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man-made language: it needs improvement

April 11, 2011

UCP has a convo going about the phrase “fuck you”, and how there is a lack of swear words that arent misogynist in the english language.

FCM pointed out in one of her comments that Mackinnon invented the concept of sexual harassment. Someone had to deliberately and consciously come up with the concept, describe it and name it before we could talk about it.

I wonder, what other concepts or words do we wish existed?

For one, I wish there was a word that describes the way the male perspective is the default in all media, conversations, everything, unless stated otherwise (which in turn ghettoizes the perspective as female and therefore renders it irrelevant). Something more catchy than “male centrism”, and something that better conveys the ACTIVE ERASURE of the female perspective. Or even just a word which describes the inadequacy of the male perspective.

What does everyone else want?

Or, if no one feels like talking about it, we can discuss this picture instead:

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 7:46 am

    Also, I think it would be handy to have word that describes piv which women do not actively want, but accept anyway without resistance (or even with feigned enthusiasm) because of the universal piv mandate.

    “unwanted intercourse” and “rape” cover it, but both are too non-specific. If I look back on my sexual history pretty much all the piv I have had was unwanted, but the men would never have known it because I feigned enthusiasm and in many cases initiated it, only because I knew it was a requirement of being in a het relationship. Not feeling able to opt out of piv, I guess I felt it was better fool myself (and him) that I really enjoyed it, and wanted it.

    There is no word that adequately describes this kind of piv. But I suspect a lot of women experience it.

  2. April 11, 2011 11:57 am

    Hey miska

    What about just putting either “man-” or “rapist-” in front of all existing words, like mansplain. That way it would be impossible to ignore. Like, when some man gives his manword that the mansex was manconsensual. It would take some getting used to, but would be completely accurate.

  3. April 11, 2011 12:42 pm

    Actually “rapist-sex” sounds better than mansex. Just play around with it and see what works!

  4. April 11, 2011 12:57 pm

    I really like ‘manconsensual’ actually. It kind of describes sex that is consensual, but only consensual on male terms, because they are the ones who define what sex is, and how/when it happens, and that they have a whole patriarchy behind them that will back them up. It nicely demonstrates that consent for women in a patriarchy is pretty much meaningless. I would describe my history of engaging in piv as being largely manconsensual.

    I thought of another one – mantrum: a tantrum thrown by a man when a woman says no to him, about anything. Or refuses to put male needs front and center. Or refuses to listen to mansplanations.

  5. April 11, 2011 1:22 pm

    Yes, manconsensual is kind of growing on me too. It kind of sounds like “nonconsensual” which works at a subconscious level…especially when you use it to describe an entire sexual history, like you just did. Also, it so clearly means “good enough to keep the dood out of jail” which is exactly what “consent” means in practice, but nobody ever says it.

  6. yttik permalink
    April 11, 2011 2:30 pm

    There really can be no true consent from women given our rape culture and the way women are viewed as sexual commodities. Men are also taught to take, steal, “get” sex. They may be even more aware of this then women are, because they think about paying compensation for the potential damages, like picking up the tab for dinner or buying gifts, in exchange for something they know they’re going to “take.” Our whole attitude says that sexual relations mean women will be losing something and men will be gaining. Unfortunately I think the old fashioned F-word is a pretty good description of the reality.

    I had some kids in the car watching some boys play king of the mountain, punching each other in the arm, spitting on each others shoes, basically acting out this hierarchy. One of the girls in the car said that what they were doing was menstrating, showing off your manly abilities. It cracked me up because I don’t think she fully understood the meaning of the word menstruation, but her definition fit so well. Now when I see men trying to assert their dominance, their male entitlement, I think of them as menstrating.

  7. April 11, 2011 3:46 pm

    There really can be no true consent from women given our rape culture and the way women are viewed as sexual commodities. Men are also taught to take, steal, “get” sex. They may be even more aware of this then women are, because they think about paying compensation for the potential damages, like picking up the tab for dinner or buying gifts, in exchange for something they know they’re going to “take.”

    Yup. Heterosexuality is SET UP like prostitution, end to end.

    MAN MADE language is terrible. And destructive. It’s OBVI preventing us from having the kind of conversation that we are ready for. For my part, I like the manconsent term. And mantrum. HA! All the time. I started using “exceptionalism” a lot to explain why unicorn men aren’t that speshul after all. I also do my thing with “jender” and “I-dentity.” Kathy Miriam started saying “id-entity”, but the whole thing hasn’t really caught on.

    In terms of the male perspective being default for ALL, I think something along the lines of the ubiquitous “male gaze” is where we need to go.

    (sorry for the kind of disjointed comment, I gotta run! Love you all!!)

  8. FAB Libber permalink
    April 11, 2011 4:40 pm

    ‘manconsent’ and ‘mantrum’ are winners.

    I thought of mal-consent, but it is too far removed from maleconsent.

    Does ‘duty-fuck’ cover the compulsory PIV?
    Or permaduty-fuck? (covering the whole het relationship)
    Obli-fuck (obligatory)

  9. April 12, 2011 4:15 am

    Our whole attitude says that sexual relations mean women will be losing something and men will be gaining.

    Exactly. And I think this relates back to ballbuster’s post on virginity:

    http://ballbuster4ever.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/virginity-supremacy-and-the-practice-of-masculinity/

    Men perceive women as losing female purity through piv, which in turn firmly puts the woman in the category of those that can then be further abused by men (and male-centric women).

    But that purity concept is the male perspective. From the female perspective, what do women lose? Bodily privacy, ownership over one’s body. I am very interested in how this affects women in a broad sense. What does it mean for women, psychologically, to never be allowed to feel ownership over our bodies? No wonder the feminist movement has been transjacked. Women are made to feel like we dont even own our own bodies, no wonder we are compelled to let males take over our political movement too.

  10. April 12, 2011 4:19 am

    Does ‘duty-fuck’ cover the compulsory PIV?
    Or permaduty-fuck? (covering the whole het relationship)
    Obli-fuck (obligatory)

    Hmm… somehow I dont feel like these fit what I described above. Maybe because the “fuck” implies a one-off duty/obligation. Whereas what I was trying to describe was more a pervasive and continual atmosphere of mandatory piv, rather than any one singular instance of it, if you know what I mean. I will think about this some more.

  11. FAB Libber permalink
    April 12, 2011 12:33 pm

    MANipulative-consent

  12. dutha permalink
    April 12, 2011 6:52 pm

    I tried learning Laádan at one point, but it was hard to talk about female friendship or creating female-centered spaces in the language. But I think some of you might be able to find more use for it than I could. http://www.laadanlanguage.org/pages/node/43

  13. Sargasso Sea permalink
    April 12, 2011 7:21 pm

    “Worldview”

    Manview.

  14. April 12, 2011 8:08 pm

    What does it mean for women, psychologically, to never be allowed to feel ownership over our bodies? No wonder the feminist movement has been transjacked. Women are made to feel like we dont even own our own bodies, no wonder we are compelled to let males take over our political movement too.

    DISASSOCIATION from the body is KEY to the process of feminizating and sexualizating females. It is critical to feminist understanding of the female experience, and I too am FASCINATED by exploring this phenomenon(?). Radfem crafts linked to an article you might like… let me see if I can find it, I’ll direct you to it. I think feminism has major theoretical work to do here. Semi-unchartered waters. (I am not saying it’s a new idea, only that it’s time has yet to come!)

  15. April 12, 2011 8:18 pm

    yes UP, its now a feminist MAN-date that you say “i didnt make this up, early feminists did!” before you say anything. anything at all. you have been warned.

    i have thought for a few weeks now (i love all this language-talk too) that putting a capital P (“the” P) in front of some words to denote “patriarchy” would be appropriate. it too would take some getting used to, like “i am going to report that P-rapist to the P-cops.” i find it both funnier AND easier to pronouce the P as a PUH-sound rather than a PEE sound. “puh-rapist” and “puh-cops”. again, its completely accurate, but sadly it probably will not p-catch on.

  16. April 12, 2011 10:41 pm

    I do have every intention of completing the Lexicon I started and getting it up on a page on my blog. These new words definitely must be included.

  17. April 13, 2011 2:00 am

    DISASSOCIATION from the body is KEY to the process of feminizating and sexualizating females. It is critical to feminist understanding of the female experience, and I too am FASCINATED by exploring this phenomenon(?). Radfem crafts linked to an article you might like… let me see if I can find it, I’ll direct you to it. I think feminism has major theoretical work to do here. Semi-unchartered waters. (I am not saying it’s a new idea, only that it’s time has yet to come!)

    Yes, I agree there is work do be done on exploring this. Has anyone ever looked at female psychology under patriarchy in any methodical way? It would not even be that hard to do, because males would be a control group. Though any psychologically differences between men and women are assumed to be biological anyway even when there is no compelling reason to believe it. Thanks for nothing p-science!

  18. April 13, 2011 2:03 am

    While we are talking words, I think we need a new word which describes political privilege. One that cannot be so easily co-opted.

  19. April 13, 2011 2:42 am

    Political privilege?? Like unearned credibility assigned an individual based on their possession or compliance of favored characteristics? Credibility that lends access to *power*? Oh dear.

    Miska, I’ve been taking notes on this topic for a while, but the resources are scant. Kathy Miriam told me about a book called “Female Sexualization, A Collective Work of Memory.” It’s translated from German and I own the book but haven’t read it yet because I am a shamefully unproductive reader. 😦 Here also is a link to the article I mentioned above. Anwyn Crawford is a (recovering?) anorexic who bspeaks from that perspective. I relate very much to her statement about being an overweight female child. The article is somewhat difficult to read, but I read it twice and thought it was interesting. Still, it feels like an iceberg and I can’t see most of it…we must go diving!!

  20. April 13, 2011 3:56 am

    thanks for the link!

  21. April 13, 2011 10:55 am

    Thanks for nothing p-science!

    HA!

  22. Jay Hammers permalink
    April 23, 2011 7:54 am

    Impressively hateful of men and boys! Bravo!

  23. meowbaby permalink
    October 17, 2011 1:33 am

    HAHAHAH!! Jay used the word, “bravo” in response to an essay about male-centered language. That’s rich.

    Brava. Brava, Jay. We’re all ladyfolk here.

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