Quite Possibly the Most Sexist Phrase in the World

Recently, I've only been able to catch up on my blog-reading very, very late at night (it's 2:59 am as I type this).

In some ways, I think that's a good thing, because much of the crap I've seen being slung around about Sarah Palin has been just mind-boggle-ingly awful from a feminist perspective, and being too tired to get absolutely infuriated is probably better for my blood pressure.

The phrase most often seen that galls me?

The phrase that I have come to see as Quite Possibly the Most Sexist Phrase in the World (QPMSPW)?

I'd hit that.

You're probably asking yourself: "Why, Portly, why? Why is this simple, innocent expression of natural human lust QPMSPW?"

Well, can you say "feminist deconstruction"?

I thought you could.

Let's proceed, shall we?

A. Aside from the quite obvious de-personalization implicit in the chosen pronouns: I'd (I would -- implying me, an individual who is human) -- hit -- that (that thing, that object, that being so devoid of humanity that they don't deserve a pronoun denoting personhood), there is also the subtler subtext of violence that becomes apparent if you simply change the pronouns ("I'd hit her/him", "I'd hit you").

And hey -- if you think I'm being too feministy-picky-sensitivy about language -- well, hell -- let's just forego item A., and move right on to item B:

B. This phrase: "I'd hit that" -- is nearly always -- nearly 100% of the time -- a followup to some extreme criticism of the person in question. As in: "Her politics suck ass and but ...... I'd hit that," or "She's a screaming right-wing nutcase, but ....... I'd hit that," or, "That said ......... I'd hit that". (These are all true-life comments from at least three different blogs I follow -- and these are the milder examples of what I've seen).

So, examining the real meaning of item B, what is actually being said is this:

"Even if I find someone to be completely and totally morally repugnant to me -- even if I think and say that their attitudes and politics are toxic waste and horrifically awful and unthinkably bad and terrifyingly wrong, and absolutely, positively, palpably dangerous to my nation and my world -- if that person fits the cultural definition of teh hawtness closely enough, I would still willingly tangle my very body up with theirs in an act which would place me in the most intimate proximity to their toxic-awful-bad-wrong-dangerousness . . . . . . ."

(Oh, and I forgot to add the last part of the sentence)

". . . . because that's just the kind of complete dick-for-brains idiot that I am."

(Oh, and I forgot to add the other last part of the sentence)

" . . . . . . . . and I'll just keep saying it over and over and over again, because even if people don't admit it, underneath it all, everyone actually does get that the quickest way to neutralize a woman's power in this culture is to reduce her to a FuckObject whose only note-worthy quality is fuckability or non-fuckability, and if I say it often enough (even though I know that I have a snowball's chance in hell of actually having any opportunity to 'hit that') then everyone around me will remember that women are just here to be our whores and our mothers. Never our presidents. Never our bosses. Never anyone who might ever have any personal agency to say: 'No thank you, I'm not interested in you 'hitting' me'."

(Much shorter PortlyDyke: When you say that you would have sex with someone who you hate and abhor, you look like an asshat.)

Posted byPortlyDyke at 2:59 AM  


lauredhel said... September 4, 2008 at 8:24 AM  

Yikes! The first time around, I read this "Quite Possibly the Most Sexiest Phrase in the World", spluttered, spent the rest of the post thinking, "What twisted satire is this, TPD?!", then finally went back and got it right.

Plus, great post. "I'd tap that ass" also frosts my bikkies.

kkryno said... September 5, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

PD, I must say that you said it perfectly! I hate those type of remarks, and don't understand why people who say these things can't see the damage they do to others as well as themselves; and society in general. A person just cheapens human-kind with this type
of "dialogue," and ift does nothing to lift all of us up to a better level. As always you cut through the carp and make it all clear. Thank you.

Anonymous said... September 6, 2008 at 12:49 AM  

Once again! Say IT LIKE IT IS~~ Sistah!
I so enjoy your juicy locutions, parlance & discourse~~~ (I know I am being redundant...couldn't resist...)
In gratitude, ZuvuYah

NameChanged said... September 6, 2008 at 10:00 AM  

I hate "hit that!" It makes me want to hit stuff! I feel that it is as violent as you infer. It turns lust into a violent feeling, which is a sneeze away from rape.

Way to go PD!

Lauren said... September 6, 2008 at 11:49 PM  

That snowball's chance bit is probably my favorite part of the "I'd hit that" attitude (where "favorite" means "totally not favorite at all"). It's a way for dudes to elevate themselves above women.

"Sarah Palin is a member of the sex class. I get to choose whether or not I'd have sex with her, without thinking about whether she'd have sex with me. It's a one-sided decision, after all, because women are sex objects, not talking, thinking humans."

To any dude who says he'd hit Sarah Palin: She would not hit you, dearest.

Fannie said... September 11, 2008 at 1:17 PM  

Are the guys saying such things "liberal" bloggers, by chance?

If so, it doesn't surprise me in the least that recent polls show some women have shifted from Obama to McCain. If anything, the McCain/Palin ticket will bring to light some pretty ugly sexist attitudes lurking on the left.

(I'm trying to think positively here)

Michelle said... April 20, 2009 at 6:35 AM  

So I'll probably get murdered in this particular conversation but I wanted to get my two cents in. I hear that phrase more from my straight female friends when refering to an attractive man than I hear men saying it about women. I don't find it particularly sexist. Or violent for that matter.

Let me explain myself.

The reason that the phrase is not sexist is the very reason TPD argued it is: there is no gendered pronoun to speak of. "I" can be freely used by a person of any gender, and "that" can refer to anyone or anything, freeing it of a necessary reference to one sex or another. I personally could say that about anything, I'd hit that chick, that dude, or if that happens to be my thing, I could use it to refer to something that isn't human at all. I could even use it in reference to a particularly choice item in my local sex shop.

As for the word hit being violent, it's really a moot point. Lots of people use violent words to describe sex just because it can get a little rough ("bumping uglies" is my favorite). And the word hit is very often used to describe un-violent things: "hit the top" or "hit the road", idioms even the most PC person amongst us can't argue are too violent to use. It's just part of the design of the modern English language.

So while "I'd hit that" is not a terribly sexy phrase, I don't agree that it's sexist.

There. I didn't hold back because I didn't want to hurt myself.

Anonymous said... January 6, 2011 at 10:31 PM  

I agree with Michelle. Does it make me a sexist asshat to say that I'd Hit That Fine Piece of Tail I see walking down the street, or does it only apply when a man is saying it to a woman?


P.S. I find it a terribly sexy phrase indeed, especially when coupled with an elongated "DAAAAaaaaAAAAAaaamn!"

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