Saturday, September 11

A legitimate complaint

While at Body and Soul, I read this post and in the comments, there is a discussion of the recent use of pejoritive terms to insult the manhood of dear leader. It is easy forget that terms we use to denigrate someones mannhood can also be very insulting to women, and while the intent may be laudible, the insult remains. In the future I think that we should exercise more caution and creativity in the choice of language to make our point. Jeanne makes an excellent point.
Every time I read a liberal post which uses language that disparages women, I feel excluded. I feel like there's a big sign on the blog that says my (weak and stupid) kind isn't wanted. And obviously I'm not the only woman who feels that way. Now I don't particularly care if Kim du Toit wants to exclude me, but I don't like it when bloggers I read every day feel compelled to remind me every once in awhile that I'm not really as good as they are. More important, insulting half of your potential audience does not strike me as a politically astute move.
I don't think liberal men who "insult" Bush by questioning his masculinity intend to offend women, and I don't think they really believe women are weak or cowardly. So why do they do it? That insulting macho pose loses you so much credibility and does so much damage, what's to be gained? Is it just verbal laziness or do they genuinely believe that pose accomplishes something?
A perfectly valid point to keep in mind fella's, there are other ways to attack the man, and in this case I think that Wimp is a better term than others that are invoked to feminise the jackass. Des femmes, has several posts on the matter. Starting here.

Nuances: who owns the words

Simbaud stopped by and asked some hard questions. He noticed I haven't called out any women for using pussy or so-&-so's bitch. There are a mishmash of reasons why; here are the ones I could put to words, in no logical order:

  • The women's usage doesn't threaten me the way the men's does. When men say pussy instead of coward, their tone turns ugly with contempt. It's frightening, and self-defense drives me to anger.
  • Enough people already tell women what they can and can't say or do.
  • Each person has the right to define themself. It's their choice, not mine, what they call themself, no matter how I may cringe.
  • I don't want to get involved with any "us versus them" among women. Dissension is a tool for the people who abuse power.
  • It disappoints me and I don't want to think about it.
  • The men are the ones who relish these insults. When the men stop, the women will stop.
We should endevour to be sensitive to this issue. I can see no reason to do otherwise.