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Vanity Rules

16th June 2010

Mind Your Language

Posted by: un-pc lesbian

I’ve been pondering the emotional baggage of words and language a bit lately. Trust me when you spend as much time on the treadmill as I do, once you’ve finished solving the world’s problems the brain goes to some interesting places.

It all started with thinking about why some words are deemed to be swear words, and therefore bad, and others aren’t. Plus the fact that we react to these words on an emotional level when in fact they are all just letters joined together in sequence so as such are all the same. Who decided that a word was bad, vulgar or dirty in the first place?

The brain then wandered down the path of how what once was bad, has over time become the accepted vernacular, thus the word has lost it emotional baggage and badness and we have become desensitised to it. Point in case the word fuck. In my youth that was one of the ultimate naughty swear words, and one expected to get into very deep poo (aka shit, another desensitised word) if they were heard uttering it. Nowadays however, through vast sections of society it is so accepted it is used as every second word, in every sentence spoken.

We then get to the area of body functions, body parts, gender thereof, and how language has treated them. As said above the bodily function of excreting, which produces excrement, sounds all very clinical when talked of in those terms, yet the word shit, both verb and noun, carries almost a social class identifier when interchanged. If you compare “he did a poo” with “he did a shit”, completely different images come to mind.

Along with the social status of some words we also get gender issues. The word bitch conjures a nasty spiteful woman but there is no male equivalent of the word. Harridan, though not a “dirty” word, is still negative towards women. And then compare spinster and bachelor, which one sounds like the fun thing to be? Funny how we never hear the phrase, “she was a real spinster about town”.

Then finally there are the words that are used for genitalia and the fact that most of those words are considered insulting or abusive. Telling someone they’ve behaved like a right penis sounds humorous, but saying they’ve been a right dick is insulting and abusive. Why is the word that is used to describe an organ that gives the male of the species so much pleasure used as a term of abuse? Like wise the ‘c’ word. See, this word carries so much baggage that I can’t even write it out. I just don’t understand why a word that is used to describe a pleasurable part of a woman’s body, a part that heterosexual males spend a lot of time trying to get into, a part that gives life, is considered to be the ultimate of all insults no matter what sexual orientation you are.

Why is it that the female of the species has to carry the can for the majority of these words that are used to insult and abuse?

Tags: Deep Navel Gazing · General

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Craig // Jun 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Oh, that’s awful. I’ve never considered the female anatomy cause to be shunned, given that it presumably gives lesbians so much pleasure. It’s probably just straightboy’s fear of women’s potential sexual autonomy that leads to its abuse as a perjorative term.

    Given the number of straight women that go without orgasms because their blokes are pathetic in bed in that department, it reminds me of an old Barry Humphries phrase:
    “If you’ve ever met any Australian men, you’ll realise why so many Australian *women* are lesbians…”

  • 2 un-pc lesbian // Jun 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

    ha ha….must remember that aphorsim, so true.

    I still just find it odd how the feminine of some words is perceived as negative or lesser than the masculine. I think bachelor/spinster is a perfect example, with women even calling themselves bachelorettes.

  • 3 Craig // Jun 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Speaking as a Labour supporter, I definitely think the feminine of Prime Minister was infinitely better than the current masculine ‘it’!

  • 4 un-pc lesbian // Jun 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    And it seems the Oz politicians agree with you!

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