Psych Central


What an interesting few days I’ve had.

I write about various topics in my work, including music. Last week, I wrote a blog post for a local newsweekly’s website in which I was critical of a local band. It had snarky moments—Dallas/Fort Worth, where I live, is a snarky media market. But it had a point, and I didn’t accuse anyone of kicking puppies or eating babies or anything. I expected a rough-and-tumble response. I thought I knew what I was getting into. Being called bitchy, perhaps. An F-bomb or two, since I threw one myself.

But one of the members of the band is a delicate blossom who also happens to be on a hugely popular afternoon drive-time radio show. And although his show’s stock-in-trade is snarky, Delicate Blossom was devastated by my criticism. He was so upset that he ranted first on his Facebook page, and then on the air. I have avoided direct contact with both of his rants because I’m busy and a little neurotic and I don’t have time be thrown off my game any more than necessary. But I do know the gist of what he said, and the words “fat old bitch” are involved. Also “ugly.”

Obviously, I have nothing but disdain for anyone with so little imagination that the only way he can argue is Neanderthal slurs. And I’m puzzled that anyone so thin-skinned is in show business. I tried to shrug this off as just the little crybaby hissyfit it is.

Except it’s not.

28 Comments to
On Being Called a Fat Old Bitch

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  1. My new book is being attacked daily by ranting weirdos on amazon.com — but no, not the book, ME, the author, and they use labels including princess, elitist, racist, pretentious, bitter and lazy.

    You know what? Piss off!

    These people are morons and not worth an iota of our time or energy. If that’s the most intelligent commentary they’ve got, I’m too busy to listen — as should you be.

  2. I’ve been reading your tweeted articles regarding this situation. For what it’s worth, I’m a male. I find that I’m one of a minority that dares to have perspective on anything.

    Delicate Blossom has spent years sponging up admiration from country music lovers in Texas to fill up his fragile ego. Unfortunately, like any sponge, all it takes is a little squeeze, and his self-worth is emptied out. Instead of ignoring it and soaking up the admiration of his fans, he chose to expose himself as a lightweight material, full of empty holes.

    I honestly think that you might be reading too much into the stereotypical female phrases that he used to describe you. Had you been a white male, the response would have been the same – a lame generalization that likely would have included insults about appearance. He doesn’t have the “balls”, so to speak, to just ignore what you had to say and get on with his life. He certainly doesn’t have the wit to engage in a conversation with you. His response was a panicked display of a fragile ego. It’s the same response that an animal has when it is being threatened. He has literally put himself on the same level as a dog. Everything he did was instinctual.

    I’ve never lived in Texas, but I know a lot of people from there. At the risk of generalizing, the state seems to be overly proud of its “BIG” reputation. There is a lot of emphasis on action/reaction, with very little thought involved. For a big state with a massive ego, it is full of chimps and wimps – morons with an extremely thin skin. You truly are misplaced, but don’t be discouraged. It is only the ability to speak that separates him from the common household pet.

  3. I can’t put it any better than the man above me but I would like to say “Bravo, J-M!”

  4. Thank you MR and J-M.

    I agree that it was a knee-jerk, unconsidered response on his part. On the other hand, look at the woman hatred behind his go-to response. Not. OK.

    It also was bullying and the right thing to do is stand up to bullies.

    And thanks Caitlin. I’m sorry you’re going through that. I tried to just push it aside but decided not to. Crappy blog comments are par for the course, part of the job. This, to my mind, took it a step further.

  5. Sophia, I completely agree that it is not okay. Sadly, women have been demeaned significantly throughout all of recorded history by the majority of men. And the point of your article is spot-on, especially the inference that insults intended for males are often driven by female demeaning terms.

    That said, I really think you give this guy too much credit, and the last thing you want to do is give him any credibility. Continue to talk about the concepts and consequences of female degradation, make it an open forum, as you have. But don’t elevate his behavior to anything beyond an innate bestial response. Don’t let it get to you, either.

    Like I said earlier, animals of all kinds have instinctual responses to threatening stimuli. For instance, a skunk spews an offensive odor from its anus when threatened. A cat will hiss and arch its back to make it appear larger and meaner. In most of these cases, the instinctual behavior is designed to make the threatening target feel inferior, or to offend them in order to make them back away.

    It’s no different with Delicate Blossom. He attacked you in a way that was offensive, and tried to make himself feel bigger and badder. The fact that you’re a female is of no consequence, it was just a convenience for him. Again, if you had been a white male, the response would have likely been something along the lines of “fat balding blogger dude”.

    This guy is a dumbass, and so are the people that defend him. Don’t give any of them credit for “thinking” up ways to make you feel inferior. Nothing he did involved actual thought. Just because he knew where to strike at you doesn’t make his response any more intelligent than a skunk with an anal leakage issue.

    I’m not saying that it won’t affect you on some level. After all, it takes a while to get rid of the stench of a skunk spray. But you’re much smarter than he is…go on the offensive. Instead of lamenting about his affect on you and other women, bathe in some tomato soup, grab your shotgun, and blow the little fucker’s head off. ;o)

    Then again, arguing with idiots is often a losing proposition. They can drag you down to their level and defeat you with experience. Given the nature of idiots on the Internet, and particularly Texas-sized idiots, I would suggest that you post one salvo to demonstrate his stupidity, and then move on. Drawn out arguments with idiots can drain the energy of an introvert quickly and have you feeling low.

    Regardless, as long as you know who you are, and what he is, you have nothing to fear or worry about. You’re not competing in a popularity contest, and your loyal readers generally aren’t the uneducated imps that troll most Internet sites. You’ll get an influx of morons that post similar uneducated comments with this, but the limitations in their collective IQ will cause them to lose interest when the next shiny thing crosses their path.

    Just keep doing what you do, and don’t let him get to you. Cheers!

  6. I got it off my chest here. And believe me, if the Observer had been willing to make even the blandest statement on my behalf, I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

  7. I understand. The problem seems to be the popularity of the band in that area. My guess is that the Observer probably agreed that it was wrong, but didn’t want to stick their neck out for fear of losing subscribers, advertising sponsors, or whatever.

    I think the biggest thing that sucks is that this dipshit is eagerly provided a platform for displaying his “assholery”. Yet the Observer chooses to bury the issue…the sign of true cowardice. It is difficult to find circumspect individuals, much less organizations, these days.

    But, if you’re looking to get out of this with a laugh, I recommend that you watch Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. It’s extremely crass, which is to be expected from a Mike Judge movie, but it seems to be a fitting depiction of the DFW crowd that you’re dealing with. King Bucks might as well be the modern day version of “Ow, My Balls!”. ;o)

    Don’t worry about it, though. You’ve got the rest of us right behind you. :o)

  8. @J-M: I totally give you props for recognizing the poor baby wounded ego in Delicate Blossom’s response.
    However, I do think that it’s pretty crucial to recognize the anti-woman bullshit behind it. Having done my time as a music writer myself, I can say that generally speaking, men who piss off a musician get shit about their intelligence or critical ability. Maybe – maybe – they get called fat, or a pussy.
    The go-to response when a musician gets pissed off by a woman is to attack her appearance or to call her a bitch. Because somehow a pliant, attractive woman wouldn’t have criticized them in the first place. And really, who cares if she’s smart or has analytical skills? The only really important thing about a woman is her appearance, right?
    The mere fact that his knee-jerk reaction was a prime example of sexist piggery means we need to call him on it. Otherwise we send the message that sexism doesn’t matter, as long as being sexist wasn’t the main point. Not. Ok.

  9. Soph, we spend our youth going to shows with men trying to dry hump us in the pit. We spend our middle age being insulted by the same dry humpers. Don’t spend your time thinking much more about this. Your ccmmentary has been great. But you have spent enough time on this particular douchebag. Yes, DANNY BALIS sucks donkey balls. And you have eloquently illustrated why he does. You have plenty of work. You have had your say. Be done with this. He deserves no more attention from you. Someone else will pick it up.

  10. I know nothing of the Country Music scene, but I recognize a dick (which I consider the male equivalent of “bitch”) when I hear one. As someone who actually *is* old and fat, I encounter them all the time. I rarely hear the B word, alas, as I’d regard it as something of a compliment: only women with the gumption to stand up for themselves get called bitches on a regular basis.
    I’m tempted to go with my mother’s advice and “consider the source”, but words can wound us badly. People like Delicate Blossom need to be called on them.
    The last time I was called a FOB was by a woman. She objected to my trying to cross the street in the pedestrian crosswalk with the green light. She also threw in the f word, and a rather harsh reference to cripples. I was horrified at first, but chose to wave at her cheerfully with my cane.
    She’s going to be here herself someday, and I hope she remembers.

  11. I have thought about “dick” as the equivalent of “bitch,” but men are awfully proud of those things.

  12. @Rose. I completely agree that the world is full of anti-female sentiment. I think Sophia aptly highlights that that insults towards men are even female-centric. She also points out that gender-specific insults are treated differently than racial insults, which is hypocritical.

    Personally, though, I think that having a “go to” response like “bitch” is just a product of being a certain gender or species – “you are not one of us, so you are one of them”.

    There is a “go to” response for nearly every stereotype. I know that some women who attack another woman’s appearance will sometimes refer to “manly” features as an intent to insult her lack of perceived beauty. Women insult male personalities with the word “pig”. A smart guy who isn’t athletic is called a “geek” or “nerd”. Jocks are “meatheads”. And each of those completely avoids the common racial slurs – “zipperhead”, “wetback”, “gook”…and so on.

    The world is FULL of slandering words for people simply because they’re “not one of us” – meaning, not the same as the person hurling the insults. For females, regardless of their perceived beauty, the word is “bitch”. If you’re not 20-something and a size 0, the words “fat” and “old” usually get thrown in as well. But if Sophia was a world-renowned supermodel instead of a blogger, and said the same thing, the word would still be “bitch”. The words “dumb” and “stuck up” likely would have replaced “old” and “fat”.

    But all this has nothing to do with women in general. Insults are hurled merely because they can be, and the only thing that matters is whether the target is different in some way from the insulter. And in this case, Sophia is not a dumb-ass hillbilly redneck (see how this works?), so she was insulted according to her stereotype. He wasn’t being “anti-woman”, it would be stupid to alienate what is probably the biggest portion of his audience. He was just being a dumb hick who couldn’t take a little criticism.

    There is no doubt that women are oppressed and repressed in various ways – but this is not a prime example. A prime example is a woman who is abused by her husband, or a woman who applies for a job, but doesn’t get it because there was a male applicant who was preferred.

    Granted, it’s probably far more common among men to heave insults at someone, but we are the more aggressive gender. That doesn’t make it right, obviously. But that and his fragile ego are the biggest reasons that this guy did what he did, not because he hates women.

    • Accepting abuse and discrimination in the small ways adds up to a society that downplays the big ways, too.

      http://karnythia.tumblr.com/post/7294272710/a-modern-sexual-assault-tale

      I would be disgusted by comments like that directed at a supermodel as well.

      Why do you think black people and other ethnic groups want control over the words others use to refer to them? Words count.

  13. Just imagine: A middle-aged white man radio host doesn’t like what a black local journalist writes about him. So he gets on the air and calls the guy a lazy, stupid, n….

    We all know black people use that word. And it’s not like they’re still enslaved or anything.

    It’s just a temper tantrum, same as this one. But wouldn’t it make you question the guy’s values?

    Hell, what if the radio guy just called the journalist a lazy stupid black guy? Even that would shock people.

    If he’d called me a fat, ugly old woman, it would have sucked, but if I’d complained, I’d be laughed out of town for having such a thin skin. And yet he still had to use “bitch,” as the cherry on top.

    He doesn’t know me. He’s never met me. This isn’t about me. It’s about him and it’s about women. He’s a prominent radio personality and he wants to sound like lashing out at a woman who has displeased him is just “boys will be boys” fun.

    Women die all the time. And a lot of them, according to the men who kill them, “Deserved it.” She probably lipped off.

    Plenty of women ’round here are pissed, but there’s not a man in the media who thinks it’s worth mentioning. Not even as a news story.

    Not. OK.

    I’m only debating you, J-M, because you’re almost there. Come join us on the feminist side. :)

    (The word feminist has become a slur, too but I’m obviously proud to own it.)

  14. See you at Britney Spears?

  15. @J-M: Yes, a lot of insults are based on an “us v. them” mentality, or on stereotypical thinking about a group. Using that lens, my point was that there were several “us v. them” narratives at play in this situation. “Musician v. critic”,for example, probably the most relevant one when a performer defends himself against a poor review. His attack on Sophia was an attack on her as a woman, not as a critic – particularly telling since his disagreement was with her as a critic.
    The “man v. woman” narrative wasn’t even an issue until he took it there by using gendered insults.

    The sexism I see there is that when he wanted to attack Sophia’s credibility, he didn’t attack her work, her credentials or even the words of her review. He attacked her age, sexual desirability and lack of feminine sweetness, as though those were the truly relevant things in the debate. In other words, his knee-jerk reaction was to argue her opinion was flawed because her stereotypical femininity was flawed. Because if you’re dealing with a woman, the first thing that matters is whether she’s young cute and sweet, and then maybe you can deign to hear what she has to say, right?

  16. To start, Danny was wrong for calling you a “bitch” (and the assertion that he prefaced that w/ “fat, old ugly” is inaccurate.) Danny publicly apologized for that. However, your review was beyond poor: the article had little to do with the King Bucks music at all & was more or less an opportunity for you to mention the fact that you’re from NYC. And that you didn’t enjoy your time at the show. Not because of the music, but because the band didn’t participate in any banter or antics.
    Phssssssssst!

    Had the article been better balanced, i.e. been mostly about the music played at the show, a blurb about the King Bucks lack of fan interaction and a brief (BRIEF) mention of past shows you’ve seen elsewhere in the world, you would’ve succeeded in writing another totally forgettable weekly music review. Instead, you were(as was Danny). I’ve got a word that should have been used to describe you instead: HACK.

    And finally, as a person of Hispanic descent and the product of a mixed marriage, I find your attempt to link being called a “bitch” with facing a racial epitaph insulting. Clearly you can understand the difference between someone attempting to insult you after feeling that you personally insulted them, and someone launching an attack on you, thoroughly unprovoked due simply to the color of your skin or the sound of your name.

    You’re still a hack.

  17. “And finally, as a person of Hispanic descent and the product of a mixed marriage, I find your attempt to link being called a “bitch” with facing a racial epitaph insulting. Clearly you can understand the difference between someone attempting to insult you after feeling that you personally insulted them, and someone launching an attack on you, thoroughly unprovoked due simply to the color of your skin or the sound of your name.”

    If you don’t think sexism is as great and I would go as far as to say even more prevalent and accepted in society as racism then I suggest you rethink your position on that.

  18. In other words, if a Mexican-American says something that pisses off a radio host, and that host goes on the air and calls that Mexican-American a “stinkin’ Mexican,” that’s OK because it was provoked?

  19. Congrats SD, non-wittied expletive charterizations are never worthy of responding, but I am glad that you held your ground. I used to listen to that afternoon slot, but unfortunately they cater to the 7 year old intellilect, and prefer the morning show diatribes. This male has got your back.

    • Thanks, hambones! My husband is getting used to a Ticket-free life. Maybe if Danny apologized on the air Tom would feel OK listening to the station again, though I doubt he’ll bother with the Hardline anymore. (I have left all decisions up to him on this matter.) Corby joined in on the insults, Mike Rhyner sat silently. Phooey on all of them.

  20. Didn’t you write “Fuck ‘em” in your review? So you lashed out first, unprovoked. Danny’s 2nd mistake was stooping to your level and insulting you personally. His 1st? Acknowledging your sloppy, lazy, self-centered crap review @ all.

  21. You’re absolutely right…they should have ignored it.

  22. your article was well written, but damn. you can’t insult the bucks. ya just can’t.

    • Thanks. It seems you can insult them, rather grievously. Which surprised me, considering how popular they are. I figured they’d be pretty secure. They weren’t the focus of my post anyway. They were just an example. At least I know who they are. Other bands I’ve blown off didn’t stick in my memory at all.

  23. @Sophia/Rose – Well, I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I think it’s okay to call someone a name based on their gender or race. I had hoped that I made that point clear. There is definitely justification behind your offense at the remark, and any remark directed at gender/racial differences. And I’m thrilled with your attempts to change that mindset – as futile as I think that effort might be (which is truly unfortunate).

    I was just pointing out the motivation behind the insult – that the intent wasn’t driven by female hate so much as it was driven by the guy being an idiot. Most people on this planet don’t think about what they say or do, especially when attacked – they just react. Fight or flight, it’s a basic instinct, right?

    Differences in gender or race are a common, and easy, target because they’re visual and you don’t have to know the person for it to have a damaging affect. Therefore, it doesn’t require a lot of thought, and that’s why DB used that term.

    Again, I’m not saying it’s okay, I’m just saying that his comment likely wasn’t motivated by female hatred. It was motivated by laziness and stupidity. DB doesn’t know you, and doesn’t want to get to know you, so his only line of defense was to make up something based on what he saw.

    In essence, he doesn’t hate you for being a female, he hates you for not liking him.

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