’t in charge. Men have the final word. So if you’re saying like, oh, ha ha, she really wears the pants here, you’re kind of joking that she doesn’t. And that’s why it’s funny. However, I do think this is one of those things that gay people get to opt out of the sexism of, you know, the sexism of heterosexual relationship narratives don’t have to apply to us unless you are calling your husband, your wife and joking that he’s the subservient woman, which I do think, you know, some gay men sometimes do, you know, refer to themselves and and other gay men as using female pronouns and are using she pronouns just as a joking in a joking way, like sometimes that can veer into sexism.
S15: But I think there’s a way that remaking these kind of hetero marriage jokes in our own image can be subversive. You know, there’s also the possibility that if it’s the more masculine partner constantly demeaning, a more feminine partner in this relationship and this sort of like isn’t a cute that he thinks he’s in charge kind of a way that can be, I guess, sexist in its own way, unless it’s consensual or unless that’s your kink. But I’m going to say generally, no, it’s not sexist.
S5: I all I have to say in that is I agree with you a hundred percent, Christina, that that represents my views also. Mm hmm. You’re welcome.
S6: Nicole Marcia, do your thoughts. And I just want to say you’re allowed to disagree with us even though you’re not gay.
S17: So you want to open that possibility.
S32: I think that. It is still sexist because it rests on something that isn’t just sexist, in my view, but also undermines the strength of relationships.
S33: So this kind of like who’s the boss in this relationship, I think is one toxic idea that hurts all relationships because it orients her thinking into power and control is the ultimate prize in the kind of mutual understanding between people. And so while I think it’s important to hack sexism and hack hetero sexism in various communities, I do wonder if that kind of dynamic is always read through a lens of women in men’s romantic relationships. And so it can never be as subversive as desired. And more importantly, though, I think anytime we fall into these narratives of like what relationships are or aren’t. I think it hurts all of our relationships because it creates a set of expectations of what dynamics should be versus the dynamics that we discover.
S17: Welcome to your TED Talk. Middle age, everyone. Thank you for joining me, Nicole. Yeah.
S4: So I do think that it’s still sexist. And my feeling was that if it even though this the caller is referring to his husband that way, I think it’s still kind of playing into this really outdated notion of or which one is the husband on, which one is the wife kind of thing. I mean, obviously, I I don’t know the relationship. And like you say, Kristina, who maybe is it there’s like more masculine or more feminine kind of dynamic going on here, whatever. I don’t know. But that was my first thought. And that I felt like that was perhaps not as subversive as it could be. So I do find this sexist. The scenario is sexist because, yes, it’s playing on the idea that when it’s a husband talking about his wife, obviously it’s like, well, she has no power anywhere else. So I’m going to give her the power in the home, that kind of thing. And so, again, I don’t know the dynamic here with the caller, but that was my first instinct to be like, well, yeah, it’s still sexist. Like just because, you know, it’s, you know, two men doesn’t mean that they’re still not a power dynamic that’s happening some kind of way. Like if his husband is a stay at home husband, a stay at home dad or whatever. And maybe the caller is a person that goes out and is, you know, has a 9 to 5 job or is the breadwinner that could being strange, you know. So I guess I because I don’t know too much about it. I’m hesitant to say no. It’s fine that, you know, they’re playing with these hetero normative ideas. So I’m still going to stick with my instinct and say that it’s sexist because it just doesn’t seem to it doesn’t really seem to uplift the partner in any way. You know, it’s just kind of like, yeah, this is the only thing that you have right now is this power, this domestic power. And that’s it.
S25: Which is still good. That’s still out, you know. Not to downplay. Yeah, but how is that sexist?
S6: It might be. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but I I I can see how it could be, you know, a bad relationship, dynamic or demeaning or something. But I don’t know that it can be sexist if it’s between two men.
S16: I could see that there’s a possibility of potential for it to be so if it’s not self-conscious role playing, but rather that the partner that one partner is doing exactly the same thing to his male partner that a male partner would do to his female partner like it. You can still replay those dynamics and they would still be sexist dynamics even if both were men like that. That makes sense to me. For me, like so much of this is in the tone. And I think the fact that this caller so accurately and so astutely sort of defined the nature of why that particular kind of you know what, sometimes people think they’re like being right on and like, dude, you’re not like the fact that he’s so clearly understands why that kind of banter is sexist makes me think that in in the own religion, he doesn’t mention whether his husband does it to him, too. Like, I think the awareness means that for these people it’s almost certainly not sexist. But I take your point, Nicole, that like. And Marcia, that if someone hears this, like, you know, maybe in this relationship, everybody’s read it and everybody gets all the significance and the phrasing of these. Kind of language in this kind of interplay. But what if somebody else overhears it and thinks, oh, look at that, like that’s happening with them too?
S34: So, yeah, it depends on the tone.
S16: It depends on the relationship. It depends on the circumstances. But I think it doesn’t necessarily have to be. And I get the feeling that it isn’t in this particular case.
S13: Yeah. So maybe it’s not sexist in this specific scenario. But I do feel like that there is some sort of, I don’t know, inherited bias when I say inherited it, just like there’s still dislike.
S4: I don’t know legacy by legacy bias wrapped around it. But so OK. So maybe technically it is not sexist. But there’s still something that obviously the caller feels this way. There’s still something that’s like off kilter about it. So, yeah. So technically, no, it’s not sexist. I will I will give it a thumbs down. But maybe the person the caller needs to kind of keep pushing at that kind of pulling it back and examining, you know, his own discomfort with it.
S6: Mm hmm. Interesting. I also wonder if it’s the caller’s husband who might have brought this up. Interesting. But yeah, I think this is a really great question. I’m still going to say thumbs down. No, not sexist.
S32: Me too. I will say thumbs up sexist with the caveat that the listener seems really cool.
S30: I’d love to have this husband over for dinner to talk more about this. So that’s Roland.
S24: Nicole. Yeah. OK. So I’ve been convinced thumbs-down not sexist, but like got like, I don’t know, a middle finger kind of also maybe raised a little bit about.
S26: What’s that?
S6: All right. Thank you for that question. Our next one is particularly juicy and possibly dramatic. Let’s hear it.
S35: I am wondering, is it sexist that any man is running for the 2020 presidential election? If any of those Democratic men really cared about equality when they realized there’s never been a female V.P. or a female president? Shouldn’t they just get on board with supporting the qualified female candidates that are in the race? Thanks.
S6: This is a question that I’ve thought about a lot this campaign cycle, so thank you to this listener for laying it out there. Who wants to go first on this?
S5: My answer is very short. It’s just yes. Wow. Really? Yeah. Can you say a little bit more about that? Well, I mean, I think that the questioner put it very well.
S16: If you believe you know that it’s necessary, that is would be good for the nation, that it would be good for the world if after what are we on know two hundred and thirty, forty years of of having presidents, we should have a woman president and that there are multiple in this case qualified female candidates.
S34: What do you do and what do you do and why you stirring things up? No, actually, though, I will qualify that. I only really feel that way about the white men. Like, OK. We’ve had one black president, but you know, if we could do with another. So like, I don’t feel that way about Corey Booker. I don’t feel that way about Julian Castro. But I. All those white men, like, get the hell off the stage.
S36: Like, it’s it’s not time for you right now that you’ve had you you’ve had your time.
S4: OK. Before I get to trying to figure out if it’s sexist, I again feel some kind of way that the only way we would have a female president is if a man allowed it to happen.
S14: Kind of, you know, if if a woman was the only choice, you know, or just, you know, giving somebody, you know, I stepped aside so that you could move forward, you know, and then, you know, these men, these male candidates would get their boost from that, like.
S4: So I feel I don’t know. I don’t necessarily like that scenario.
S25: I don’t think they should do it in public. I just think they should. We’ll see. They how would they get credit for it? Right. You know, they’re definitely going to definitely going to say, I stepped aside. So, you know, whatever.
S24: So I don’t I think it.
S4: I don’t know how to answer this question, actually. Because I feel like even if we even if that happens, we’re all the men. We’re like, you know what? I’m I’m going to recuse myself or whatever and allow Elizabeth Warren to, you know, get into the White House. Again, there’s just I feel like that would be so much weight on allow. And, you know, whatever that excuse me, it would really just kind of, I don’t know, not taint, but there would be like a little shadow over the win if that happened. So I don’t know that I would want this scenario to happen at all. I think the you know, if the male candidates are going to step aside, they just step aside because they’re they suck and they you know, they’re just in it because they have the money.
S13: They’re just trying to, like boost their reputation in some way that their professional career or whatever. So I don’t know that I want to say that this is sexist for men to be running. I’m going to keep thinking about him.
S3: I’m going to channel like 12 years of Catholic school and say that freedom is not license, meaning that just because you can run for president doesn’t mean you should.
S37: And I think at the heart of this question is how do these men who are running for president, who have limited experience, their inability to see themselves as less than or their inability to connect to a critical mass of voters. There’s just so many people in this race who just aren’t good. And I think the way that the lack of self-awareness is linked to sexism is their inability to compare themselves to women. And be honest in their assessment is, I think, at the heart of this question. So I think there’s something really valuable in that question. And so I do think it’s sexist.
S6: I completely agree with that point, Marcia, that a lot of the unqualified men are there because of sexism. But as much as I want to say yes to this question, I don’t think I can just because I don’t think that we need to put having a female president above everything else. There are definitely a few women in this race that I would be cool with as president and certainly who are more than competent to serve as president. But I I I think that there are a lot of men in the race who are great and who are bringing up important issues. Julian Castro on the poor and on immigration. Cory Booker with his baby Bonds. Jay Inslee with climate change. Bernie Sanders has pushed the party left. And there are also women and men across the ideological spectrum who represent a variety of races and ethnicities and sexual orientations and religions who also haven’t had representation in the office of the president yet. Like June said, you know, we have had very little representation of anything in the presidency. So I I think that there are you know, not everybody prioritizes gender identity when they’re thinking about representation. And I think a lot of people. Think that there are some men in the race who would make life better for women than some of the women in the race. As for vice president. Yes, they have to pick a woman. Any man who gets the nomination has to pick a woman if they want to lead the Democratic Party, which is majority women and driven by women’s activism at this point in, you know, and has been throughout history. But especially in this moment, it’s unconscionable not to have a woman on the ticket. And, you know, a gender equal cabinet and what have you. So I will say that there there has to be a woman vice president if there’s a male nominee.
S8: People have made very good points. I will just say that when Mike Bloomberg or even Bill de Blasio, who is married to a black woman and has a black family, got into the race.
S20: I just thought, what the hell are you thinking? Why? Why do we do not need to? We do not need to in this race.
S5: And I agree. Of course, it’s not just a woman, but when there are very qualified women and a range of them, just get off there, get out of it. I don’t. Whenever I watch one of these debates and I agree, Christine, I like Jay Inslee. Sure. He was making good points. But like, I don’t need it right now. I just want some. I mean, and of course, it’s the marginal men that really get on my nerves who like, you know, they’re just so sure that they’re entitled to be up there like just Booker all or Joe Biden, who doesn’t seem like he’s able to string together three sentences anymore. Don’t step in.
S6: You know, women are supporting by pretty wide margins. All right. I guess we’ll do a thumbs up, thumbs down on this question that we can make a whole episode out of. I’m going to say the male ego is sexist.
S11: That, but the fact that men are running is not thumbs-down. I’d agree with that. I would. I I yes. Ditto.
S4: Yes. Same thumbs-down. It’s not sexist.
S38: You know what? You’ve convinced me. Thumbs down, but face palm for the state of democracy.
S6: We agreed we’d we’d lost Marshall on the line. So we’re gonna have to finish this episode with just the three of us. Do you think we can handle it? I think so. We’ll make do. All right. Let’s get to our next question.
S39: My 4 year old daughter, she likes dresses and sparkle among hundreds of other things. And I’ve overheard my husband describe her to other people as a real girly girl. Is it sexist? Thank you so much.
S6: In the course of thinking about this question, I convinced myself, I think that it’s not sexist. I started out thinking 100 percent. I’m so sorry your husband does this. It might be worth talking to him about this, but now I’m not so sure because I know that it’s it’s okay to say that things that are stereotypically feminine are stereotypically feminine. You know, we have the words feminine and masculine for a reason. And they do signify things and people are allowed to identify with those things. But I will say, when kids are involved, it can be more complicated and we should be more careful because their identities and their relationships to those identities and to their gendered expectations are still evolving. So I I also wonder about the context in which he’s commenting on the sort of gendered nature of her preferences. What do you guys think?
S13: My first instinct was to say it is sexist because I know when I was younger, my older sister was the quote unquote, girly girl. And then I came along and people were like, well, she doesn’t like the dresses, you know. You know, my sister loves makeup and all that kind of stuff. She’s very feminine in that regard.
S14: But for me, because I did not express my femininity the same way it caused such a confusion in my family about like Hoole, what’s happening with Nicole.
S13: So I I kind of, you know, for the sake of the daughter of the caller, I wish that the father wouldn’t do that because it does kind of, you know, and the expectations of what that mean can be a problem. And if the daughter was anything like me, she made, you know, just purposely try to push back on that, even though, yes, she really does like the dresses and stuff like that. Maybe she just doesn’t want to be considered a girly girl. And the pressure that comes with that, like when she gets older and realizes the pressure that comes with that, maybe she’ll resent that. So I I do think that it is. It’s again, I guess, you know, we’ll keep using this, but it’s, again, very gendered behavior. Are expectations of a gendered behavior for this little girl and maybe that, you know, the father should stop. But I don’t know if it’s sexist right now without more context.
S5: Yeah, funnily enough, I think I went on the opposite journey from you guys. I came in thinking, I don’t know, this is sexist.
S8: I’ve heard so many friends who are very writes on and who are like taken all the steps to raise their daughters in a very sort of un- gendered way or avoiding those gendered girly stereotypes. And then every single time. But so often you hear it’s just really into princesses and sparkles. And I you know, it’s what they want and what, you know, I sort I I’m so familiar with that story that I felt, you know, it’s just something that happens. And it would be wrong to push too hard against that because, you know, as someone who always, like, was not doing the gender presentation that, like adults wanted, I know that can be really uncomfortable and really hard. And it makes you feel very awkward. So I don’t want that to be run any kind of gender situation to be like focusing on this thing, which is just not relevant when you’re a kid. Just who cares. But there’s something in this question where the caller says of her daughter she likes dresses and sparkles among hundreds of other things. So as you guys have said, like I do think. I don’t know. I don’t it feels ridiculous to say. I think somebody should talk to this guy just father, because that sounds so condescending. But it does seem like it’s very reductive of all the things that this child is interested in, too. For that to be the one that is kind of glommed on to feels like I don’t know if it’s harmful. I don’t know if it’s dangerous. But it just feels like, you know, maybe maybe just kind of mix it up, even call her a girly girl once, put cholerae, you know, whatever the other interests are.
S13: I wonder if he is saying this because he’s proud. And then that becomes strange. You know, like, why are you so proud that she is a princess? You know, what does that mean for you? So I think, you know, that we would need to exist.
S25: I mean, not to do a therapy session in person.
S13: But again, it’s just kind of like, you know, trying to get to the heart of the matter. If this is sexist, I’m going to say no. But again, maybe there is something starting to, you know, get into the land of sexist.
S6: Mm hmm. I think I’ve gone back to the. Yes, it’s sex. That’s because the you know, we we can use a term like Manly Man and everyone knows what that means. And I feel like now that term is sort of used as a joke to, you know, make fun of a man who’s. So who has 25 planted agents in his.
S40: But for a child, I don’t think it’s necessary to. And I think it’s harmful to associate girls penis in the quality of girlhood with certain, you know, stereotypically feminine things. And I agree with you, Nicole, that it does seem like there’s a way that people can say this. That is like, oh, I’m proud of my child for being gender typical. So, yes, I’m going to say that it’s sexist. And I hope that this segment encourages the person who sent this question in to feel empowered to talk to her husband about this or just, you know, maybe they’ve already talked about it. And she can play this segment as a way to back her opponent.
S8: Yes. Thumbs up. It’s sexist. And yeah, I just hope that there can be like conversation with the husband, like with other. I think this is not that unusual.
S16: This is not like a rare occurrence or a rare thing for parents to kind of take pride in. And it’s really it shouldn’t be OK.
S25: So, yes, I’m going to amend mine because I keep waffling. Right.
S13: Because I like I’m again, my first instinct was yes. So I guess I’m going to stick with my first instinct and give it a thumbs up. Yes, it’s sexist. And you know, we have a talk.
S6: Yeah. All right. This is a unanimously sexist occurrence, calling a kid a girly girl who likes hundreds of things. OK. Perhaps it’s weird that we’ve decided that thumb’s up is sexism.
S17: Like good for sexism? Sexist.
S6: Yes, it’s sexist. Three thumbs up for sexism. Yeah. We should have thought about that before setting up that system. Our next question came from e-mail. So I’m going to narrate. I work at a nonprofit and we often have female clients who come in and need basic clothing and hygiene products, including bras, underwear, tampons and pads. Both my boss and one of my supervises are uncomfortable using those words. For example, my supervisor, you will come into my office and say that a client needs unmentionables or sanitary products. I will respond by saying that bras and underwear are in fact mentionable and he will need to mention what his clients need before I can give it to them. My approach is somewhat less confrontational with my boss. More along the lines of playing dumb when he asks for hygiene products until he says tampon or pad is the fact that they’re uncomfortable using basic nouns sexist? Or am I being an asshole by doing something I know makes them uncomfortable? P.S. If this thirst any additional light on the situation. My boss also repeatedly mentioned that he grew up with three sisters, but they never talked about quote unquote all of that. This is hilarious. I love the subtle resistance that this listener is staging in her workplace.
S14: I do think that the listener is being an asshole, but is a justified asshole. Oh, because you should be these grown men should be able to say, even though I used feminine products earlier. Grown men to be able to express what their clients need, particularly as their their needs are different. And you don’t know what all you know what all they need.
S4: I remember one time I was at a hotel and I got my period suddenly and there was no like drugstore nearby. And by the time I got it, it was very late. So it was just it would’ve been too much to try to find a store. So I called down to the front desk because it was a very fancy hotel. Right. And I called down to the front desk and I said, do you have any feminine products? Right. And the man it was a man who answered the phone.
S25: He sent up one tampon and two makeup remover wipes as if you could put those in your underwear.
S17: You do not like feminine products meant. I did, too. I just was like, thank you.
S25: You know, like I and I just kind of, you know, tampon. Yeah. I just had to use a whole lot of toilets issue. So the morning when I could go out and get something. But anyway, so men should be able to say, you know, whatever words they need to say, because it’s just because you say tampon doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a period. Like, I don’t know what the fear is. You know that for a fact. Nicole? No. You know what? I don’t.
S6: I am curious whether the nonprofit has any male clients and whether they ever need underwear and what words the supervisor and boss use to describe those products. I mean, these these words aren’t even talking about parts of the human body. It’s not like, you know, oh, we need like a vagina cover or like a tits sling or something. It’s like. Had tampon like. And even if those were the acceptable words to use to describe those products, if that if your job includes talking about those products, you should be able to say it. It also, you know, if one of the clients heard the men talking about their needs this way, it could possibly make them feel, you know, shame, ashamed about their bodies and their need. Yeah. On the other hand, maybe the women are embarrassed asking for these products. And so they say feminine products. I’m not sure, but my instinct says yes, sexist. Yeah.
S16: I think that shame, which you just mentioned is really relevant here, Christina, because I think in a non-profit situation, the specifics of the situation. It sounds like these are people who just need access to these things in order to take part in society. And we know that it is it can be very hard if you do not have money to find ways of getting these very essential things. And in certainly in the developing world, women don’t get to take part in society. Girls don’t get to go to school because they don’t have tampons and pads. Like I don’t think we’re at that stage here. But like, these are not just like things that can be you know, there are optional. These are really necessary things. And so it’s very important just from a like a messaging point of view as well as. This service is really needed for them, not for this to not to be any sense of shame around these things.
S8: No, I do not saying that. It is weird. I don’t know why, but I do find it slightly embarrassing to talk about these things. For example, sometimes I watch YouTube videos, as you know, unlike when people are just like showing they’re there. They’re like their calendars. We will say, oh, I use this page to track my cycling. I’m I. Oh, my God, you’re showing that like. So I certainly have those those like innate responses, which I think is ridiculous. There is nothing shameful about this. There is nothing embarrassing about this. However, I accept that many of us are not accepting myself. Do like it’s a little. It shouldn’t be, but it is. But the only way it cannot be.
S16: And it shouldn’t be is just to, as you said, Nicole, not be an asshole. You. Your boss needs you to be an asshole. It’s really necessary in this situation. They’re being sexist and they need correcting.
S6: And especially if you’re working in the provision of social rights, it’s incumbent upon you to make people feel as comfortable and shamed as possible. Exactly. All right. I think we all agree. Yes. This is sexist. Good on you, listener, for what you’re doing in your workplace. Now, we’re just going to wrap up with our recommendations before our Slate Plus bonus segment. Nicole, what do you have?
S13: I have a collection of short stories by Karen Russell, and it’s called Orange World and other stories and the stories. They’re not scary, but they’re definitely a little creepy sometimes. Like one example is called Ball Girl or Romance. And this 15 year old boy falls in love with this. I think it’s like a 2000 year old body that he pulls from a bog. And then there’s another story called the prospector’s, where these two young women at the around the Great Depression, they get stuck at this lodge that is filled with ghosts. And they are trying to figure out how to get off of the lodge because they had to go up a ski lift to get to it. It’s in Oregon and they get stuck anyway. So it’s not I wouldn’t say scary, but it gives just kind of like this creepy. There’s some menace involved. But Karen Russell is really good. She writes a lot of kind of like Southern Gothic, creepy, haunting story stuff. And sometimes they’re funny, but in a weird way. But she has a also a really great way with language like in the story with a girl stuck on a ghost mountain. They talk about how they were stealing from people and Karen says their fingers spidering through wallets. And I just really love that image. So she’s a really good writer. The book is called Orange Worlds and Other Stories by Karen Russell. Marcia, what do you have?
S3: So my recommendation this week as the best thing I discovered as of late is a streaming television service called Pluto TV.
S41: Pluto is this strange amalgamation of networks that can be as specific as American Gladiators television or her, a network that only shows Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. There’s also old television shows from MTV, including Cribs from the early 2000s. And it’s this strange assortment of everything I watched at the beginning of the 21st century. And it’s fantastic and it is the perfect way to waste. A lot of times, so I highly recommend old wedding TV shows and dating shows before The Bachelor and everything in between. On Pluto TV.
S5: What a great recommendation. Wow. Love to hear about the entire streaming service I’ve never even heard of. All right. Thanks, Marcia. Jen, what about you? I just want to talk about the two books that really stood out for me in twenty nineteen. I saw it in twenty eighteen. I’d been having a hard time reading.
S36: I dislike the thing that I’d done my whole life. I just kind of wasn’t. I just wasn’t reading books. I just was like reading I don’t know like one book a month or less. It just couldn’t. I just lost my mojo. But twenty nineteen I read a lot of really great things. And to the out one nonfiction, one fiction was in the nonfiction category Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe about the troubles in Ireland which you know, I lived through from a distance I should say. I was certainly not in Ireland, but like I was alive and conscious and watching the news when those things happened. And I just thought he captured the vibe as well as the history really well. And it’s just a great book and it’s just kind of shocking is shocking to realize the kind of the extent the just the the profundity of the destruction that happened in the Troubles. And then as a work of fiction, another book by a man, Middle England, by Jonathan Coe, who’s a writer I’d been reading for a long time. But this one is really about England and what the hell led to Brexit and ultimately what the hell led to the election a couple of weeks ago in Britain. But he’s also a wonderful writer. He really sets up characters, some of whom appear through a number of his books over a long period. And that’s great. And just I’m just going to throw in one more, because why not?
S8: Speaking of Northern Ireland, I just love Derry girls. You know, whenever people talk about, oh, British shows, why were only there were more more episodes? Usually I’m like, no, it’s fine. They were good. You know, let’s just make a few good ones. But Dairy Girls is the one where I’m like, there’s only six. And I’ve watched them and I feel like it’s a sit down, stop play.
S36: And then ten minutes later, I was like, okay, you got to wait another year for more. If there are gonna be any more. So dairy girls on Netflix is just amazing. And it’s also set in Northern Ireland a little later than the period of of say nothing.
S40: Thank you, Jane. I’m going to recommend I try not to do this too often, but I’m going to recommend something from Slate. It is called lockdown. It is my business, an audio project that Slate released in late December featuring interviews with kids of all ages from all over the country about their school shooting drills that they have to go through, which, you know, it’s hard to find new ways to talk about the horrors of school shootings and mass shootings and the situation with guns in this country. And I think this project did it really well. And in an extremely clarifying and sort of brutal, you know, grab you by the lapels kind of a way just to hear these kids speak in their own voices about their different responses to having to go through these shooter drills in their schools. Some of them, you know, are having panic attacks.
S6: Some of them sort of joke through it.
S40: But when I think about, you know, gun control and the lack thereof in this country and the sort of political impasse that we’re at, I think a lot about the people who have died or who have been injured in mass shootings. And this project really illustrated for me the whole sort of secondary culture that is rising along with that, that it’s not just about the sort of human toll from people who have survived these shootings, but also the way kids are forced to grapple with this and the culture that these mass shootings have created in schools. And and and what kind of a country are we when we are asking kids to practice? You know, I’m a I’m a seven year old that my teachers asking me to find the heaviest thing in the room that I could possibly throw at a school shooter. It’s called lockdown. You can find it in your podcast app on the Slate PRESENTS Feed. It’s also there are transcripts available on slate.com.
S36: I just want to jump in here to say that lots of people worked on this project, including two reporters and the deputy editor of The Trace who we worked with on this project. But Sara burning him, it was prison who is producing this episode, really did an amazing job working on this project. And she really put that together. There were a lot of interviews. And Sara did an a fantastic job of really having to listen to kids being talk about the trauma. And it just sounds amazing the this of the editing in terms of the selection and. Making it all sound really good. It’s all done to Sara. So welcome, Sara.
S6: Thank you. Hello, Slate Plus listeners. We have a very special. Is it sexist? Segment for you, Slate Plus listeners. Here is the listener question that inspired it.
S42: Dear the waves. I’m wondering, is it sexist to call someone a douche or a douchebag? I have pretty much eliminated gendered language from my vocabulary, but this one is proving really hard to give up. It has no good replacement. Men who are douches are not just jerks or just clueless or just inconsiderate or just entitled, but a potent combination of all of the above. Is this word, as some people have argued, are one slur against the straight white man? Or is it sexist?
S4: This is a good question because I’ve tried to eliminate some gendered insults as well. You know, like when I. We can’t curse, right? Or we can. You know, like when I’m calling somebody a bitch and I mean, like in a weak way, you know, and I’m like, do I really want to say that? You know, I try to like, stop that. I’m also thinking about sometimes when I’m like, get this impulse, then I want to tell somebody, you know what, suck my dick.
S25: You know, I’m like, oh, that’s not a bad thing if you’re like. So why do we make that turn this in an insult? So things like that.
S14: I’ve been trying to monitor for myself. So this question really interests me because I do think calling someone a douchebag is sexist, because what you’re saying is you’re a product that women use, therefore you’re bad, therefore you’re awful. Also, this product that women use goes in the vagina, therefore it’s vagina related. Therefore it’s awful like it’s all over everything. So I do think it’s sexist. The idea that a douchebag only applies to straight white men is very new to me. This is my first time here. I just thought a douche bag is just a terrible person as being awful. So but there are plenty of other things that you can call straight white men.
S25: Even just calling them a straight white man sometimes gets them, you know, in some kind of temper tantrum. So yes. Sure. Literally just say yeah. So I do think it is sexist, but there are plenty other imaginative things that you can come up with to call a straight white man.
S13: If that is your sole purpose in using Douchbag.
S8: Agree with everything you’ve just said, Nicco. However, the truth is that some words are just funny words and douche and douchebag is one of those words. And so I get why people use it. I get why I use it. Like you see someone sometimes. Do you like what a fucking douche? And like nothing else communicates that as effectively. However, it’s sexist. It is totally gendered. It’s it’s you know, we all know all of us. We all know it’s not coming from a good place. So I have another suggestion. Another funny word that we can use, like let’s just adopt this scrote and scrotum. That’s a funny word. And like it.
S6: Yeah, it did disagree so strongly, Darius. I have the exact opposite. I think scrote is terrible because I don’t think we should be insulting people with words used to describe people’s bodies. I think that’s it. It is often sexist. You know, I think Dick is is maybe fine because I think it’s because escaped his body part. Exactly. It means many things at this point. But in general, I don’t think we should be using people’s body parts to insult other people.
S20: And I think douche is fine because doing is bad for you. It upsets the virginal microbiome.
S6: And, you know, it’s it’s not about women in particular. It’s not like pussy, it’s not like bitch, which describes actual women’s bodies and identities. It is an unnecessary product that was made to fix something about women’s bodies that doesn’t need to be fixed.
S40: And it was marketed by making women feel bad about their bodies. So I think it’s fine to call some buddy a douche because I think we also need to associate douches with bad things so that women realize they don’t need to ask a question.
S5: I know nothing about the human body is really very mysterious to me, but aren’t douches always unnecessary? I mean, isn’t it just sometimes a way of like taking in some some some ability to like. I don’t know. Rinse. I don’t mean rinse your but like like I know I’ve I’ve I’ve used them to to find relief at times like not to not to like perfume my bits but like justice to just to clear things out a little. It’s likely in my younger days.
S6: That’s a good question. I have always heard that doing is never necessary. And if there’s something that needs to be fixed like an infection or, you know, an upset in the microbiome, there are other ways to do that. Like suppositories and pills and creams and and and rinse. Out with a douche is never quite so sorry. Although it might, you know, feel good.
S10: It is also one of the trickiest things to do.
S43: I think the points.
S6: I welcome the input of someone if my information is incomplete. But I. Everything that I’ve heard from people is that doing is not necessary and actually could, you know, mess things up.
S13: Yeah, I’ve heard that. You know, if you do it sparingly. But I think a lot of women are a lot of people who used it or who douche were doing it too often. You know, they do it. Yeah. They were doing it after like penetrative sex.
S4: They were doing it after every period they were doing. You know, it’s just way too much. And it does disrupts everything. You know, in the same way that like it removes some of the good stuff as well. And then your body over produces to make up for what’s gone. And then you just end up with like yeast infection is over and over and over again.
S24: And that’s a problem. It’s also I guess we should also clarify.
S13: Well, no, we’re talking about douche. That’s specifically like vagina because you can also do anal douches yet and a butch again. If you do it too much, that’s a problem because your body then cannot regulate itself.
S9: So maybe enema would be another good enema. Yeah, everybody.
S5: Is that funny enough? I mean, it’s funny, but no, no, it’s not really as. Yeah. You’re such a fucking enema. No, I’m not feeling it.
S24: When I think of enema, I think of the Batman movie Batman with the print soundtrack and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. And he comes and he’s like, this town needs an enema.
S25: I love prints. So like, I have a lot of like different. Wow. So. Yeah. Right. I’d say it’s sexist, but, you know.
S5: I say thumbs down. Not so. I said thumbs up. Yes. Sexist.
S6: Yeah. All right. We’re split on our last question. All right. That’s our episode for this week.
S2: Thank you to the wonderful Sara Bermingham who produced this episode to Rachel Allen, our production assistant, and Rosemary Bellson, who also provided production assistance for this episode for Marcia Chatillon, Nicole Perkins and June Thomas. I’m Christina Carter Ritchie. Thanks for listening.
S44: Hold on.
S45: Hold on one second, because I think this is a hotel and I record a radio show and I just need the quietest place to do it. So this is what I’m doing. Oh, my God. I’m sorry. That’s OK.
S17: Marsha, where are you? The hotel was concerned.
S26: Are you in a conference room with the with the coat over your head to like, what’s going on? This looks like this lady with the coat over her head.
S3: And I. I forgot to tell the front desk. I’ll be doing this.
S32: I think I need to put a white flag on this course, because now they’re bringing in equipment for something in the hotel.