Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:50 PM
redqueen (99,809 posts)
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Last edited Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:05 PM USA/ET - Edit history (2)
Most of you probably recognize that line. Some of you think it has merit and some not. Most of us recognize that language does influence society. Those who have studied history recognize the patterns used when groups of people are intentionally objectified and dehumanized using language, and the reasons behind such objectification and dehumanization.
Recently it was posited in meta by a handful of people that the word 'pussy' isn't really a sexist insult (either because in their opinion it actually refers to cats, or it just isn't that 'serious' of an insult, etc.) I thought after seeing that thread that it would be good to ask in here about the insult, to get an idea of what most people on DU thought. As I expected (this being a progressive board) most people did find it sexist. (As pointed out in the thread it is actually misogynist, and not sexist, but many people don't clearly understand the distinction, so in an effort to encourage more discussion I used 'sexist'.)
Now today we have a thread equating 'balls' with courage. A common expression. As common as the one equating 'pussy' with weakness and cowardice. Another common expression when someone is perceived to be complaining without reason is that that person needs to get the 'sand out of their vagina'. There are many more. There are other many more expressions associating strength with male sex organs, and weakness with female ones. When a man is perceived to be bossed by his female partner, people might make jokes about him having handed over his organs to her.
Many people seem to prefer to think these ideas are just silly jokes. I say they are not. They are subtle reinforcements of an idea which has been with us for millennia, and if we are serious about creating a world where women are freed from being treated like they are 'less than' and the 'other' then we might want to start watching our thoughts and words.
Yes, these are common expressions. However, 'mighty white of you' used to be a common expression, too.
Guess why it isn't anymore?
Because we started taking racism seriously.
Please consider no longer treating these 'silly' ideas (which reinforce the idea that women are less than) as if they are not worth considering. The war on women is not just in the legislature or in our bedrooms. It's in our minds. That's where misogyny initially takes root. That's where insidious things like these 'harmless jokes' and habits like victim blaming start.
Thanks for reading.