Is it sexist to tell a female that they have their panties in a bunch?

After a female states their opinion about a controversial issue, would it be sexist to tell them that they have to get their panties out of a bunch? If so, why?

it is better than telling them their jockstrap is too tight.

Oh, Jeez.

We need much more info.

Is there any potential of a physical relationship with this female, or, conversely, are you looking to end one?

Heyoka, it’s much more abstract and less personal than that. Someone said that a blogger had her panties in a bunch for criticising The New York Times for printing quotes that seemed to blame an 11 year old girl for being raped by 18 men.

In any case, it is a personal comment rather than an argument on the merits of the issue.

So it comes close to an ad hominem attack (just not much of an ‘attack’). But certainly not a reasoned argument on the topic.

It’s sexist based on the assumption that all females and only females wear panties. It’s not sexist in the sense that many females and few male wear panties. There’s nothing wrong with sexism though, because people actually can be distinquished by sex. The problem is that it’s an insult, though kind of a mild one, and as t-b@s.n said, borders on an ad hominem attack. In my experience this epithet has been directed at men more often than women, because it is more insulting to most men.

Irrelevant to the question, but I would suggest women could avoid the problems associated with this insult if they were able to honestly respond, “I’m not wearing panties”.

When you drag a sexually specific term into an argument, then (besdes the ad hominem issue) you are implying that the person’s gender is part of her wrong (according to you) point of view; plus, the metaphor suggests it’s emotion and discomfort, not logic, that is guiding her point of view; and using female-specific garmentology, that it is because she is female. You may not intend to imply that (consciously, at least) but that is the message you are sending.

Is it sexist? Maybe. Could you have phrased it in a less gender-involving way, like “you’re an idiot!”? That’s just equal-opportunity insulting.

Seriously, if she’s got her panties in a knot, do you think you’ll convince her that you are right by saying so? OTOH, If you want to insult her, who cares whether it’s sexist?

It’s about as reasoned as saying, “Don’t have a cow, man,” but it piles on the sex of the person, whether you intend to be sexist or not. It’s sexist in as much as it is used with women more than men. Kind of the way hysterical was a long time ago, in that originally it could refer to only women.


Brilliant, by why must they be honest about it?

I suppose that would be my preference for how women should dress. It would still be an effective reply even if untrue.

I think the opposite is true. I usually hear the “panties in a bunch” insult directed at men, not women. It’s meant to be doubly insulting, because you’re implying that the person is acting like a woman and (obviously) wearing panties.

Since this is a matter of opinion, let’s try it in IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

That is so much better a reply than, “Of course it is, you nitwit.” Thank you.

(For extra points, please explain why ‘don’t get your knickers in a twist’ is so much less insulting.)

I’ve never considered it sexist, just a generic insult meaning “you’re being kind of illogical and crazy right now.” I’ve never associated it with any gender. It may partially because I consider “panties” just a generic term for “underwear” without any gender bias.

This, pretty much. There’s a long history of blowing off women’s opinions with accusations of being irrational, hysterical, strident or other terms that allowed us to be treated as stupid and safely ignored. ‘Panties in a bunch’ and its cruder cousin ‘knock the sand out of your vag’ infer that a woman’s opinion is borne from having a genital irritation as opposed to, you know, observation, knowledge or experience. I don’t see male opinions being denigrated with ‘oh, knock the crust off your dick’. Is ‘knickers in a twist’ less dismissive? I think so, at least in North America, because we don’t wear knickers. (YMMV in the UK, if they still say knickers) It’s like insulting someone’s horse. When you don’t own a horse, it’s not quite so personal an insult.

In US/Canada panties are exclusively female garments. Men wear underwear, boxers, briefs, or some other specific sort of gonch. If you say ‘panties’ it will be treated as a gender specific term, regardless of your personal definition.

Good point. But does “and the horse you rode in on” actually bother anyone?

On an episode of South Park, Cartman kept asking Kyle if he had sand in his vagina.

I can imagine that not going over very well, if the panty remark did not ignite the desired eruption . . .

The version I’m most familiar with (and which gets many Google hits) is the gender-free admonition not to get one’s “undies in a bundle.”

Well, if someone said ‘f-you and the car you drove here in!’, I’d giggle. Hardly anyone fucks cars

I grew up with “Don’t get your bowels in an uproar.” Avoids any gender issue, but now it’s internal! :stuck_out_tongue: