Please note, “pillow fight” can now be considered an offensive term, according to one of the country’s most powerful LGBT advocacy organizations.
GLAAD objected to language that described sparring between Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in the Thursday edition of Politico’s Playbook PM newsletter. “The South Bend mayor has been testing an outsider message in a field dominated by D.C. insiders, but he’s been a bit sidetracked by his pillow fight with Elizabeth Warren,” wrote the authors.
This displeased GLAAD. Friday’s Playbook newsletter included a note from the group’s director of news and rapid response.
“For women and LGBTQ people at the workplace, hearing phrases like ‘dramatic,’ ‘over the top,’ and even ‘pillow fight’ during office disagreements fosters negative stereotypes and diminishes a person simply because of who they are. Disagreements happen in politics, but using these loaded terms during disputes feed into the sexist and homophobic tropes that simply have no place in our political coverage and rhetoric,” said Drew Anderson.
The Playbook authors appeared to take this complaint seriously, clarifying it was not their “intent” to offend anyone. To their credit, the obvious reading of the term is “a fight where no one draws blood,” as the newsletter noted. How it also plays into “sexist and homophobic tropes” was left unexplained. It’s difficult to imagine many readers thought past the phrase’s obvious connotation.
What seems more offensive is the implication that grown adults are so psychologically frail they would feel “diminishe[d]” on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation by reading the term “pillow fight” in a perfectly appropriate context.