Why Do People Keep Calling Sandy a Bitch?


Did you guys know that hurricanes used to be designated by a system of latitude-longitude, which was good for meteorologists, but hella confusing to the public? So, in 1953, the National Hurricane Center began naming hurricanes and tropical storms, but it was just female names at first. Then, in the 70s, some awesome feminists came along and we’re like, “WTF is this nonsense? Oh, hell no.” and petitioned for men’s names to be added to the mix.

One of the women who led the charge was named Roxcy Bolton, a totally amazing person who also founded the nation’s first Rape Treatment Center, helped form Florida’s National Organization for Women, and helped abolish the Florida practice of keeping “men only” sections in restaurants.

According to Bust:

In the early 1970s, Bolton gave the National Weather Service a piece of her mind. She said, “Women are not disasters, destroying life and communities and leaving a lasting and devastating effect.” She also wanted to change the name “hurricane” to “him-icane” because she thought the “her” sound was too gendered. Instead, she suggested that hurricanes be named after senators, who “delight in having things named after them.” Could you imagine a Hurricane Lindsey Graham or a Hurricane Scott Brown?

So, in 1979, the NWS started alternating male and female names. (Or, more correctly, names that are more often given to males or females.) Pretty cool, right?

Unfortunately, a lot of the ways in which we describe hurricanes, especially ones with lady names, is pretty fucking misogynistic. As Super Copywriters points out, “It was fashionable to speak of ‘her fury’ or ‘her temper,’ as if the storm were a woman scorned. They were ‘fickle’ storms that ‘teased the coast.'”

That appears to very much hold true with Sandy, especially if you look at Twitter. There are a million examples like this:

That one is more like HUH? Although we’re kinda into this guy:

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. WTF, everyone? I’m sure if Sandy was, instead, Sandro, there would be plenty of people tweeting about how he’s an asshole, but I’m guessing that he wouldn’t be called a whore and invited to suck dick, and I’m wondering if the violent imagery of “beat a bitch down,” would be there?

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