Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An apology

Reader Iain, in this comment: "Perhaps yoiu should consider ther terms of derision you use in a post such as this. To refer to these men as "cunts" seems somewhat in conflict with the position that you take here . If you seek to attack sexual violence by men why do you use language that seems so mysognistic?" has quite correctly pointed out an error in my post about the fuckheaded rapists from Adelaide. It's wholly inappropriate to attribute a negative connotation to a part of the female anatomy, especially in the context that it was thoughtlessly assigned in my last post.

Here is the offending sentence: "It is time that men started calling out their fuckhead mates for the despicable c*&%s that they are."

I think I'll amend the post with the new construction "despicable cockheads". I apologize for any offense that it caused, and can only offer the excuse that the word, in the context is arose, came from my outraged thoughtlessness rather than any form of misogyny.


lividia said...

i had not initially commented because my first reaction was 1. whoa, inappropriate word just for context or in general? and 2. did i just agree with iain? :P

a discussion maybe worth having (or maybe not, because i just woke up and don't know up from sideways) is whether or not certain words that are used negatively are indicative of a sort of societal misogyny and therefore should be maybe purged from usage in this sort of context - you used that word because it's something that came to you when searching for a horrible insult, but that basically means that you equate (consciously/unconsciously/because of societal conditioning) 'the derogatory feminine' with the lowest possible thing.

those who have not read you may not assume (as i did) your intent was not-bad, but those looking for deeper meaning where there is none could easily say a word like that would indicate that you think the ultimate source at fault is the woman herself (hello psychology degree, were you more useful than i thought or did my brain get stale?)

certain words lose their origins and therefore their blatant offensiveness over time / use but once in a while it's worth at least thinking about holding back before using them - two examples come to mind:

1. 'gypped', which people frequently used to refer to getting ripped off, which is based on an insult against Gypsies. i've noticed a lot of people attempting to self-censor this one over the years, but the majority still use it obviously with a great deal of contextual / literal distance from its original intent.

2. 'hysterical' / 'hysteria' (a little old-school reference) basically referring to the source of dementia as based in the womb (hyster? i think that's the greek root... ) and therefore inherently feminine. obviously a word well-integrated into the english language but not necessarily outright feminine (anti-feminine?) in origin, which raises the question....

well i suppose it's not so much a question as a general statement on what words mean and how they communicate on many levels and the history of a word can contribute to the whole context of how its used and sometimes infect things with a negativity that was never intended, therefore creating ramblings that make sense only to me and making me late for work... again...

Erin said...

Cunt is a powerful word that has unfortunately been twisted to the negative side by cunt-fearing men. I try to embrace it as a word to describe the power of the female anatomy. But I still shudder when someone uses it in all it's negative force. Gay people reclaimed fag. Girls can reclaim cunt for ourselves too.

No worries. you were just searching for a powerful word. You found it. Just maybe not the most appropriate.

Don Quixote said...

I'd like to think I was more guilty of stupidity, but now you've got me trying to probe my own subconscious (which is pretty much impossible) for misogynistic tendencies. Ugh!

lividia said...

don - i was trying to make the point that it was not particularly your subconscious but more of a societal subconscious thing with the underlying misogyny...

erin - though i agree about the whole reclamation-of-negative-words-to-empower-instead-of-oppress, the problem with that is that it can really only be used by those whom it affects (i.e. you rarely hear a straight guy use 'fag' or 'cunt' in a positive manner. though a Fag can throw around 'fag' and a Cunt can throw around 'cunt', those words are still almost-universally negative in tone). it's an odd little zone, that.

Some Cunt said...

Whoa. I go away for a split second and I miss the Great Cunt Conversation of 2006.

I personally use the word cunt in conversation (not polite of course) in the best possible terms. I use it in reference to myself. As no one who speaks with me would ever suspect that I have low self-esteem or a negative self-image, I doubt that a negative inference is drawn, however, I suppose that speaks to the contextual and situational elements that all negative-to-empowering phrases require in order to be empowering.

Just my two cents.

Don Quixote said...

Fear not Lividia, I didn't take offense at your comments; I just have a terrible habit of second-guessing and introspection. And, societal or not, it was definitely a silly thing to write - and I hate writing silly things (which, incidentally, makes a great deal of my previous noodlings quite cringe-worthy.

I guess I should probably also change the title on the sidebar under which Ann Coulter currently resides. I'm thinking something along the lines of 'Ann will eat your first born.' What d'ya think?

Some... er... Girl, you make me chuckle. Actually, you make me laugh, and I don't laugh all that often.