Friday, January 21, 2011
The Primer: Language Lessons or, How to Talk Like an Asshole
First lesson in ultra-"progressive" blogland - watch what you say and how you say it, buster! And if they change the terms on you midstream, you'd better step lively and change along with them. Because we aren't individuals, we're assorted groups, and each of those groups identify themselves and you'd better identify them the way they tell you to. Because, bigot! If you belong to more than one group, jackpot! They call that "intersection" and if you have intersecting oppressions, everyone else had better sit down, shut up, and listen. That includes people who may belong to that same group if they happen to step outside the progressive point of view - for example, Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice are self-loathing sellouts to their respective sex/race/oppressed status. They need to shut up and listen too, because they aren't real people.
Ok so terms. Sometimes "black" is acceptable but sometimes you have to say "African-American". You'll have to figure out when and how to use each. Actually, SHUT UP. If you're white, you don't know anything about it anyway.
"Gay" is usually OK but most of the time you have to use the new alphabet soup. It has changed, you know. First it was "gay" or "homosexual". Then it was gay/lesbian. Then it was GLB (Gay, Lesbian, Bi). Then it became LGBT - Lesbian (women first because girl power!), Gay, Bi, Trans. Now it is LGBTQI - Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Intersex.
In order not to be labeled "heteronormative" you must now use the term "cis-gendered" or "cis" for short, meaning that you are not transsexual. Transsexual itself has become very complicated for us cis-folk, too, because it is no longer a requirement that someone undergo hormone treatments or have any surgery to change their sex. You can physically be a man with a beard and a functional penis/testicles who takes no hormones and doesn't have breast implants and dresses in men's clothes but if you say you're a woman, then you're a woman and everyone better refer to you as such or else. You can be a physical woman with breasts and periods who wears makeup and dresses but if you say you're a man, you're a man and you'd better be referred to as such or else. Heaven help the establishment that tries to make you use the gender-specific bathroom that you seem to belong to because the only thing that matters is what you have decided you are. The discriminatory practices such as not letting you change your sex identity on your driver's license because you haven't physically changed your sex in any way are just examples of bigotry, heteronormatism, and the oppressive patriarchy.
If you are a male you are probably a rapist. Rape is defined as whatever a woman says it is. Women NEVER lie.
In the case of writing/referring to people, you must use gender-neutral terms. He/she has now been replaced by "zie" and his/her has been replaced with "hir". Careful; it's very easy to slip back into he, his, she, hers. If you slip you might be a patriarchal oppressor.
The intersection of dominating structures of oppression (patriarchy, racism, ableism, looksism) is now referred to as the "kyriarchy". And brother, once you start hearing these oppression stories, you'll realize what a wonderland of kyriarchy we really live in. You might not even know you're being oppressed this very minute! But you probably are. So listen carefully.
Avoid any language which might imply that someone is crazy or mentally ill - you say "neuro-atypical" now.
Avoid any language that smacks of ableism (oppression of those who are mentally or physically "disabled"; itself a derogatory term), patriarchicalism, racism, looksism (whether you say someone is beautiful or ugly; both are equally oppressive) or any other ism you might be able to think of. We'll come across more as we go. For example the period after the election known as the "lame-duck" session? Derogatory disablism plus waterfowl. Must find new term.
If you think I'm making any of this up, more power to you. I wish to hell I was. Can you imagine living in such a world? It must be the most depressing fucking place you could imagine, right? Where everyone and everything is just that bad, and every word anyone speaks is out to get you? Where writing a blog for assorted misfits is your actual livelihood, that which you depend on for your daily bread? And because you do it, you think you are providing the most valuable service imaginable? To be honest it looks more to me like *exploiting* those people by depending on their donations from their own poverty-stricken pockets, but what do I know? I'm just a taxpayer so I'm the enemy.