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?

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 spoke at one of our meetings about colloquialisms we use on a daily basis  They are so much a part of our language that we use them without even thinking about them. Some examples include:

· 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, pointing out to them the inherent cruelty of the common phrase. Guess I was ahead of my time, in light of the recent discussions about the Affordable Care 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 for whom negatively descriptive words are used?  Have you come up with a list of insulting words and phrases for men?  Those most often used include calling a man a girl, a douche bag, a sissy 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 bad or negative male characteristics and behaviors, these words attack 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 of and proud to possess?

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.


Evening Round-Up News Reads: “Morality beats Policy”

Vintage Ad...Servitude, a true GOP value.

Good Evening

Real life is intruding itself on me today. Dealing with insurance companies and hospitals and doctor offices, trying to get things organized for my surgery that is scheduled in a few weeks. Therefore, this is going to be a quick post…

Susie Madrak has two posts today that I want to share with you. The first one is excellent, meaty and damn good. Proposed AZ Bill Would Allow Employers To Fire Women Using The Pill for Birth Control

When I was 18, I worked for a publishing company that was a little bit strange. The female department head was a fundamentalist Christian and a member of Jews for Jesus who used to hold Tuesday morning prayer meetings before work. It was well known that if you never did attend a prayer meeting, you could forget about ever getting a raise.

My immediate supervisor was a young woman named Janice. One morning, while Janice was in the restroom, the department head went rummaging in her purse and found her birth control pills. Instead of talking to her, she called all the editorial clerks and assistants into her department and announced that we were no longer permitted to socialize with the editors, and that we were nothing more than “Jezebels, sluts and whores of Babylon”. (I found this particularly ironic since one of my co-workers graduated from a genteel and well-known Southern women’s Christian college. She’d confided in me that both her father and grandfather—church elders—had raped her. The father raped her shortly after she tearfully confided in him that she’d been raped by her grandfather. “The family that prays together”, etc. …)

The department head also announced that if it was discovered that anyone was using birth control pills, she would be fired immediately. And that if anyone didn’t like it, well, she could just resign.

Susie goes on to say she typed up her resignation on the spot and taped a swastika to the PLUBs office door. (I love it.)

I had mentioned this new proposed law in Arizona the other day…remember the Yo Queiro Taco Bell post? I used as my source the ACLU Blog…Susie quotes an article from Jezebel, and it is fabulous, check it out.

This was my introduction to the fact that there are these kinds of people in the world. And now the modern Republican party has adopted the untrammeled craziness that was my former department head. For evidence, see this from the Jezebel blog—yet another draconian, slut-shaming (and most likely illegal) law proposed in a Republican state:

A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. If we could harness the power of the crappy ideas coming out of the state of Arizona, we could probably power a rocket ship to the moon, where there are no Mexicans or fertile wombs and everyone can be free to be as mean a cranky a**hole as they want at all times! Arizona Heaven!

Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko’s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. First amendment. The constitution. Rights of religious people to practice the treasured tenets of their faiths, the tenets that dictate that religious people get to tell everyone who is not of faith how they’re supposed to live, and the freedom to have that faith enforced by law. Freedom®.

Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.”


What the hell is this? I just looked under my bed to see if Rod Serling was hiding out under there in another dimension, one of oppressive backward jackasses using religion to control and discriminate against women. (And this particular dimension is even more fucked up because Lesko, the GOP state senator who proposed the bill is a WOMAN.) I don’t understand it. Well, I do understand the shit these people are trying to pull, but I can’t understand why it is happening now…in 2012?

The other post Susie has is over at her personal blog: The wrong language | Suburban Guerrilla

I think one of the reasons why I never became a heavy hitter in the liberal blogosphere is that I absolutely reject the idea that wonking people out is a winning strategy. It’s just not, but liberals seem to want to double down on it, anyway. Whatever the arena – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, cable news — there’s always some liberal trying to respond to conservatives by being “logical” and “rational.”

Yeah, it’s worked great so far, hasn’t it?

So George Lakoff gets no argument from me on this:

I think Democrats need much better positive messaging, expressing and repeating liberal moral values — not just policies– uniformly across the party. That is not happening.

One of the reasons that it is not happening is that there is a failure to understand the difference between policy and morality, that morality beats policy, and that moral discourse is absolutely necessary. This is a major reason why the Democrats lost the House in 2010. Consider how conservatives got a majority of Americans to be against the Obama health care plan. The president had polled the provisions, and each had strong public support: No preconditions, no caps, no loss of coverage if you get sick, ability to keep your college-age child on your policy, and so on. These are policy details, and they matter. The conservatives never argued against any of them. Instead, they re-framed; they made a moral case against “Obamacare.” Their moral principles were freedom and life, and they had language to go with them. Freedom: “government takeover.” Life: “death panels.” Republicans at all levels repeated them over and over, and convinced millions of people who were for the policy provisions of the Obama plan to be against the plan as a whole. They changed the public discourse, changed the brains of the electorate — especially the “independents” — and won in 2010.

For several decades now, I’ve been telling Democratic candidates the same thing: Telling people they’re stupid for supporting the other guy (because he’s corrupt, unfair, a hypocrite, etc.) is a losing strategy. You have to offer them something, like a big idea.

Yes, I agree with this too…

Susie says to take a moral stance on the argument. I take that as arguing about the quality of life and rights of these former fetuses…putting them in a position of defending the asinine belief that a clump of cells is more important than a live living person. What do you think? What other kind of moral argument can you tap into there? Can you help me out with that?

Which leads me to this commentary from ECHIDNE of the snakes:

Atrios links to this story about the economic tragedy that is today’s Greece:

It has been a common secret among PE teachers for some time now that they don’t expect pupils to do PE any more, because many of them are underfed and get dizzy.

They need to be discreet, as these underprivileged children don’t wish to be exposed to their peers. In my previous school, the teachers arranged among themselves to give the school canteen some money, so that the canteen could give the child a snack, without embarrassing the child.

However, this was not enough. In many schools today, it is the parents’ associations who come together, gather food and discreetly arrange to allocate it to those families of the school who are suffering. In co-operation with the teachers, they know which children in the school are hungry and in need of help. Again, they try to do it as discreetly as possible.

“Many families, suddenly left without work, are in shock and there is nowhere to turn. Social services are collapsing. They are not professional beggars. They are ordinary people like you and me, suddenly left with nothing. I know one area, where schools have specialised in what they gather: 1st primary school gather rice and legumes, 2nd vegetables, 3rd meat and chicken etc.

The nasty aspect of “shared austerity” is that it is never shared equally and whatever sacrifices the wealthy have to make do not amount to hunger.

But even if the sacrifices were shared equally their impact would be catastrophic on those who earlier were just hanging on to some kind of a life by a finger nail or two. It is the frailest among us who suffer the most under these austerity fits, unless the policies are very, very carefully crafted to avoid that very outcome.

When state governments in the United States gut their budgets, the kinds of things to go are the kinds of things which affect the weakest among us. The developmentally handicapped, the mentally ill, the families with multiple health problems, the frail elderly and the poorest children. These are groups who cannot fight back very efficiently and who do not have large enough of a voting bloc to defend them.
In exchange for all this, those state governments offer lower taxes to the firms and tax breaks to the so-called job creators.

Okay, austerity is a moral issue? Right? Of course it is…Echidne continues:

This is morally distasteful, given that these groups of the neediest among us never caused the economic recession in Greece or elsewhere. But it is also bad economic policy, in particular when combined with stripping the schools and civil service of jobs that pay enough to live on. Who will be left to buy all those goods and services? Why would the so-called “job creators” create jobs if there are no viable markets for the final products?

Logic aside…you know about the bad economic policy, I mean what would cause these pro-austerity conservatives to think logically. It is a moral issue…and when argued as such why are the “good Christian” souls ( cough…cough, yes those are sarcastic quotes around good Christian…) still jamming this crap down the citizen’s throats.

And when anyone does bring up all these hypocritical ideals and values the GOP dickwads adhere too…these hateful and righteous asses throw the liberal media excuse and no gotcha questions defense in our faces.

Help me make sense of all this…because it really pisses me off and that causes my emotions to take over, leaving my brain running the race in second place. Comments are down below, you know what to do!