When A Fellow CNN Panelist Called Kamala Harris 'Hysterical,' Kirsten Powers Didn't Let It Slide

"It's just women that usually are called hysterical."

When A Fellow CNN Panelist Called Kamala Harris 'Hysterical,' Kirsten Powers Didn't Let It Slide

Sen. Kamala Harris was tough in her questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, and for the second time in a week, she was interrupted and scolded by her male colleagues.

But the criticism of Harris' technique didn't stop there. Later that night, former Donald Trump advisor Jason Miller was a panelist on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, where he commented that Sessions had "knocked away some of the hysteria from Kamala Harris and some of the Democrats who wanted to make this a big partisan show."

When it came time for fellow commentator Kirsten Powers of USA Today to speak, she didn't let Miller's comment slide, and questioned him on his word choice.

"Can I just go back to something that Jason said? How was Sen. Harris 'hysterical'?" Powers asked. "I don't really understand that. I mean, she was asking some tough questions, but how is that hysterical?"

"It was, from my perspective, I would say an objective perspective," Miller responded, "it didn't seem like there was any effort to get to a real question or get to the bottom of it."

"She was very dogged, there's no question," Powers said, pointing out that Harris was not "any more dogged" than her male colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden, yet Miller didn't use the term "hysterical" to describe him.

"I think calling her hysterical is probably a little gendered," Powers suggested, while fellow panelist Jeffrey Lord made the claim that hysteria is "a neutral quality."

"And yet, it's just women that usually are called hysterical," Powers countered.

Social media applauded Powers for stand up to what many believed to be a sexist choice of language on Miller's part.

It's true that the concept of "hysteria" has been historically linked to women. The word itself originates from the Greek word for "uterus." Female hysteria was once a commonly diagnosed mental disorder that is no longer recognized by the medical community.

Upworthy points out that, while the the word is no longer used exclusively to describe women, it's certainly more common. In fact, a keyword search on Google Books of all books in English from 1800 to 2000 found that the phrase "hysterical woman" was used far more often than "hysterical man."

Now, in 2017, the word's sexist implications remain hard to shake.

Cover image via YouTube.


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