An Open Letter to Jay Mohr: Why You Can’t Call Us Bitches

Dear Mr. Mohr,

Today on your show, you spoke at length about Kirk Minihane calling Erin Andrews a “gutless bitch.” You said that it was wrong that he had to issue an apology regarding the outburst, that you were confused how in corporate America things have gotten so politically correct, and that because of this you felt you were only a few months from saying something that would cause you to have to issue an apology – which you emphatically stated that you wouldn’t do.

You then asked women to call in or tweet about how women feel about this. You said to us – “Women, if you want equal treatment, you gotta be able to take a joke.” For the next hour or so, you refined your argument, finally breaking down and saying, “Listen, I just don’t get it. Someone explain it to me.”

I love sports. I love getting excited about playoffs, about college football, about the Indians and the Browns, and biting my nails wondering if my husband is really going to get us matching LeBron jerseys. I enjoy your show. I recommend it to women who want to understand what sports are and not listen to frat boys talking about the same three plays over and over again. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for something outside of the typical sports format.

Because of that, I want to help you. I want to answer the questions you and your cohorts posed today. I know the chances of you seeing this are minimal, but maybe some of the other readers of #jaymhorsports will, and they will get an answer.

Why are we so upset about Minihane? Well, it’s not that he used the adjective “gutless” – as you yourself said, what Andrews did was brave. To question Wainwright after he admitted that he threw the All-Star game for Jeter is hard. Any journalist who would have stepped up to the challenge from their boss could aptly be described as “brave”.

It’s because he used the word “bitch.”  Three times.  And then when he tried to rescue it at the end with – “I shouldn’t call her a bitch, I’m sure she’s a nice person” – one of his hosts said “She’s probably a bitch.” He then called her  a “bubblehead” and a “bimbo” – because any woman who does something that men don’t agree with are obviously intellectually impaired and only in a position of influence because they slept their way up the ladder.

Women have a problem with that. “Bitch” has no other purpose than to disparage our gender. It’s the go-to insult for a woman. In corporate America, when I question a procedure, I’m an anal retentive bitch. If I reject a guy at a bar, I’m a frigid bitch. If I discipline my children, I’m an uptight bitch. If I go outside without my hair done perfectly, I’m a trashy bitch. It goes on and on. Hell, throughout my 11-year-long writing career in sports, video games, tech and pop culture, I have been called a dumb bitch or stupid bitch or fat bitch so many times that I’m almost immune to the word.

Your point, “If she was a man, no one would have said anything,” is sad because it’s possibly true. However, what if the journalist HAD been a man? The adjectives that would have been used to describe him most likely would have been along the lines of “idiot” or “dumbass.” It’s still not appropriate – but it’s not insulting them based on gender.

In fact, because of my experiences in journalism, I wouldn’t have an issue with the statement had they used those words. “What an idiot! I hate her! What a gutless dumbass!” has a much different feel than what Minihane used.

It’s easier for me to let things slide off my back when people question my writing using those terms than when they attack my gender or sexuality by default. A good argument based on something wrong in my writing is completely valid.  However, the majority of insults that myself and many women who write in industries dominated by men are rooted in our gender.

Jay, I don’t know about you, but I get threats that people are going to find my house and rape me. People tell me that if I wasn’t such an ugly, fat, bitch that a man would want to have sex with me and then I wouldn’t have an issue with Ubisoft’s decision to not include women or DC’s sexualization of teenage girls.  People tell me that they are going to shut me up like a man should have done years ago by stuffing a cock down my throat – and that I’ll probably be grateful for the experience.

When you spoke out about the Ricky Incognito issue, you were taken to task by your listeners. However, in all the tweets I read and the calls you got, I never heard anyone insult you because you were simply an over-reacting man. The go-tos were based on hypocritical aspects of your comedy career and a simple “Well, that’s just how it is in locker rooms.” When I wrote about Ricky Incognito, I was asked if I was on my period. I was asked if I wanted to have the black guy fuck me because all fat white bitches want that.

When you talked about Brad Asmus, no one had an issue about the substance of the joke being wrong. When I wrote about it, people asked if I was jealous that someone wanted to fuck her and not me. Micheal Sam – you didn’t get a lot of flack for anything you said, but man, I had messages in my inbox that made me cry.

Why am I telling you this?

I think it’s so you understand WHY women are sensitive to these things. Again, you said “Women, if you want to be treated equally, you gotta be able to take a joke.”  I get that. Most women get that. We’ve worked so hard to be seen as equals, but we’re really not. We’re equal when it’s convenient – but when it’s not, we’re just crazy bitches.

In corporate America, if a guy is getting picked on by other guys, the guy can simply say “Hey man, cut it out.” He gets an apology, or a “sorry man, I didn’t think you cared” and it stops. If a woman is getting picked on and she simply says “Hey man, cut it out”, we’re asked “Are you on your period or something? Why can’t you take a joke? I thought you wanted to be equal.”

That, Jay, is the problem. Men THINK they are treating us equally, but when people constantly use our gender to insult us or cut us down, we’re not being treated equally. G-d, I WISH I could say “hey, cut it out” and it be respected. I wish I could open my email or twitter DM’s and not feel dread. I wish that I could be debated based on what I write about and not simply because of my gender. Even well-meaning guys eventually dismiss me on a gender basis after a while.

I respect  where you come from, Mr. Mohr. Starting as a comedian, I understand your vehement grasping to the ideal of speech on your own terms. As someone who writes for a living, I, too, embrace that ideal. However, I also embrace the other side to that coin – that if I say something, I take the consequences. Just because I get to say whatever I want, does not mean it goes into a vacuum.

I don’t think you’re going to be put in the position that Minihane or Cumia have been in. I don’t think you have the capacity to say things like they do. Your near-pleading for assistance in this matter proves you really wish to understand the why behind this.

I think the reason why you have trouble understanding this is because you don’t reduce opponents to an object or a gender. Your default is not “Oh well she’s a woman.” Your mother raised you better than that. Anyone would be deaf to not hear that in how you guys interact when she’s on the show.

I hope the next Positivity Thursday that my husband and I get to listen to, the show can remain positive. I earnestly hope you get this letter, and I hope that it clears up your questions.

I admire you, I really do. I love that you speak your mind and stand up for what you feel is wrong, regardless of your listeners or Fox’s talking points. I hope I answered some of your questions and that you continue to ask about things you might not be able to understand. I hope that this helps you when you see Erin Andrews being called out, not because of crappy commentary, but because she’s simply a woman doing what many of your peers still feel is “Man’s work.”

Regards,

Allison Henthorn

 

Al Miller
Resident nerd, glitter goth, and reluctant adult, Al has been writing about the things that make her heart sing for over a decade. She also handles the social media management for The Flounce. Need to have some questions answered or maybe discuss some PR for your upcoming indie game or geek culture project? Want to see if you're soulmates and discuss pizza toppings? Questions about pitching or contributing? email at allison@theflounce.com No dick pics, please.
http://theflounce.com
  • Gor-DON

    Who is this b*tch?

  • Gor-DON

    Sooooo…I guess doing it ‘doggie-style’ is objectionable too

    • JulaiOhMy

      No, I’d be happy to fuck you up the ass, if that’s what you want.

      • God_DON

        Julia…as much as your penis-envy drives your desire…and I know you wish you had one and even your ginormous thumb-sized clitoris is insufficient. Sorry..no thanks…But, I’m sure you can make a trip to your local race-track and hook up with one of the stallions…you can get all the d**k you want

        • http://theflounce.com Jen Pink

          What’s most fascinating about this exchange is that you’re posting as a guest, which means you’re not being alerted to replies. So you have to keep checking back just to see whether anyone has replied. Why so ate up? Three days later?

          • Gor-DON

            Oh…it’s you Jen…How are you? I thought I smelled mackerel. What’s just as fascinating is that you’re devoting just as much time too…You’re obviously checking back too…*shrug*…Don’t really care

          • BobcatCorduroy

            Oh, clearly you care.

          • Gor-DON

            You seem kinda angry…did your gf pull her strapon out your ass before you climaxed?

          • JulaiOhMy

            I’m just fascinated that someone who spews this much filth can’t bring themself to type the word “dick.”

          • Gor-DON

            Speaking of filth…you need to hit up on some Summer’s Eve too…industrial strength

          • BobcatCorduroy

            Never actually smelled a pussy in your life, have you? Smelling stolen panties doesn’t count. Sorry.

          • Gor-DON

            Chad…is it you again? Guess you’re back from sucking on used condoms

          • http://theflounce.com Jen Pink

            Well, you know… p**sy.

          • Gor-DON

            Jen…on the subj of p**sy…go wash or something…can smell your rank bv all the way from here…or is that your breath?

          • JulaiOhMy

            When will misogyny give us a worthy foe? One capable of insults beyond “HAY UR VAGINA STINKY”

          • Gor-DON

            C’mon..this has nothing to do with gender…and it’s not just your vagina…your breath and pits smell too

  • http://theflounce.com Jen Pink

    Thanks, GorDON, for volunteering to be our “case in point” today.

  • Gor-DON

    Jen…*sniff..sniff*…have you tried Massengil?

    • BobcatCorduroy

      I think you’re the bigger douche here, Chad.

      • Gor-DON

        Chad…if I wanted shit out of you, I’d squeeze your head. Now go back to wanking off to Nickleodeon

  • Brad Hutchings

    “Even well-meaning guys eventually dismiss me on a gender basis after a while.”

    They’re dismissing you because you’re a fountain of victimhood and negativity. Gender has nothing to do with it. Here’s a clue: accomplished women are even less tolerant of this that “well-meaning guys”. And those guys dismiss this and stay away like they avoid walking under ladders. Nothing good happens when you walk under a ladder.

    • http://somethinlikeconjugalvisits.blogspot.com Ian Patterson

      To say gender has nothing to do with any of this is disingenuous. My girlfriend knows more about football than the average person, let alone average man, if that needs to be mentioned. There have been many times where she engages in some good ol’ NFL conversation with a guy and the moment it’s demonstrated that she’s just as informed, or more informed, than the dude she’s talking to, she’s been promptly cut out of conversation. Often contemptuously.

      It’s actually kind of ridiculous and witnessing instances has opened my eyes. She’s a seahawks season ticket holder. The only explanation I can think of is the offense or emasculation men feel by a woman who is more informed on this masculine sport than they are.

      • Brad Hutchings

        I’m not sure who or what you’re arguing against, Ian. As a so-called well-meaning guy, I find the victimization schtick annoying and the attempt to blame all men offensive.

        The guy who called Erin Andrews a B word was being an ass-hat. That’s as far as it needed to go. It isn’t reflective of some grand conspiracy by The Patriarchy to keep a woman down.

        Similarly, guys who won’t indulge your lady’s sports takes probably aren’t worth the time of day to either of you. Find guys who aren’t jerks to hang out with. Problem solved. And it will change your outlook on the world for the better.

        • http://somethinlikeconjugalvisits.blogspot.com Ian Patterson

          Obviously, Erin Andrews isn’t wallowing in victimhood. Neither is it a “grand conspiracy” to speak on the experiences unique to women in their profession.

          Rather, the conspiracy is to pretend as though gender has nothing to do with anything ever.

          • the_mouse_

            What about pretending that everything is always completely about gender?

  • WrongAsRain

    Jay more says you have very valid points. I agree.

    https://twitter.com/jaymohr37/status/490120318703263745

  • Andy Dimo

    “In corporate America, if a guy is getting picked on by other guys, the guy can simply say “Hey man, cut it out.” He gets an apology, or a “sorry man, I didn’t think you cared” and it stops.”

    lol…

  • the_mouse_

    I can’t tell what’s worse about this article: that it’s completely asinine, or that it insults the intelligence of women while trying to champion their rights.

    Much as “whore” can be used in many different ways of varying offense, so can “bitch”. It, along with “cunt”, “dick”, “prick”, is often used as a simple insult to imply a person is a jerk while referencing their gender. Referencing something personal when you’re insulting someone is natural, and sex is about the most personal thing you can reference in a complete stranger that just cut you off in traffic. But is this what Mohr meant? Or was his use of the more sexist variety, a la “suck my dick, bitch” or “bitches belong in the kitchen”? You yourself quote him as saying “I shouldn’t call her a bitch, I’m sure she’s a nice person”. Yep, there’s no way that he’s calling her a female jerk, gotta be demeaning sexism. Should I mention that women call other women “cunts” and “bitches” all the time, much as men call each other “dicks”, “pricks”, and “chodes”? Or that insulting someone while referencing their sex doesn’t mean you look down
    on all people of that sex? When Sally calls Jim a prick, I don’t assume
    Sally hates men, just Jim.

    You could have picked words like “pussy” (when applied to men) or “slut” (when applied to women) to write about, but it’s much harder to analyze real consequences of gender culture rather than railing against a sophomoric and dull insult. So instead you talk about being the target of [insult]+”bitch” phrases and rape threats, as if anyone, male or female, is safe from them once you make your sex known on the net. Not to mention the dubiousness of a lot of these examples (Should I really believe “If I discipline my children, I’m an uptight bitch. If I go outside without my hair done perfectly, I’m a trashy bitch” are accounts of real phrases that were spoken to you in these contexts?).

    But what really irks me is the “we this, women that” tone of it all, as if this poorly thought out screed speaks for anyone but people who will gobble up any garbage so long as it involves chauvinist pigs victimizing helpless women with their words. If the goal is really to educate Jay Mohr about gender issues, I don’t think you’re the person for the job.