Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is It Ever Okay To Hit A Girl?!?

[Editor's Note: The post title is obviously a rhetorical question meant to draw you in. AB.com does not in any way, shape, or form, advocate violence against women. So chill.]

When I was in primary school (prolly like the 2nd or 3rd grade), I almost got into a "fight" with this big Husky girl named Hammond. That was her family's last name, I never knew her first. I still recall the incident as clear as day. Something happened on the bus. Being the wiseass I am, I might could have said something or other smart about her, but regardless, when the bus stopped in front of my grandma's, Hammond was ready to rumble. The entire bus emptied out, and at least a couple dozen kids circled around, egging us on. Hell, even the busdriver got out to watch.

Hammond pranced around the circle, calling me all kinds of chickens and punks, fists flared, taunting, waiting for me to strike first. The other neighborhood chill'rens were saying "kick her butt, AB!", because they all hated her big bully behind too. She looked like an 8 year old version of The Lady Of Rage (sans the afro puffs), and she was not backin' down because I was a boy. In fact, I think this riled her up even more.

This was one of those "life in slow motion" moments for me. I'd always been told by both of my parents to defend myself and not get rolled on (my words, not theirs) when someone stepped to me. I had also been told that under no circumstances was I to evar lay hands on a woman out of anger. Real boys didn't do that.

As the mob intensified and Hammond approached me closer, I glanced at my grandma's house to find her standing by the storm door. I suddenly felt stoopid for even remotely entertaining the idea of whoopin' this young girl ass. I was raised better, and I knew it.

Despite the throngs of kids urging me to fight, I calmly turned and walked into the house. Hammond stayed at the sidewalk, steady poppin' shit, but eventually the other kids realized nothing was goin' down, and started to dissipate. The busdriver even got back on the bus and drove away. The whole fracas was over. The cooler head had prevailed.

When I walked in the door, the my grandma spoke to me and delivered a clear message.

"Next time you'll have to whoop her ass, you know."

My words, not hers.

I'm reminded of this story every time I watch Sarah Palin take yet another potshot at Obama. She's called him a terrorist. She's called him anti-American. I think she might have even called the dude Sambo the other day, but I was watching Fox News and you know how they like editing stuff.

Nonetheless, poor Barry can't say a thing back to the self-described pitbull in lipstick for the same reason I couldn't haul off and slap the barrettes out of Hammond's big juicy head. Because you can't hit a girl.

The Washington Post explored this dichotomy the other day.

From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin stepped onto the national stage as the Republican vice presidential nominee, she has been rhetorically body-slamming her Democratic opponents.

She has punched and jabbed and engaged in sarcastic -- and sometimes vicious -- trash talk. Whether one believes that her behavior is merely par for the course as a campaign comes down to the wire or that her opponents deserve the verbal pummeling or that she has demonstratively gone off the deep end, one thing is clear. Most observers seem to agree that the two men in the line of her fire -- Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- are not allowed to hit her back. Even in today's post-Hillary Clinton world of presidential politics, boys still aren't supposed to hit girls. Even if it's the girl who starts the fight.

The point is not to suggest that either Obama or Biden should come out swinging ugly slurs, half-truths or outright lies. But the conventional wisdom seems to be that the men on the Democratic ticket can't tell Palin precisely what they think of her moose, her hockey pucks and her Joe Six-Pack-isms. If a fella should try, he will be perceived as a bully, as condescending, as ungentlemanly.

As Palin smiles and winks and throws right hooks to the jaw, the men are worried about looking mean. It was no surprise that part of Biden's debate preparation included how to share the stage with a female opponent. How should he adjust his body language? What facial expressions should he avoid? The underlying theory? Don't get too butch and macho or little Miss Palin might burst into tears. Never mind that she had already likened herself to a breed of dog made famous for its willingness to lunge for the jugular and rip it out.
The rest of the article by Robin Givhan is well worth the read, and I'd encourage each of you to peep it.

You could argue that Obama has taken both the high, and politically expedient roads by mostly ignoring Palin. This tactic seems to work, since it's become clearer by the week that Palin is more than capable of ethering herself each time she opens her mouth without a cue card. Still, this just ain't fair. Not to me at least.

You're prolly wondering that happened between me and Hammond, right? Well, I more or less avoided her for the next couple of weeks. I knew I'd have little choice but to whoop that butt the next time we crossed paths, and figured the path of least resistance was best.

Strangely, after I avoided the fight and became elusive, Hammond somehow developed a puppy love crush on me. Then I had to avoid her to totally different, yet relatively more palatable reasons. Go figure. I didn't understand girls then, and I don't totally get women now.

For those of you born after 93' that missed the Lady Of Rage reference, here's her (only?) hit single, "Afro Puffs". I wonder if the grown up Hammond looks like that. {Shiver}

Question: Is it fair that women can attack men politically, but men can't return the fire? Could Hillary Clinton and other female Obama surrogates be doing more to shut Palin up, or is it best to simply ignore her?

Boxed Into a Corner, Men Can't Punch Back [WashPost]

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