Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

So what exactly is a female speech?

Morris praised Bush's Katrina address as "a female speech ... a caring speech":

ALAN COLMES (co-host): Joining us now with more reaction to President Bush's speech tonight, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris. Dick, I thought that he sounded like FDR [President Franklin Delano Roosevelt], and I thought he sounded like LBJ [President Lyndon Baines Johnson]. And any liberal could have given that speech tonight.

MORRIS: I thought he sounded like a compassionate conservative, something we heard about in 2000 and haven't seen.

COLMES: Doesn't that mean liberal?

MORRIS: I thought that this speech was as important and as good a speech as any since his address to the joint session of Congress after 9-11. It was a female speech. It was a caring speech. And, you know, George Bush basically believes the federal government should do two things, fight wars and help people recover from disasters. And now he's got both on his plate.

(Dick Morris is Fox's political analyst).

I think someone needs to be reminded that gender is a social construct.

What exactly is a female speech anyway?


Anonymous Johnicholas said...

I beg you, please use the phrase "blank is a social construct" cautiously. It might be a truism inside of some disciplines, but to some people, "social construct" is fighting words.

(see wikipedia: "Connotations of "social construction" may include made-up, accidental, or arbitrary. The term is generally used to identify concepts which are taken for granted, and is frequently used in a disparaging manner, to the degree to which the user believes the concept is harmful or silly.")

For example, if imagine taking a really big piece of paper, and drawing a dot for each person presently alive, and drawing a line between two dots if that pair is fertile (could possibly have children).

You will get two big classes, loosely called "fertile females" and "fertile males", almost all fertile females connected to almost all fertile males, and a third large class of singletons, loosely called "sterile individuals". I hope you will agree with me that these classes are objective, not socially constructed.

11:23 PM

Blogger Harper said...

I am using it "cautiously" and I stand by my words.

Sex is biological. Gender is a social construct.

1:05 AM

Anonymous Johnicholas said...

I think for talking with people without college degrees, sex and gender are synonyms.

Maybe a phrase like "stereotypes of how the two sexes behave" would be more widely comprehensible. However, I do have a college degree, and so I don't have any evidence.

10:03 AM

Anonymous thelatinist said...

I think the point Harper is trying to make is that the characteristics Mr. Morris is labeling "female" (namely "caring" and "compassionate" language) are no more biologically female than is long hair and makeup. By calling this speech "female," Mr. Morris perpetuates the idea that compassion and caring are the sole domain of women (while men, by implication, are rational and hard-hearted). This idea is very much a creation of our society and not of biology, and it is a construct any caring society should wish reform.

11:22 AM

Blogger Harper said...

I understand what you're saying, Johnicholas.

And thanks, Rich! That was very well put.

12:33 PM


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