AOC does not let Yoho off the hook

Ted Yoho is a Republican member in the US House of Representatives and was known as a nasty piece of work even before the most recent incident where he used a slur against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

According to a reporter from The Hill, who overheard the initial remarks, Yoho came up to Ocasio-Cortez outside the House steps on Monday and sparked a conversation about her position on unemployment and crime in New York City. Yoho said she was “disgusting” and told her she is out of her mind, according to The Hill. Ocasio-Cortez said he was being rude, and Yoho said “f**king bitch” as he walked away.

On the floor of the House, Yoho denied using those words even though he was overheard by a reporter. A fellow Republican congressperson Roger Williams was with Yoho but says that his mind was elsewhere and so could not comment. Yeah, right. It pretty much confirms that Yoho did say it.

Yoho offered the now-common non-apology and the ‘some of my best friends are …’ trope, invoking the fact that because he is married and has daughters, he is very circumspect about using derogatory language towards women. What world does he think we live in? People with wives and daughters use this language all the time and AOC, also on the floor of the House, was not going to let him off the hook and reminded him of that.

Ocasio-Cortez recounted the incident and repeated the term, saying she has an issue with “using women, our wives and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior.”

“Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter,” she said with emotion in her voice. “My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television and I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”

She later added, “When you do that to any woman, what Mr. Yoho did was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters. In using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable.”

Ocasio-Cortez also said Yoho, in his apology on the House floor, made “excuses for his behavior” and “having a daughter does not make a man decent.”

“Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man,” she said.

She said Yoho’s comments “were not deeply hurtful or piercing” because she has experienced the same type of behavior from men while working as a waitress and everyday life.

“I have waited tables in restaurants. I have ridden the subway. I have walked the streets in New York City. And this kind of language is not new,” she said. “I have tossed men out of bars that have used language like Mr. Yoho’s, and I have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in New York City. This is not new.”

This raises a question that has puzzled me for some time. In general, people are very fond of dogs, treating them as much-loved members of the family. So how did ‘bitch’ become a slur? It is a word that I never use and it bothers me that it is used so casually, especially in the plural form, even when not aimed specifically at women but is used to describe something unpleasant, because its allusion is unavoidable. As for ‘dog’, Trump frequently uses that word to describe someone he sees as contemptible, and he is not alone in doing so.

I don’t get it.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    So how did ‘bitch’ become a slur?

    Ever seen how a dog in heat chases after male dogs (& vice-versa)?

    Ever seen a street prostitute trying to hustle some business from passing men?

    The parallels seem so obvious that “bitch” became a slang synonym for “whore”, then a handy word for demeaning women generally even after the etymology was long forgotten.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    To some extent, I think the slur is a holdover from Middle Eastern and other cultures that value dogs much less than modern western cultures do. After all, Rep. Yoho is just following the example of Jesus, who also called a woman a dog (Matthew 15:26).

  3. Ridana says

    Roger Williams was with Yoho but says that his mind was elsewhere and so could not comment.

    Just goes to show just how normal Williams finds it for men to accost women and call them bitches, huh. Most people would notice when someone they were with was picking a fight with someone else. (was that supposed to be a link there, or just red text emphasis?)

  4. Mano Singham says


    Sorry, that was supposed to be a link to what Williams said. It was a formatting error on my part that has been corrected.

  5. says

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib versus the establishment-owned congress.

    The Squad versus the squalid.

  6. mailliw says

    Having worked in bars and restaurants AOC has plenty of experience with dealing with obnoxious jerks of all kinds.

    As a general rule, never be rude to waiting staff, you never know what might end up in your food.

  7. Mark Dowd says

    This raises a question that has puzzled me for some time. In general, people are very fond of dogs, treating them as much-loved members of the family. So how did ‘bitch’ become a slur?

    This doesnt answer how, but I can tell you that I knew of bitch as a slur long before I knew it was an actual word. At that point it was more “fun fact trivia” than anything that affected my normal language usage. The slur usage far far far outnumbers the technical meaning. When I overheard a couple minutes of a dog show on TV, it was a bit jarring when I heard the announcer just say “bitch” like it was nothing.

    However it started, it has long since broke completely free from it’s original meaning and become a new thing.

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