Sen. Barbara Mikulski: Of Course I'm 'Emotional' About Gender Pay Gap


Moments after Senate Republicans unanimously voted to block the advancement of the Paycheck Fairness Act — a bill that would have held employers accountable for wage discrimination against women — the bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, unleashed a barrage of scathing criticism against her good-for-nothing colleagues.

“We can’t even get to a majority vote on how to make sure women get equal pay for equal work!” she said in a speech on the Senate floor. “No wonder people are fed up with us. They wonder about us why, when all is said and done, why more gets said than gets done.”

She went on to tear apart the sexist idea that women are “too emotional” to think logically:

“I’ll tell you what I’m tired of hearing? That somehow or other we’re too emotional when we talk. You know, when we raise an issue, we’re too emotional. Well, I am emotional… It brings tears to my eyes to know how women every, single day are working so hard and are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that. Then, when I hear all of these phony reasons — some are mean and some are meaningless — I do get emotional. I get angry, I get outraged, I get volcanic.”

There’s nothing irrational about feeling outrage over the fact that women — particularly women of color — are systemically underpaid for equal work. That’s an outrageous reality. Anger is an appropriate response. What are we supposed to feel? Placid disappointment? (“Aw, shoot, our government has denied us ladies fair wages yet again for literally no good reason. Well, rats! Too bad!”)

As Sabrina Siddiqui at the Huffington Post points out, this speech also functions as a rather non-subtle dig at former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who recently suggested that Sen. Dianne Feinstein was “too emotional” (because vagina) to produce a fair report on the CIA’s use of torture; this prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to wonder whether the Republican party respects women at all.

Voicing displeasure about the fact that things are absolute shit doesn’t mean that women are hysterical womb-things unfit to govern. It just means that they’re responding to — and attempting to fix — a grim reality, and they’re not going to shut up just because some men want them to. You tell them, Barbara. You tell them all.

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