City Desk

Is Peter Nickles’ ‘Angry Woman’ Comment Sexist? Yes.

Peter Nickles

I know the fight between AG Peter Nickles and Councilmember Mary Cheh is getting a lot of play on City Desk. LL noted it. And our Weekend in Reviewer picked it up as well. I think it needs a third look. WaPo wrote on Sunday:

“It’s almost becoming a lawless administration,” said council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3). “They seem to have no limits or restraint on what they are willing to do.”

Attorney General Peter Nickles, who often speaks on behalf of the administration, said Cheh “has no idea what she’s talking about.” “For her to make comments like that, it’s stupid,” he said. “She’s an angry woman.”

What struck me was Nickles' blatant sexism (which DCist picked up on). Nickles' comment that "she's an angry woman" feels like he's channeling Mad Men. It's made all the more ironic considering that Nickles had played the race and gender card over the very topic he and Cheh are fighting about: Ximena Hartsock.

I don't care if Cheh is an accomplished lawyer/professor/councilmember. Nickles fights are getting increasingly personaly with Cheh. It's not doing him any favors.

Nickles owes Cheh an apology. He's a tough lawyer. He should be able to come up with a better retort than the tired "angry woman" cliche.

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Jim

    "Angry woman" is a cliche? What about "angry man"? "Angry bear"? Man, this blog post is stupid.

  • Skipper

    Jason, you're an angry man.

    Oh wait, does that mean I now owe you an apology for being sexist?

    If I were to call Cheh a typical, nanny-state liberal, would that also be deemed as sexist?

    Seriously, -1 for your post.

  • huh?

    I don't really understand why Jim and Skipper are defending Peter Nickles. Please explain. What's the point?

  • CastedClass

    I agree with Jason and huh. Nickles and hell, even Barry at times, reduce logical concerns of governmental transparency to personal snipes at the ones who raise their voices. Referring to her as an Angry Woman, regardless of how "cliche" it is, is an attempt to diminish her very reasonable conclusion about Fenty's approach. Maybe everyone would be more upset if Nickles had said about Thomas, Gray, Barry or the Browns, that their questioning of Fenty's administration is a result of them being "Angry Black Men"- also a "cliche".

  • candycane1

    I hope she's good and angry like the rest of us angry female taxpayers who are fed up with Fenty and his criminal circle of friends. I hope she is as angry as those of us who would like to see Fenty in jail, Nickles disbarred, Hartsock gone like the ones she fired, Rhee investigated by the FBI, disgraced and becoming the laughing stock of the nation regarding education, the CFO gone, Neil Albert-gone, the five councilmembers that love Fenty-gone. Did I miss anybody? There are so many angry women out here but the good thing about it is that we are joined by just as many angry men who want them all gone too.

  • candycane1

    BTW: She wasn't angry when she voted against him as AG, she was just being smart and knew that he would be the disaster that he really is and that is what has had his boxers in a tight bunch ever since.(ouch)

  • Bill

    The statement by Mr. Nichols is unbecoming for an "angry old man" who happens to be in a position (DC attorney general) that is suppose to be supportive of the law and applied correctly in accordnace with existing statutes and court decisions. It appears that Mr Nichols is stealing past ideas from the Dick Cheny School of Government.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Nickles's statement was clearly sexist & used in an attempt to denigrate Ms. Cheh. Nickles should be sent to a re-education camp for five years to learn respect for women & for the proletariat.

  • Skipper

    If Nickels had said Cheh was an angry nutcase, would that have been sexist? Or perhaps mentally handicapped-ist?

    It was an over-the-top, off-the-cuff response. No need to psychoanalyze it.

    And yes, Cheh has been angry at Nickels since he got rid of Cheh's buddy Linda Singer as the AG.

  • huh?

    Wow. Okay? Skipper, it doesn't matter whether Nickles' response was off the cuff. I don't think anyone needs to psychoanalyze it, people are just calling the statement what it is: sexist.

    Perhaps you need to sit down with someone who can tell you about the years when women were marginalized for being "too emotional" and "unstable" to handle serious jobs. I think what Cherkis was pointing out in this post is that Nickles' statement reflects those neanderthal-like sentiments.

    And Nickles didn't call Cheh an angry nutcase, so I don't see how putting forward this alternative statement merits any response. We shouldn't be dealing in what-ifs.

  • downtown rez

    Why stop there, "huh?", when you could go back to Susan B Anthony and suffrage?
    Agree with Skipper that the whole thing just seems so... personal.

  • CastedClass

    Great way to marginalize it Skip. Nickles would be content. The phrase itself Angry Woman takes away for the legitimacy of her reservations with Fenty and Nickles. You are the one doing the deep analyst of the meaning because of it while the rest of us are simply saying, it's not right and appropriately deemed "sexist". Nickles comment wasn't meant to point out or emphasize that she was angry, but rather, she was an angry woman, which has a tremendously dismissive quality to it. I guess I shouldn't expect you to understand because though you are the overanalyzing it, you haven't really thought much about it.

  • just sayin

    Eleanor Holmes Norton = "Wild Woman", self-described. Discuss.
    Cheh is, as others have pointed out, angry. Rightly so. Cheh is also a woman. Mr. "I am the law" Nickles is an insensitive jerk. But Cheh is still an angry woman.

  • huh?

    It's crazy that people are really defending this statement. I just don't see the point. You're not doing yourselves any favors.

    You Fenty supporters are trying to win an election next year, remember? Doesn't sound like you're that interested in it though.

  • MikedaDyke

    I don't get it either. I can't see how a person as smart and sophisticated as Cheh be marginalized by these morons. Maybe we should use this logic to refute their comments.

    Here goes.

    Just Saying- Your ass is too ghetto to say anything.

    Skipper- You sound like a royal cunt

    Rez- You are a royal cunt.

    Ah, that feels much better. Now I don't have to take them seriously.

  • Jamie

    It is sexist. If there was no relevance to her being female, then why use the word "woman?"

    For those who think he's just being accurate, would you have a problem with a term like "angry black woman" or "angry bald man?"

    Those are equally accurate about black women and bald men. And equally irrelevant. Their intention is only to diminish the target with implication that being a "black woman" or "bald man" makes them lesser somehow. It is offensive and juvenile.

  • Pingback: NBC-4 Takes On Nickles’ Sexism With Sexist Headline - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Hill Rat

    Nickles comment needlessly inject Cheh's gender into a discussion where it was totally irrelevant in an attempt to diminish her position. Calling that sexist is a pretty easy call.

    There are degrees of sexism. If Tucker Max is a 10 on the sexism scale, I would rate this about a 3, but it's still sexist.

  • Ward 5

    Funny, I watched her on Fox 5 news this morning and "angry" would have been the last word I used to describe her.

    Nickles is just an unprofessional, arrogant, jerk and that's putting it nicely.

    Keep fighting him Cheh!!!

  • Jason Cherkis

    Hill Rat: I would rate Nickles' sexism a 7 considering he's our Attorney General. And Cheh is an accomplished councilmember/law professor.

  • downtown rez

    @ MikedaDyke
    Cheh: They know no bounds. They are lawless!
    Nickles: That's stupid! You're an angry woman.

    It's so obviously personal. Perhaps in that, CP should reconsider its stance on whether it's a catfight.

    OMG! Did I just inadvertently offended cats and insecure women everywhere?

  • Truth Hurts

    DRez is correct here, which makes neither Cheh nor Nickles right. Both should know better than to publicly sling these kinds of insults at one another. Let's see who is first to acknowlege that he/she was wrong.

  • Angry Al Gonzales

    Skipper- You sound like a royal cunt. Rez- You are a royal cunt. MikedaDyke - you are correct.

  • downtown rez

    Mad Al:
    I object you your objectification of women in calling me a "cunt". I am 100% sure your use of the word "cunt" offended someone, somewhere, who had nothing better to do than to be offended!
    Perhaps it even offended some highly accomplished female who is busier, smarter, more powerful, and makes more per year than all the people posting on this blog do combined!
    Who will speak for that hypothetical person? The person who is too busy throwing stones and otherwise living her life to comment on others' opinion that she has been insulted?
    Oh, wait, Kwame will.

  • Truth Hurts

    Yeah, just ask Kwame. He's the guy.

  • Skipper

    @huh: Would you like me to call you a whaaaambulance? Take off the skirt, put on some pants, and take a big gulp of STFU.

  • law student

    Cheh keeps saying that Nickles breaks laws but Nickles keeps winning in court. Even the child care legislation that Cheh is blaming Hartsock for is flawed. Cheh is losing on all grounds because her hate for Fenty is driving her insane. She is angry because she is losing the confidence from the morons in the council who onced trusted her- she is also angry because she is losing the confidence of Ward 3 residents. She is talking too much, making wrong alliances in the council, and getting carried away by her hate. She is smart woman but not smart enough to know when to quit.

  • stupidpeople

    Hartsock was also bullied and undermined for being a woman...but that wasn't sexist wasn't? Cheh is angry, Candycane is angry---but who cares?

    0 for this post

  • Jason Cherkis

    What is Nickles winning in court? Please tell me. I can't think of one victory: AHOD, the police roadblocks, CFSA, Pershing Park, the gun case. All losers.

  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Jamie analyzes the issue perfectly; JC's insight is accurate. Law student - learn welding. It's a better job, & you obviously have no idea on what "winning" means, so, since law is a win-or-lose profession, you'd be better off in a different career.

    As for Skippy, D Rex, & the others - when you are the target of ad hominem smears, you won't be so pleased with yourself. You're just like most people: if someone unfairly targets your race, gender, etc., you're all upset but if it's someone else's race, gender, etc., well, then it's OK & the person complaining is the problem. You all need several years in a good communist re-education camp.

  • Wise Angry Womyn

    Yeah, this is a stretch. Should he have called her an "angry man," or what? She is a woman for Pete's sake. We seem to be fast approaching the moment in our society when no words may be used at all to refer to any person except "person." Perhaps even that will be objected to for pointing out that the entity in question is not an ox, streetlamp, slice of pizza...

  • Tina

    What do you mean, "what is Nickles winning in court?" He won the challenge to the out of state gay marriage lawsuit over the summer, he keeps beating back the irrational police union in their nonsensical litigation (please note that arbitrators NEVER rule for the government), DC seems certain to win the 2005 anti-inaugural arrest case on appeal, among others. I know you don't like the guy, but his team of lawyers does win cases.

  • Comrade Angry Al Gonzales

    Tina, you must be Pete's PR person. The police union is kicking Petey's ass [what about the recent suspension of the local's president? you lost! that's what], the gay marriage lawsuit was a sitting duck, & Petey will NOT win the arrest case on appeal. Nice try, you spin like a Washington spinmeister general, but - you lose. Pete loses.

    &, sadly, the District loses until this clown Nickles is kicked to the curb.

  • Chehrish

    Cheh is awesome. Did you all see the disposition she held over the Sousa ambulance thing with our main man Moten as the witness. Her and anger doesn't equate because if it was me, I would have jumped over that desk and bitch slapped Moten's wannabe gangsta ass. However, she clowned on a different level, being patient to his erratic demands and bullish statements. She never buckled even once and though she talked down to him, she didn't have a choice, because he's just that stupid. I can't see how anyone could want to bash her for raising concerns about the lack of transparency in the Fenty's administration. She's looking out for our best interest and as a result gets bashed, in a very personal manner, over this. I don't understand this.

    Cheh is fucking awesome. Nickle and his lowness Fenty, needs to be in jail.

  • Tired of the BS

    Geez, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse. Nickles brought her flowers today (because, hey, that's what you give an angry woman, right?) by way of apology. Cheh coyly responded that she likes chocolate too.

    These two deserve each other.

    And I've got a strong suspicion Chehrish doesn't live in Ward 3. Remember that the Sosua hearings were closed door at Cheh's/Mendelson's behest and Moten forced his own testimony into a public context. Did any report or follow-up come out of that investigation? I don't think so. Cheh's just a Perry Mason wannabe -- she sucks as a Councilmember/representative. But hey, as long as you're enjoying the show...

  • E.C.D.C.

    @ 30 I think you're missing a few things tho ... it's not always the word(s) it's the obvious meaning of meaning(s) behind whatever you say/said.