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In an effort to desperately make up for his lack of substance and the attention we haven't paid him in the last five minutes, Senator Rand Paul (Atlas Shrugged-KY) shushed a female television anchor and ordered her to "calm down." Do note that he had zero problem interrupting her at the start of the interview. Clearly Paul, despite his elitist background, failed to learn that telling someone to calm down generates the exact opposite reaction. It's also a dick thing to do, especially to women who have historically been dismissed and not taken seriously.


But this action goes beyond being a dick thing to do.

Besides being rooted in misogyny, ordering a woman to "calm down" is no different than telling her to smile or stop being abrasive. All of these directives are in the same manipulative line of thinking: telling another person to act differently because her current behavior makes YOU uncomfortable. The real reason it makes you uncomfortable is because the woman is acting in a way that's contradictory to traditionally accepted feminine behavior, i.e. shutting the fuck up, turning off critical thinking skills, and smiling.


Telling a woman to "calm down" also makes her responsible for your feelings. If you're feeling uncomfortable or anxious or like you're about to lose a debate, what better way to disarm and distract your opponent by subtly critiquing her tone and demanding her to change it to something more suitable to you. For those of us who don't see this racket it for what it is, we're thrown off and end up acquiescing when we shouldn't. Women acquiesce because we're socialized to do so, and we're punished if we don't.


As I said earlier, ordering someone to "calm down" often results in the opposite reaction, which intentional sometimes. After all, if you provoke someone into getting more and more upset by telling her that what she feels isn't legit, then you can point to her anger and say, "See that psycho bitch proves I'm innocent!" while distracting everyone else from any of your possible accountability or transgressions. Funny that women have been chastised for "provoking" a man to hit, but when men agitate women into a crazy fit, thems just crazy bitches.


Of course there will be times when a person is being illogical or irrational or downright abusive. Both genders are capable of nasty behavior. But the response shouldn't be asking the other person to accommodate your comfort level; the response should be either to disengage by walking away or staying silent for a finite period of time. (Obviously this response doesn't apply to children.) For example, when my former boss used to have me in her crosshairs and she didn't want to do anything but yell, I would stare at the spot between her eyes and say nothing. Eventually she would run out of steam, especially if I wasn't giving her ammunition.

As for Paul, his horrible behavior was a combination of misogyny and the need to maintain public attention as he gears up for his presidential run. Ironically, his stunts will slowly erode any mainstream support he could have had so I welcome more of the same.

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