Saturday, March 31, 2012

Language Matters

If you are a woman, you have probably noticed that the English language has an abundance of derogatory, hateful, nasty, defamatory and downright ugly words to describe women and their anatomy.  Where men are concerned, the English language really doesn’t have comparable terms for the male of the species.  Take a moment and think about it.  How many can you come up with? 

Rush - constantly describing women with defamatory speech

Language is just another area in which women are treated unequally.   Language has long been important to me.  Many years ago, when I was deeply involved in the animal rights movement, I gave a talk at one of our meetings about colloquialisms we use on a daily basis, without even thinking about them.  Things like:
  • ·         More than one way to skin a cat
  • ·         Like shooting fish in a barrel
  • ·         You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
  • ·         Like a rat in a trap
  • ·         A wolf in sheep’s clothing
  • ·         Kill two birds with one stone
My suggestion, at the time, was to substitute BROCCOLI for the non-human animal species named in the phrase.  When used, it gets people’s attention to the cruelty of the common phrase.  Guess I was ahead of my time, in light of the recent discussions about the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Now I’m starting to feel bad for broccoli.

And, of course, it’s common when making derogatory comments about people, they are compared to animals in a negative way.  Some of the name calling includes:
  • ·         Pig 
  • ·         Dog 
  • ·         Cow 
  • ·         Horse’s ass 
  • ·         Snake 
  • ·         Harpy 
  • ·         Rat 
  • ·         Worm 
  • ·         Hare-brained
For me, instead of defaming the person, whose acts or actions are deplorable, it demeans the very character of the animal.  Personally, I think calling someone a “human” is a more accurate and defamatory epithet.  That’s because, for me, we humans have more offensive characters than do any other species of animal. 

So, now that you’ve had some time to ponder the inequality of our language, how is your list coming along?  Has it become clear yet that both women and non-human animals are most often the ones who have negatively descriptive words about them?  How is that list of insulting words and phrases for men coming along?  Those most often used include calling a man a girl, a douche bag or a pussy.  Doesn’t that seem to imply that being female is negative, instead of calling into question negative male characteristics or behavior?  Instead of “attacking” maleness, it attacks the female.  Even when a man is called a dick, is that really negative?  After all, isn’t his penis a man’s most prized and protected possession?  Isn’t that generally something he’s proud to possess and proud of? 

My point is, think before you speak.  Consider the meaning and, if you still insist on name-calling, then consider using more appropriate words or phrases.  Use ones that go more to the point to characterize the behavior you find offensive.  Words have power, so use them appropriately.  Here are my suggestions when a male steps over the line:
  • ·         Dick-less 
  • ·         Little man 
  • ·         Suffering from shrunken balls syndrome 
  • ·         He’s a real hand job 
  • ·         Eunuch 
  • ·         Castrado 
  • ·         Suffers from vagina envy 
  • ·         Limp dick 
  • ·         Testosterone poisoning 
  • ·         Suffering from penis separation anxiety

    Then there is my personal favorite, one that I’ve used for years:

    The bigger the gun, the smaller the dick.  

    Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section.

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