Weird Insults

Via the Daily Caller we have Ann Coulter:

“Chris Hayes ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Military ‘Heroes’?” Marines respond by protecting his right to menstruate,” Coulter posted on her Twitter account Sunday night.

Setting aside the Chris Hayes brouhaha (which may or may not emerge in a longer post), the following occurs:

1.  Why is being called a woman insulting in the current era?  Shouldn’t we be over that one at this point in time?  I mean, really, how childish can you get (and yes, I know it is Ann Coulter).


2.  Isn’t especially weird for a woman to use this device as it is somewhat self-diminishing.

Ah well.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Joe Carter says:

    I don’t think Coulter is necessarily calling him a woman. I think she is calling him a certain female body part.

    That’s equally childish and stupid (and typical for Coulter) but for a different reason.

  2. @Joe Carter: But isn’t it the same thing, really? Isn’t the invoking of the body part about calling a make weak?

  3. Joe Carter says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Ack. You’re putting me in a weird position of providing a semi-defense of the indefensible.

    I think it’s more childish than sexist. In the playground version of anatomy, certain body parts stand in personality traits. Think of the euphemism’s for the male member and how such terms have taken on an almost universally negative connotation that doesn’t necessary have anything to do with men. (Women are even referred to by such terms nowadays.)

    To say that the allusion is insulting to women would imply that the term is naturally connected to woman. I’m not sure that it is—at least not anymore—even thought it is a female body part. Whether it should be considered an insult to women is a different and valid question. But I think it gives the term (and Coulter) too much credit for intentionality to say that it is a direct insult to woman.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Have you ever been to New Caanan, Ct.? If not, well, let me put it this way: To refer to its denizens as blue-blooded spoiled brats would be an insult to blue-blooded spoiled brats.

    Doubling down on that phenomenon, Cornell University, although obviously top notch academically, is not exactly the school of hard knocks, and nobody would confuse Ithaca, N.Y. with Scorsese’s mean streets.

    Coulter is at this particular level of immaturity and possesses that level of tin ear syndrome largely because of her upbringing. Also, given the largely similar demographics of her core audience, it’s a good ratings driver and thus a valuable money-making tool for her.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    I think Ann is championing Transgender Rights here.

  6. @Joe Carter: Not trying to get you to defend anything 🙂

    This is actually something I have been thinking about of late. The association with calling some by two different words that rhyme with ick is to call someone a jerk (or worse) in a way that does seem (to me) to use masculinity itself as an insult. The female analog rhymes with itch, and it has become unmoored, to some degree, with femininity. However, to call someone (esp a male) a different version of wussy, however to say that said male is weak because they like a woman.

    Perhaps my interpretation is off.

    I have noted that my boys (especially the middle schooler) don’t like being called a “sissy” (but that also has connotations of being called gay, which is also considered insulting in that age cohort, especially in the deep south).

    All of this seems, it seems to me, is linked to sexuality, power, strength, and perceived hierarchy (if not patriarchy).

  7. legion says:

    (I’m not sure what triggers the filter these days, so I’m just asterisk-ing everything for this topic 🙂
    There’s a good way to find out: ask people – especially males, doubly-so young males – whether it’s worse to be called a d*ck or a p*ssy. I think you’ll find a significant tendency to consider the latter term more insulting. Ergo, it _is_ misogynistic.

    As to “why?” Well, that’s pretty obvious. The entire Republican party has become controlled by deeply fearful, insecure men. Look out across the range of both politicians and pundits… so many of them got where they are today by either inheriting either wealth or family names. They got where they are by being given status rather than earning it. And cowardice & insecurity are the key ingredients for making someone into a bullying, insulting *sshat.

  8. merl says:

    Some say that Ann Coulter is not a woman to begin with. She seems to confirm this belief every time she opens her mouth

  9. ptfe says:

    @Joe Carter: I think you’re off-base on this one. It’s one thing to call a person a |>ussy or a (unt, which compares the person to the part in question (and, by extension, its relative “ickiness”). Whereas Coulter is attempting to say that Hayes menstruates, which is to say he’s weak, presumably because only the weak menstruate.

    It’s sort of the “weak sexist” form (calling someone’s stereotypical gender traits into question) vs the “sexual reference” form (calling someone a body part, or using sexual language as an insult). So to clarify, there’s a distinction between (for example) saying Coulter has a penis and saying Coulter is a |)ick. In this case, I think she’s playing at the former rather than the latter. But it’s admittedly fuzzy…it would have been more clear-cut if she just said, “Hayes is like menses!” or “Hayes is a weak girl!”

    Of course, this is all reading too much into Ann Coulter anyway, since it involves reading any of Ann Coulter.

  10. ptfe says:

    @ptfe: “presumably because only the weak menstruate.” IOW, female = menstruation = weak, so there’s a gender stereotype in play.

  11. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @legion: Well, let’s not smoke from a crack pipe and jump the shark tank all at once. Despite what you might perceive from the Internet the likes of Ann Coulter are not representative of Republicans at large. Plus for every Mitt Romney who’s held public office under the GOP banner there are a lot of Chris Christies, Bob McDonnells, Rick Perrys, Marco Rubios, Mike Johannses, John Thunes and John Kasiches. Romney certainly inherited wealth and a legacy for a surname. The latter and their ilk certainly did not.

    Granted, Bush 43 inherited wealth and was the scion of a political dynasty, but nobody within earth’s gravitational pull would describe him as “deeply fearful” or “insecure.” At least not unless they needed to be medicated.

    In any event, as mentioned previously, Coulter is a spoiled brat and spoiled brats often say things that outside of polite company would beget a knuckle sandwich.

  12. Tillman says:

    Eh, she’s only a few more screeches from a Diane Rehm kind of pacing in everyday conversation. I can endure a few more. Soon I’ll be able to walk faster than she can talk.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: I’s probably place her more in the infanta horribila category. It’s the pundit equivalent of biting heads off chickens and done for the same reason.

    About the only thing left in her kit-bag is to call President Obama a ni-CLANG! and by the time she gets around to doing that, nobody will remember that she hasn’t said it already, considering all the other degenerate stuff she has already said.

    The problem with being a geek chicken-head-biter is that you have to keep going to larger and larger chickens.

    Coulter is already a sad excuse who will end up in the Eighth Circle of Hell, according to Dante. The sooner we forget her, the better.

  14. J-Dub says:

    I would never stoop so low as to compare Ann Coulter to a human body part. That won’t stop me from saying she has the face of a horse though.