Powerful Women Are Icky

[Content Note: Sexual violence; misogyny.]

Earlier today, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced former Olympic gymnastics doctor and serial sex abuser Larry Nassar in her courtroom, and did not contain her feelings about Nassar and his crimes while doing so.

While lots of survivors and our allies celebrated Judge Aquilina's palpable disdain for Nassar, a number of male journalists felt it was important to publicly complain about her tone.

Jonathan Chait tweeted: "Statements by the survivors have been extraordinary. A judge performing like this leaves me cold."

Armando Llorens tweeted: "I'm asking for it here but the judge isn't an advocate for parties. They're supposed to be impartial."

Matt Yglesias tweeted (and then deleted): "Larry Nassar is clearly an evil man, but I don't care for the judicial grandstanding and dunking on the convict from the bench."

As I further noted on Twitter, one of the phrases that I have had in my rhetorical arsenal for more than a decade is: "I'm not offended; I'm contemptuous." The reason it is evergreenly useful, in my experience, is because lots of men misidentify as inappropriate anger, or some variation thereof, what is actually women's contempt.

Judge Aquilina was full-tilt contemptuous. And that was entirely appropriate. Contempt is 100% the correct governance of interactions with a person who has committed sexual violence against dozens of girls.

Her contempt was on behalf of those girls. Her contempt was on behalf of survivors of sexual violence everywhere who have been denied justice. Her contempt wasn't, however, for smug fucks who squirm at evidence of earnest contempt for unfathomable harm.

I valued that contempt. That contempt felt more like justice (to me) than even the sentence delivered, because it is even rarer than convictions.

I think there are a number of reasons why some number of men didn't value Judge Aquilina's contempt, but one thing is disappointingly evident:

Even when that woman is an esteemed judge, and the man is a serial sex abuser.

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