Newt Gingrich: You are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy.
Megyn Kelly: Me, really?
Newt Gingrich: That’s what I get out of watching you tonight.
Megyn Kelly: You know what, Mr. Speaker? I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office, and I think the American people would like to know…”
There’s a clip going around of Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich sparring over the sexual harassment accusations levied at Donald Trump. I saw it retweeted on my timeline several times, but I was hesitant to watch it for several reasons. One, I have a hard time watching people defend sexual harassment, and I was sure Gingrich was going to attempt to do that. Two, it’s Fox. I don’t watch Fox if i can possibly help it. Three, I loathe Gingrich for many reasons, some of which I’ll delve into later. In short, I didn’t think I’d be able to watch it with equanimity. What changed my mind? Seeing several people marvel at how Megyn Kelly handled Gingrich. I decided to watch it.
It went about as I expected, at least on Newt Gingrich’s side. He was pompous and patronizing, interrupting Kelly several times. When he couldn’t interrupt her, he simply talked over her. It’s something very common to dudes–talking over women and interrupting them, I mean. Side note: I did a simple study for my Gender and Psychology class in college in which I sat in on four classes. One was a male-dominated class (math). Two were neutral classes (can’t remember what they were), and one was my own Gender and Psychology class. In these classes, I didn’t say anything. I simply observed who interrupted whom and made a tally. The results were startling and depressing. Men interrupted men; men interrupted women; women interrupted women, but women never interrupted men. Even when the teacher was a woman (such as my Gender and Psychology class), they didn’t interrupt their male students. I expected to find that women rarely interrupted men, but never? That was a sobering discovery. Obviously, it’s a really rough sample and a crude study, but I would bet it’s not far off the mark. There have been legitimate studies on this subject, and it’s clear that men interrupt women more than they interrupt men. Women also interrupt women more than they do men. The jury is out as to the reason (including geographical difference in speech patterns, a play for dominance, and establishment of intimacy); indeed, it may be different reasons in different situations.