Representative Pramila Jayapal Shuts Down Sexist Colleague for Calling Her A “Young Lady… [Who] Doesn’t Know a Damn Thing”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (Photo credit: Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

In an exchange on the House floor that might otherwise have gone entirely overlooked, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington, 7th District) — the first Indian American woman to be elected to Congress — shut down her colleague, Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) for addressing her as “young lady” and saying that she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” (Transcript of the exchange available here related to Amendment No. 43.)

The exchange took place Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives during a debate over an amendment sponsored by Representative Young that would repeal federal regulations against controversial hunting practices in wildlife reserves, such as the use of artificial lights and certain forms of bait to lure animals towards areas where they can be shot at point-blank range, as well as the shooting of bear cubs or wolf pups during denning season. Jayapal, who is 51 years old and a former civil rights attorney currently serving her first term in the House, gave remarks on the floor outlining her concerns with the proposed amendment. Reports The Seattle Times:

“These national lands are intended to be enjoyed by all Americans, including those who visit and hope to have the rare opportunity to see bears and wolves in their natural habitats,” Jayapal said. “These are reasonable regulations that prevent cruel hunting practices.”

Young, however, took issue with those comments, and took to the floor to attempt a patronizing, sexist takedown of Representative Jayapal. While dismissing her as a “young lady”, Young chastised Jayapal as someone who “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” Deriding her commentary as “really nonsense”, Young accused Jayapal of parroting talking points written for her by animal rights groups.

Continue reading “Representative Pramila Jayapal Shuts Down Sexist Colleague for Calling Her A “Young Lady… [Who] Doesn’t Know a Damn Thing””

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault: Why Asian Americans Must Join The Fight to #StopBetsy

Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carries the mattress she was raped on, in an art project titled “Carry That Weight”. (Photo credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton)

Today, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education would roll back Obama era guidelines to protect victims and survivors of on-campus sexual assault by applying Title IX to on-campus investigations into sexual assault and harassment complaints.

Studies have long confirmed an epidemic of on-campus sexual assault and harassment — one that has been largely overlooked by school administration. An on-campus study conducted by Duke University revealed that an alarming 40% of female undergraduates had experienced sexual assault, as had 10% of male undergraduates. Similarly high rates of sexual assault were found at Yale (38.8% of female undergraduates) as well as in a combined study of 27 universities (23% of female undergraduates). At Cornell, 13% of female undergraduates reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual penetration, one of many forms of sexual assault. These data are highly disturbing: they suggest that a female undergraduate student is 5.5 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the average resident of most major US cities. Furthermore, sexual assault is a highly gendered crime: on-average, female undergraduate students are four to five times more likely to be sexually assaulted than male students.

The issue of on-campus sexual assault is of particular relevance to Asian American women and other women of colour. At Duke, white female undergraduates are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted compared to white male undergraduates; but for Asian American female undergraduate students, the gender disparity in sexual assault rises to more than six times more likely to be assaulted, and Black or Hispanic female undergraduates are at even greater risk of sexual assault. In the larger study of 27 universities, Asian American female students were 4.5 times more likely to have experienced nonconsensual sexual penetration compared to Asian American male students. For Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students, female students were 5.5 times more likely to be assaulted than male students. These gender disparities were higher for Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students than for Black or White undergraduates.

Continue reading “Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault: Why Asian Americans Must Join The Fight to #StopBetsy”

#HowNOTToPickUpAsianChicks: Comedian Kristina Wong Launches Web Series to Review Pick-up Artists’ Self-Help Books

We’re all aware of the sad, lonely, angry corner of the internet known as the “Seduction Community“, where self-described pick-up artists coach one another on how to “score” with women. We’ve all read the think-pieces linking pick-up artistry and other facets of the so-called “Manosphere” to the radicalization of young white men. We’ve all speculated about how online meninist spaces draw from antiquated and pseudoscientific notions of bioessentialism to perpetuate racism, misogyny, and general anti-social antipathy.

Above all, we’ve all turned our noses up at the pick-up artist community’s unwavering (and unwaveringly racist and sexist) fascination with Asian and Asian American women — a fascination that motivates some to write articles extolling the virtues of the submissive Asian woman (whom they describe as the solution to western feminism) while it encourages other to travel to Asia to engage in on-camera street harassment.

And still: most of us harbour a twisted fascination with knowing just how absurd and ridiculous pick-up artistry and other anti-feminist subcultures are. We all wonder: how seriously can people who label themselves “pick-up artists” — and who do so with no hint of irony — really take themselves? After all, pick-up artistry is a self-styled self-help community that insists they exist to help romantically-struggling men. So, what does pick-up artistry self-help really sound like?

Today, comedian Kristina Wong took one for the team, and compiled a group of powerful and funny Asian American women to find out just how deep this rabbit hole really goes.

Continue reading “#HowNOTToPickUpAsianChicks: Comedian Kristina Wong Launches Web Series to Review Pick-up Artists’ Self-Help Books”

More Sexism from NYC City Councilman Peter Koo: “An angry mom can’t accomplish much.”

New York City Councilman Peter Koo

I’ve been watching the Democratic primary race for New York City Council’s District 20 with interest since I posted two weeks ago about some alarmingly sexist lines of attack used by incumbent City Councilman Peter Koo against challenger Alison Tan at a public debate. In that post, I lamented the distraction caused by the mudslinging between Koo and Tan that was focusing attention away from the important issues facing voters in Flushing and surrounding neighbourhoods.

So, it was with dismay that I learned today that Koo had redoubled his sexist attacks on Tan in an interview with the TimesLedger, where Koo broadens his disdain to — apparently — all “angry moms” whom Koo says “can’t accomplish much”.

This, as they say, just got personal. Koo just lobbed a broad insult against all politically-active women and mothers.

Continue reading “More Sexism from NYC City Councilman Peter Koo: “An angry mom can’t accomplish much.””

Flushing City Councilmember Peter Koo Deploys Sexist Attacks Against Challenger Alison Tan in Debate

Councilmember Peter Koo (left) and Queens Community Board 7 Member Alison Tan (right) as they make their introductory remarks at the APA Voices District 20 Candidate’s Forum on August 20th. (Photo credit: AAARI-CUNY / YouTube)

On September 12th, New York City’s registered Democrats will head to the polls for the Democratic primaries, and voters living in the city’s 20th City Council district – which includes downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, and Queensboro Hill – will be faced with a choice for the first time in eight years between two-term incumbent City Councilmember Peter Koo and challenger, Alison Tan. This race is of particular interest to Asian American New Yorkers: not only are more than 60% of District 20’s constituency Asian American, but issues within the purview of City Council – such as affordable housing, urban development, and public transportation – are of specific relevance to Flushing residents.

The contest between Koo and Tan has turned decidedly acrimonious in recent months: both candidates have drawn clear distinctions between one another with regard to policy, but the contest has also gotten deeply personal from both sides. Last week at a Candidate’s Forum organized by a coalition of New York-area Asian American groups, the personal attacks took a viciously sexist undertone as Councilmember Koo deployed both implied and overt assaults on Tan’s identity as a working woman, mother, and aspiring female politician.

Continue reading “Flushing City Councilmember Peter Koo Deploys Sexist Attacks Against Challenger Alison Tan in Debate”