© 2016-2019 Penelope Poole

The more things change.... why "manterruptions" can't continue

June 15, 2017

I suppose it's good news that women being interrupted by men makes the headlines. Still, it disturbs me that it took a social media and late night comedy storm this week to notice when the likes of Sen. John McCain cuts off Sen. Kamala Harris (for the second time!) and David Bonderman does the same to Arianna Huffington at an Uber board meeting.

 

Bonderman  apologized and immediately resigned from the board. McCain will do neither.

 

While Bonderman was clearly making a joke that wouldn't have raised eyebrows at a cocktail party, he promptly shouldered full responsibility for his inappropriate comment. McCain appears oblivious to his poor behavior and continues to ramrod his white male privilege inappropriately.

 

In fact, Bonderman was wrong both in his etiquette and his facts. It's a myth that women speak more than men do and at work they are quieter and when they do speak they are often viewed as "shrill" or "hysterical" by insecure men.

 At the start of this administration I genuinely liked Sen. McCain. He was the only GOP member who seemed to have the cojones to express a difference of opinion with POTUS 45. In fact, I was tickled pink to sit beside him --in steerage, no less-- on a flight to Phoenix last year and exchange a few words of small talk.

 

My opinion of Sen. McCain has shifted radically since the Comey hearing, where he seemed stuck in a weird logic loop and when he first rudely interrupted Sen. Harris, who always manages to stay cool and polite, even this week in spite of frustrating and time-wasting verbal intrusions and redirects and the inarticulate "oh golly" and "um, ah..." foot-dragging by Sessions. Sen. Harris' efficiency in the use of her allotted five minutes was skewered by manterruptions (see the excellent 2015 Time article on the subject.)

 

Finally, this whole week started with an audience member calling out a male host who constantly manterrupted the only female physicist on the panel (Veronika Hubeny). I'm going to shut up now, lest I be tarred as "frenzied" with the same misogynistic brush. But let's hope this week's spotlight on inappropriate public male behavior towards females continues so that history will reflect the full spectrum of our species, instead of only the male POV.

 

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June 15, 2017

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