‘The View’ Host Sunny Hostin: ‘Calling Someone Hysterical Is Sexist’

• June 16, 2017 1:27 pm


The ladies of ABC's "The View" on Friday discussed Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "sexist" interruption of Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) during her questioning period at his committee hearing earlier this week, causing co-host Sunny Hostin to say that "calling someone hysterical is sexist."

The co-hosts played a clip from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in which Harris attempted to cut off Sessions from finishing his answer to speed along her questioning. She was asking Sessions about his communications with Russian officials.

"Sir, sir, I have just a few minutes," Harris said.

"Well, will you let me qualify it," Sessions responded. "If I don't qualify it, you'll accuse me of lying. So I need to be correct as best I can. I'm not able to be rushed this fast; it makes me nervous."

Co-host Joy Behar responded to the clip, "Don't get your panties in a twist. My goodness."

She went on to report that former Trump aide Jason Miller said that Harris was being "hysterical" in her reaction to being interrupted.

"Would you ever use the word hysterical against a male senator," Behar asked her fellow co-hosts.

"They would never do it. And I know Kamala Harris," Hostin said. "And what I think is so offensive is that she is the most even-keeled, stately person that you will meet. I mean she is a former prosecutor and she was using that experience to sort of cross examine him. Don't we want that?"

"You want that, but you still have to let him qualify, you still have to let them finish. He wasn't done speaking," Jedediah Bila said. "In this setting and this climate, the more information the better, so I think you can qualify as much information as you need to."

The women went on to delve further into Miller's use of the word "hysterical."

"The interesting thing about the word hysterical is it's a word with a female-baiting history from hystericus, which was once a common medical diagnosis reserved exclusively for women sending them uncontrollably insane, sometimes causing, they would have to perform a hysterectomy," Sara Haines said. "So it's actually just unique to a woman and her uterus."

Behar went on to dissect the Greek meaning.

"It's a Greek word: hysterical, hysteria, I guess, which means uterus, as in ‘grab them by the …' Like that," she said.

Bila tried to pull the discussion back to Harris.

"If you watch her, and I've watched her repeatedly, she doesn't often times let people answer the question. That's a fact," Bila said of Harris. "You need to be really careful in this country or anywhere when you label everything sexist. She's a big girl; she's smart; she's confident; she's capable. I don't need to feel sorry for her in this situation."

"Calling someone hysterical is sexist," Hostin responded.

"Do you know how many headlines I read that said, ‘Oh she was interrupted?' So what? We all get interrupted at this table all the time. Does that make us sexist?" Bila asked.

"They don't do it to men, not on that committee," Hostin said.

"Do you remember the Bernie Sanders-Hillary Clinton debates where Bernie Sanders was labeled sexist because he was trying to get his points out," Bila said. "I was looking at that and saying, ‘There was nothing sexist about it.' And too many people are leaping to inject that word sexism into too much commentary."

"There is real sexism; there is real racism; there's all of these -isms; there are real examples of that," she continued. "But when we rush to say ‘this is sexist' immediately, all the time, or ‘this is racist,' I think we demean those actual instances where it happens."