March 24, 2022

"I’m fairly certain womenfolk everywhere saw themselves in that statement and felt something deep inside their souls."

Writes Michele L. Norris, in "The timeless truth Ketanji Brown Jackson said out loud" (WaPo). 

Here's the statement in question (part of Jackson's opening statement): "I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done."

Norris's statement struck me as ludicrously sententious. I've steeled myself for all the usual boosting of a President's nomination, so I would normally slough this off. But something about that "womenfolk" and "soul" combination bothers me. Is there some talking down going on that's related to Jackson's race? (I can see that Michele L. Norris is identified as African American.)

It's quite odd to say "womenfolk" other than jocosely. I searched the WaPo archive for recent uses and came up with:

1. "Why is it that the guys who look as though they’ve never so much as pushed a lawn mower are always the ones who want to saddle up and save the womenfolk?" (from "Opinion: Josh Hawley is unfit to raise the flag on behalf of males" by Kathleen Parker, November 12, 2021).

 2. "Owners and general managers, apparently, don’t want to hire a guy who looks like he’s about to pillage a hamlet and steal the pigs amid the lamentations of the womenfolk" (from "Sports Thursday: Brady better than Manning?" by Joel Achenbach, January 16, 2014).

3. "These will be the womenfolks’s gifts until 2015, and I am TOTALLY the favorite, I’ve gotten all the big ones so far" (from "Carolyn Hax Holiday Hootenanny Guide to: Gift-giving" by Jessica Stahl, December 12, 2013).

54 comments:

Misinforminimalism said...

Well the Nazis had Herrenvolk (master race), I guess third(?) wave feminism has Frauenvolk.

RideSpaceMountain said...

"I’m fairly certain womenfolk everywhere saw themselves in that statement and felt something deep inside their souls." - Michelle Norris

Me: How do you Mz. Norris.

Norris: I don't know, I'm not a philosopher.

holdfast said...

This is very confusing.

If one cannot define the word “woman”, then how can one possibly define the compound word “womenfolk”?

RideSpaceMountain said...

"I’m fairly certain womenfolk everywhere saw themselves in that statement and felt something deep inside their souls."

Debunked. Most women aren't theologians. How would they know.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Oh GMAFB.

Timeless truth, women and minorities hardest hit. If only we had black women in high profile roles so little black girls everywhere could see them as role models and aspire to be great themselves….

How’d that work out with the “First Black Female VP?”

She’s another leftist, first and foremost. I already have a pretty good sense of the entitled dreck to which she’s going to sign her name as a Justice.

She’s gonna compete with the so-called “wise Latina” for most politically motivated decisions. SS is by far the dumbest of the 9.

madAsHell said...

Judge Jackson can't define a women, but her soaring rhetoric strikes a chord with all women.

Frankly, I don't find Judge Jackson to be very candid. I don't think she's very bright either.

Enigma said...

Saying womenfolk and soul reflects a regional, subcultural dialect. Nothing more.

Wince said...

Norris's statement struck me as ludicrously sententious... But something about that "womenfolk" and "soul" combination bothers me.

Their radical agenda isn't polling well, so Norris is trying to make her sound folksy and traditional.

rhhardin said...

Women are not serious people. Men normally talk down to them lest they get in trouble. I don't know that this woman/woman instance is talking down but just code shifting, though plainly the commentator believes herself to be smarter than the judge.

RideSpaceMountain said...

KBJ can't define "woman", she's not a biologist. Biden's Violence Against Women Act hardest hit. News at 11.

Lyssa said...

As a woman who has a serious career and 2 young children, I always bristle when the discourse seems to think my whole life is a juggle to balance these. I realize I’m lucky - my job is demanding but not unreasonable, my husband stays with the kids, and we’ve been blessed with virtually no unusual challenges. But I really don’t feel I’m being seen as an equal to the men when so much focus is put on the assumed struggles rather then my competencies.

Sebastian said...

"I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood."

OMG. Not that again.

"Norris's statement struck me as ludicrously sententious."

Face it, you're just not in touch with things anymore. You're not still thinking feminism was about women being equal and such, are you?

"Is there some talking down going on that's related to Jackson's race?"

But the talking down is now a way of talking up.

Lurker21 said...

That would be a good entry in a "books that never got written" competition. "The Souls of Womenfolk" by WEB DuBois.

Will Cate said...

"sententious"

I've learned a new word today!

tommyesq said...

"I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood." Said the women who lets child pornographers off easy and questions whether they should be subject to any restrictions post-jail.

Oh well. At least she "fully admit[s] that that [she] did not always get the balance right."

wendybar said...

Lefties consider Lia Thomas a female even though he has a penis and likes girls. He sucked when he swam as a male...so he pretended to be female so he could smash records...and leftie females are comparing him to Jackie Robinson. It must be fun to live in make believe land.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Without a clear definition of womenfolk it’s unpossible for me to contextualize or understand what exactly the writer says here.

wendybar said...

How did Joe Biden know that Ketanji is a female, if she doesn't know if she is or not??

tommyesq said...

Good thing men never have to balance work/fatherhood. I would hate to see the reaction if someone wrote about "menfolk" these days.

Michael K said...

The poor dear. Not only can't she define "woman" but she needs "Chairman Time."

Durbin "clarifying" her answers. Poor dear.

hombre said...

Perhaps Sen. Blackburn went wrong by asking Jackson to define "woman" instead of asking her to define "womenfolk."

Better yet, Matt Walsh might have asked, "When a trans says he identifies 'as a woman,' what is it, exactly, that he identifies as?

Or, when QuidProJoe said he would appoint a black "woman," what did he mean?

Howard said...

"Womenfolk" harkens me back to the good old pre-Sufferage days of Louisa Mae Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe she's using "womenfolk" in an effort to be more inclusive...kinda like at Penn where they say "swimminfolk."

EAB said...

I’m so over the whole professional-women-finding-balance schtick - citing motherhood as some qualifier because they managed to balance it with a successful career. I’ve heard this mantra for what seems forever - since I was a teen and college student thought the 70s. After all these years, it’s just tedious. We all know it’s hard, blah, blah, blah. So stop beating that drum. You aren’t special, so stop asking for that gold sticker. (Addressed to women in general.)

Bob Boyd said...

How did Joe Biden know that Ketanji is a female, if she doesn't know if she is or not??

She passed the sniff test.

Kevin said...

You know what else is hard?

Having a challenging career and being present in your kids' lives when you're a man.

madAsHell said...

Isn't there some community sensitivity when you address a crowd of African-Americans as "You folk." ??

gilbar said...

serious question (about 'womenfolk')

Ms Jackson Brown said
'And the woman who I admire most in the world is in the room today - my mother'

Serious Question: HOW does she know? IF you don't even know what a woman is; how do you know?

Charlie said...

Cory Booker said "folk" once or twice yesterday..........it's a dog-whistle term.

Iman said...

1. Kathleen Parker was A-OK with MomJeans 0bama. ‘nuff said…

Iman said...

Ketanji Brown Jackson keeps mentioning women, and how proud she is to be a part of this historic event for all women.

But she doesn’t know what makes a woman?

BUMBLE BEE said...

She's not strong, she's not invincible... she's not woman.

Misinforminimalism said...

Kevin: You know what else is hard?

Having a challenging career and being present in your kids' lives when you're a man.


1. Excellent show of willpower in your response to your own setup.
2. Feminists are fine with "rearing children is women's work" when it suits them.

Static Ping said...

Women are very important, unless you do not know what a woman is because you are not a biologist, despite the word having a perfectly good legal definition and said definition being vital to properly interpreting multitudes of laws, except legal definitions are changed at the whim of the Supreme Court whenever they really, really, really want to get a certain outcome, and in any case women would all agree that the child porn sentences should be relaxed, especially for women, whatever those are. DIGNITY!

These are not serious people. They are dangerous people, but not serious people.

Bob Boyd said...

KJB was smart not to try to define "woman". If she had, no matter what she said, she'd have been attacked and destroyed by a network swarm coming from the left. They'd have tried to cancel her as a TERF or transphobe or some species of right wing gender nazi.
There's no possible right answer to that question in that context today.

Lem said...

1980’s comedy “Soul Man” : In order to win a scholarship, Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell), the white son of an affluent psychiatrist, pretends to be black on his application form. When he's accepted, he alters his hair, skin and speech to conceal his true identity.

PM said...

Her saying 'womenfolk' is like Barack saying 'folks' to the brothers. A friendly, familiar way of saying 'I'm you.'

Christopher B said...

Kevin said...
You know what else is hard?

Having a challenging career and being present in your kids' lives when you're a man.


heck, you don't even have to have a challenging career, as someone once noted.

effinayright said...

RideSpaceMountain said...
KBJ can't define "woman", she's not a biologist. Biden's Violence Against Women Act hardest hit. News at 11
*******************

Can anyone imagine KBJ presiding over a Title IX case and ruling that the law is "void for vagueness" because it doesn't specify what a "sex" is?

I can.

Joe Smith said...

Will some womenfolk please make me a goddamn sandwich?

I said 'please.'

Wa St Blogger said...

In the SCOTUS nomination circus, if you don't know who the clown is...

RideSpaceMountain said...

Whitney Houston was clearly not 'every woman'. It 'was not' all in her. She wasn't a biologist.

FullMoon said...

Womenfolk, for me, conjures images of long dresses, bonnets and covered wagons.

Owen said...

Don't we go back with Folk to Volk and thus to a primordial racial summons? "Folks" comes at you at an insidious level: below any intellectual/conceptual point, the point where you are being asked or challenged to consider the categories of people involved in the debate, and the arguments they might make. No, it's below that, it's down at the aw-shucks neighborly Racial Instinct Blood level.

When people say "folks," run. Especially today, as the Democrat PR spinners have discovered it.

Achilles said...

Iman said...

Ketanji Brown Jackson keeps mentioning women, and how proud she is to be a part of this historic event for all women.

But she doesn’t know what makes a woman?


She knows what a woman is when it is time for Affirmative Action handouts.

Achilles said...

Just like Elizabeth Warren knows what a native american is when she is applying for a job.

farmgirl said...

https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/23/if-ketanji-brown-jackson-doesnt-know-what-a-woman-is-why-does-she-use-the-word-so-much/

Via Ace of Spades

Womenfolk sounds somewhat demeaning in this day and age- even if appearing to be quaint.
Like: wimmin. Like a peasant.

Like me.

rhhardin said...

I never considered myself as having a serious career. It was mostly random stuff tied together by stuff I enjoyed.

This is why women are always so angry on the topic. They're not doing stuff they enjoy, instead doing stuff men enjoy.

traditionalguy said...

“Womenfolk” designate the most ancient division of labor ever known among the folk including the menfolk. Womenfolk carry en ventra sa mere the young folk so that the tribe goes on more than 40 years. It defeats the rule against perpetuity of the tribe.

Narayanan said...

Asked when does life begin, she said, "Senator, um... I don't know."
=========
dear Professora/ commenters on this blog >>> hope you provide context with video and analysis

farmgirl said...

“dear Professora/ commenters on this blog >>> hope you can provide context with video and academic and erudite analysis…”

Pretty sure we could, in illustration.
Oh, darn. All those images of limbs, torsos &little featured heads are too graphic to display publicly…

Iman said...

Damn straight, Achilles!

Gunner said...

Kathleen Parker is conserving conservatism so hard, you guys...

Saint Croix said...

But something about that "womenfolk" and "soul" combination bothers me. Is there some talking down going on that's related to Jackson's race?

No. Obama used to use the "folks" word to humanize himself and to endear himself to ordinary people. The Democrats are worried about their "woke" ideology sounding insane to ordinary people.

So the author is trying to reach out to ordinary folks and comfort them. Not just "folk" but "womenfolk," which is insanely old-fashioned.

She's got the word "woman" on her brain because Jackson's failure to know what a woman is, or even to talk about it, strikes a lot of people as sort of crazy.

Jackson may or may not be confirmed. But if she's rejected, it will be the woman problem that trips her up.

Any Republican who votes against her can simply say, "She doesn't know what a woman is."

It's similar to the leftist deconstruction of the word "person." You focus on what they are doing to ordinary (and important) words in American law, and you attack them on it. Their deconstruction of words goes hand-in-hand with their dictatorial opinions and make-shit-up jurisprudence.