This week, Representative Ted Yoho called his colleague in the House of Representatives, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a “fucking bitch.”
So not only have we completely thrown out the rule book on decorum in Congress (which, frankly, has been lying trampled and destroyed for some time now), but we’ve also completely disregarded any norms around how we treat our colleagues. When given the opportunity, Rep. Yoho gave a faux-pology that made it clear he doesn’t regret his actions and doesn’t respect Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.
I’m not okay with it, and you shouldn’t be either.
Not only is it degrading, unprofessional, unbefitting of the office he holds, and completely inappropriate at every level, but this kind of abusive language toward women also has a clear purpose and impact: It distracts.
Instead of being able to get through her workweek as planned, AOC has now had to spend her time thinking and talking about the fact that her colleague called her a “fucking bitch” in front of the entire country.
We already know that there are so many more things on a woman’s plate that exist to distract, and being degraded by coworkers really does not need to be added to the list.
But it is there, frankly, for all of us.
I have lost many a workday to being talked down to, degraded, and objectified by men. I’ve lost many a workday to weighing the pros and cons of responding, reporting or just moving on with my life. I’ve lost many a workday going through the process of reporting and processing the things my colleagues have said to me, and—possibly worse—said to me in front of others.
And it is always with the explicit purpose—just like Rep. Yoho—of putting me in my place.
And just like AOC, I haven’t let this diminish my success or discourage my progress.
I stand here today as the Chief Growth Officer at brightbeam, making sure that the organization I help lead doesn’t continue this cycle and doing my best to make sure that the education system we have in America doesn’t contribute to this cycle either.