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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:50 PM

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

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.

36 replies, 2900 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Watch your thoughts, for they become words. (Original post)
redqueen Feb 2013 OP
kentuck Feb 2013 #1
redqueen Feb 2013 #2
bunnies Feb 2013 #3
redqueen Feb 2013 #4
bunnies Feb 2013 #5
Fawke Em Feb 2013 #6
redqueen Feb 2013 #7
annabanana Feb 2013 #14
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #8
panader0 Feb 2013 #9
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #10
Sweet Freedom Feb 2013 #16
WinkyDink Feb 2013 #11
msanthrope Feb 2013 #12
redqueen Feb 2013 #18
msanthrope Feb 2013 #19
redqueen Feb 2013 #20
msanthrope Feb 2013 #21
redqueen Feb 2013 #26
polly7 Feb 2013 #31
redqueen Feb 2013 #33
seabeyond Feb 2013 #34
polly7 Feb 2013 #36
polly7 Feb 2013 #35
cliffordu Feb 2013 #13
1620rock Feb 2013 #15
noamnety Feb 2013 #17
seabeyond Feb 2013 #25
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #22
sadbear Feb 2013 #23
redqueen Feb 2013 #24
LiberalLoner Feb 2013 #30
Tom Rinaldo Feb 2013 #27
Raffi Ella Feb 2013 #28
LiberalLoner Feb 2013 #29
bemildred Feb 2013 #32

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:00 PM

1. Kick

Even though one of the posts mentioned was my own.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:03 PM

2. Sorry. It is nothing personal.

That expression is very common. I'm sure most people never consider the implications behind it.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:09 PM

3. In our house, the word "balls" means...

that something sucks. "Ugh. I just spilled the OJ. BALLS!"

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Response to bunnies (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:11 PM

4. I've heard it used that way, too.

Mostly just on Supernatural, though.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:17 PM

5. Ive never seen that show...

must be good though, since they use balls correctly. OTOH, if something is good, we say its tits. Crude I know, but it works.
balls = bad & tits = good & all is right with the world.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:21 PM

6. The Brits use it that way a lot.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:24 PM

7. Yes, bollocks is bad, dog's bollocks is good. nt

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Response to bunnies (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:27 PM

14. Irish "bollocks" is NO kind of positive, or strength.. or any good thing.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:47 PM

8. Kicked for exposure. n/t

 

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:16 PM

9. Betty White said something like (and if someone knows the quote please correct me):

"Why do people say to get some balls. They are too delicate. Why not say grow a vagina, those things take a pounding."

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Response to panader0 (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:44 PM

10. Jesus! I love me some Betty White but...

 

not a big fan of that quote.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:36 PM

16. Actually, she says she did not say it, a comedian named Sheng Wang did

but, regardless, the quote is--

"Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding."

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:48 PM

11. Women are fair game. Playtex didn't make a smarmy ad with watermelons & tap-dancing, did they?

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:54 PM

12. I can't imagine what thoughts let you to use the word "f*toilet" in this thread,

but they must have been a doozy.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=114066

Perhaps, you might consider, after the use of such an offensive term to describe women, other women, like myself, do not find you to be a persuasive moral authority on what is a sexist term, and what is not.

And I find your pervasive use of the p-word unnecessary.



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Response to msanthrope (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:12 PM

18. That word was coined by the users of porn and prostitutes.

I didn't use it to refer to women, but that has been explained countless times so I won't bother again.

I find your selective outrage telling.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:33 PM

19. You know, redqueen, I've been told on this board by certain male posters that their use of the

"p-word" wasn't to demean, but to describe. They were just describing a product, using a term "coined" by their wife and daughters. I posted a whole Meta thread about it.

You seem to offer the same explanation. You are just using a word, right? A word used by other people, that you chose to use here.


Selective outrage? No, just holding you accountable for using a filthy term that has no place on this board, and that was highly offensive. You, redqueen, and no male poster on the board, have used what I think might be the filthiest term I've ever heard used to describe women.

Congrats!

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 11:40 PM

20. Please. Recall, if you are able to, how often he'd used that and similar terms in the past.

Now take a moment, and really make an effort, and try to recall about how many times I've used the word that has so obsessed you for lo these many months.

Now, think.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:04 AM

21. So, your defense is that you used filthy, sexist language fewer times?

Really?

You use the words "*toilet" and "p-word" and somehow, your use of them is okay because you don't use them as much?

Why not just write down a number of acceptable usages?

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:23 AM

26. Using "filthy" sexist language in the context of pointing out that it is sexist and wrong

is miles away from using those terms as "jokes" or insults.

And this is the very last time I will be indulging your repeated derailments using this issue, except to continue to point out that the word you are obsessed with was invented by porn users and sex buyers to describe women.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #26)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:39 AM

31. Wow. You should make up your mind.

redqueen (99,811 posts)
128. Yes, it's usually men who get to make up the words used to degrade women.

Last edited Tue May 8, 2012, 11:29 PM USA/ET - Edit history (4)

And then only by absorbing the patriarchy's values do women start to use those words against each other (slut, bitch, etc.)

Fucktoilet was coined by a radical feminist (IIRC), to describe the way far too many women are treated by far too many men in this rape culture we're in. (During the Rape of Nanking, the soldiers did refer to the women and children they raped as public toilets, but AFAIK that isn't related.)

It seems fitting to me to use Twisty's term, and I'm glad that the naughty-word-list/anti-censorship/Lenny-Bruce-wannabe crowd finally has a term that they can at least pretend to be offended by.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1240&pid=88696

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Response to polly7 (Reply #31)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:52 AM

33. You should look up 'IIRC'. This will be my only response to your derailing effort. nt

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Response to redqueen (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:54 AM

34. ah redq, just let it go. it is working on a year of these two bring it into threads of yours,

regardless of the number of times it has been explained to them. they are doing it for derailment, not because of any offense.

most everyone gets it. if they even care or are interested.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #34)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:01 PM

36. Maybe you don't get

that not just the words you find ugly and offensive shouldn't be used here .... that one is particularly hurtful and demeaning and yet defended to this day. There isn't just a redqueen / seabeyond list here of words that are offensive, is there?

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Response to redqueen (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:58 AM

35. Heh .... we were called

6 y/o's just learning a new swear word and laughed at for objecting to it, and part of the 'naughty word police'. 'Watch your thoughts, for they become actions'. Indeed.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:25 PM

13. Your discipline and relentless effort to the task astounds.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:30 PM

15. Oh please, I sing this to my precious cats all the time..


"What's New Pussycat"

What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
Pussycat, Pussycat
I've got flowers
And lots of hours
To spend with you.
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat nose!
What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
Pussycat, Pussycat
You're so thrilling
And I'm so willing
To care for you.
So go and make up your cute little pussycat face!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat face!
What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
What's new pussycat? Woah, Woah
Pussycat, Pussycat
You're delicious
And if my wishes
Can all come true
I'll soon be kissing your sweet little pussycat lips!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat lips!
You and your pussycat eyes!
You and your pussycat nose!

As I touch their little lips, eyes. and noses.

Some people see dirt in the crook of a tree.

As for the other questionable terms, Balls etc. I don't use them.




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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:39 PM

17. There is nothing sexist in showing a photo of a male doctor.

But when you show it to young children, and ask what they want to be when they grow up, the boys are more likely to say doctor, and the girls do not.

When you show them a photo of a female doctor, the girls are as likely to say they want to grow up to be doctors.

That's the thing, really, right? That the suggestions of ideas get planted in our brain, reinforced in our brain, in ways that are so subtle, we aren't even aware they are happening.

But that doesn't mean they don't happen, or that it doesn't influence others in ways so imperceptible that one time doesn't do anything, but all the little bits put together, they add up like snowflakes over the course of a lifetime.

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Response to noamnety (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:05 AM

25. "so subtle, we aren't even aware they are happening."" influence others in ways so imperceptible"

they add up

we all know this. we know what we tell ourselves influences us and guides our behavior. we know this raising kids, we know this... simply

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:48 AM

22. Monday morning kick n/t

 

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:52 AM

23. Does being called a dick have a positive connotation?

If not, can we keep that one?

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Response to sadbear (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

24. It doesn't come with generations of institutionalized and social oppression on the basis of sex. nt

Last edited Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:38 AM - Edit history (1)

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Response to redqueen (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:35 AM

30. +1

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:40 AM

27. I appplaud your willingness to explore and expose the effect words have on gender attitudes

Far more often than not when I read your posts I agree with your points, a few times I think you over state the importance of this or that instance of use, but no matter. It is healthy for us all, men and women, to think about and discuss these things. While it is wise to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water, it is dangerous to leave her or him soaking in a filthy tub also. We do need to watch our language. Words do have meaning, and consequences.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:30 AM

28. Excellent commentary.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, redqueen. It's beautiful. K&R

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:34 AM

29. Huge K&R

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:40 AM

32. Well done. nt

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