Has Tchaikovsky ever been described as “sassy”?

Thursday, September 13th, 2012 · 13 Comments »

Today is the 193rd anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birth. She’s being honored with a Google Doodle, which is good, since Google Doodles tend to be overwhelmingly androcentric:

However, this is what you get when you click on the doodle:

Sassy? Sassy? There are few words more infantalizing than “sassy,” which is why you never hear it applied to men. Clara Schumann’s husband Robert Schumann has never been described as sassy. Chopin has never been described as sassy, nor has Liszt, nor has Brahms, nor has Beethoven, nor has Tchaikovsky. No sassiness there.

But a female composer? Gotta haul out the demeaning adjectives. It’s the linguistic equivalent of coating everything pink.

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13 Responses to “Has Tchaikovsky ever been described as “sassy”?”

  1. Boner Killer says:

    Ahh! this sort of thing drives me nuts! Reminds me of when people say “foxy boxing”

  2. robynsu says:

    Thanks….I noted that, too, and was already irritated they skipped over the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth. I was also glad to see a woman composer honored…and then that word.

  3. Adrienne in CA says:

    Not to mention surrounded by kiddies (the “oo” in Google just about b00b height). Who knows how many kids male composers had.

  4. cellocat says:

    Ok, great that she is mentioned in the Google doodle. Infuriating that they used that ridiculously inappropriate word. And I agree with Adrienne; you wouldn’t get from that depiction that she was a great pianist of distinction, and a highly accomplished composer. You get that she loves her kids, and is teaching them how to play piano. grrrr.

  5. anna says:

    The kids (to me anyway) make it difficult to see what she’s being honored for if you haven’t already heard of her. It looks like she was a music teacher – surely a male composer would not be shown with his kids, but writing music.

    By the way Violet, have you seen this website: http://awesomestuffwomendid.tumblr.com/

    I think it’s pretty good – it’s all about women’s accomplishments throughout history. If you scroll down, you’ll see they quoted from your post “Patriarchy in action: the New York Times rewrites history.”

  6. Branjor says:

    Actually, the guys who describe every achieving female as “sassy” are the sassy ones themselves.

  7. Sweet Sue says:

    Who knows how many kids male composers had?

    Raises hand. Bach sired twenty-count ‘em-twenty.

  8. Violet Socks says:

    I would pay cash money to see a Google Doodle of Bach with his 20 spawn.

  9. Historiann says:

    Maybe if she were less (or more?) sassy, she wouldn’t have had to surrender 6 of her 8 children? Seriously–that’s what I learned about Clara Schumann b/c of the Google doodle. She had an awful, tragic life! Sassy!

  10. Teresainpa says:

    Sue, I would like to know how many women died giving birth to Bach’s twenty children.

  11. Teresainpa says:

    all my comments are in moderation. Was I bad last time I was here? If so, I am sorry. I get that way sometimes. sigh

  12. Violet Socks says:

    No, I don’t know why you keep tripping The Filters.

  13. Donna says:

    I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of her, and by the picture I honestly thought she was a piano teacher.