jobjorn at gmail.com
Sun Aug 22 15:40:58 CDT 2010
On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 22:10, Ove Ridé <nitro2k01 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I just have to comment on this. That kind of excessive political
> correctness really annoys me. Not using "degrading sexist language" is
> fine in itself, but that's not what we're dealing with here. Something
> "being a bitch" has become so disconnected from the original meaning
> that it could hardly be called sexist. If you call someone else a
> bitch as an insult, that's a different thing, but calling one's own
> personal experience a with something a bitch should not insult anyone
> in their right mind.
> But if we were to accept the proposition, what should we say instead?
> Something being a "pain in the ass" should be out of question since
> it's homophobic. (Right?) We could call it a nuisance or a difficulty,
> or a number of other neutral words. We could continue to ban words and
> expressions until we have a vocabulary that is clinically free of
> anything that could be remotely offensive to anyone. By that time we
> will be using a language that is devoid of any form human emotion or
> This reminds me of the skit "Elderly Man River" by Stan Freberg & Daws
> Butler. I'll see if I can get a copy that you guys(*) can listen to.
> (*) Don't be alarmed. "Guys" is used a gender-neutral word here.
That's a load of horse maneur.
The question is not whether someone is insulted or not, the question
is whether our choice of words reinforce and strengthen undesirable
structures in society - such as patriarchy. If you're hanging out with
your hypothetical all-male "gang" and you make sexist jokes, noone is
insulted. But you reinforce in each other the patriarchal and sexist
structures of society.
Something "being a bitch" is of course not "disconnected from the
original meaning". Let's just quote the first two sentences of the
Wikipedia article on "Bitch": "A bitch is a female canine. It is also
a common English profanity for a woman that typically carries
denigrating or misogynistic overtones—such as resemblance to a dog."
So, proposition definitely accepted. What should we say instead?
Something being a "pain in the ass" does indeed have homophobic
overtones, so that's a pretty bad alternative. We can call it nuisance
or difficulty - a good exercise in not sounding like angry children -
or we could use expletives that do not target specific groups of
people: religious (hell, etc), fecal (shit, etc), sexual (fuck, etc),
And of course - if you are unable to express human emotion in written
form without using swear words, I weep for you.
More information about the Abbenay