Michael Nugent points out a classic example of the special rules by which what would be an utterly normal tone of voice and wording and manner in a man get called “shrill” when it’s a woman speaking. The woman is Senator Ivana Bacik, asking questions at the parliamentary hearings on abortion law. She speaks firmly, and with an edge, but not the least bit “shrilly.” But hey, she’s a woman, and she’s talking firmly and with an edge to men. Must be shrill. Stands to reason.
In an opinion piece titled ‘We can’t be cowed by shrill voices’, editor Michael Kelly wrote:
“Ms Bacik clearly disagrees with the Catholic view that all human life is sacred and that in pregnancy mothers and their unborn child should have an equal right to life. Can’t she disagree politely, however?
A gentleman is one, the old saying goes, who can disagree without being disagreeable. The same surely applies for ladies.
Shrill caricatures have no place in mature debates. It is becoming increasingly difficult in modern Ireland to have a calm and rational debate about things people disagree about.”
He makes her a child, too, and one who has no place in parliamentary hearings (despite the fact that she’s a Senator).
Well maybe Michael Kelly divides humanity into two types: potential priests, and shrill babies.
Senator Bacik speaks at 2:36: