Homophobia
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20-09-2010, 02:24 AM
 
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 01:57 AM)No J. Wrote:  There are, however men who still feel that men are superior to women. Why? There is no one answer. Could the way these words are being use be contributing to the amount of men who feel superior to women. and if so, by how much? If society reduced the use of these words in this way, would it cause future generations to have a few less male chauvinistic pigs? I think there would be an effect.
On the average, men are taller, stronger, faster, and better at spatial thinking than women. If those traits are considered important to someone, then such a person might believe justifiably that men are superior to women ... on the average ... regarding those traits. Other traits exist in which women are superior ... on average. Individual exceptions occur, of course, so knowing some person is female or mail doesn't necessarily mean s/he is at or below average in some trait. So where does that leave us?

People in any grouping tend to believe they're superior to those outside their group. I would bet you could find a lot of women who believe they're superior to men. Are they female chauvinist pigs? Many of the members within any grouping have little or no factual basis for feeling superior as individuals, but seem to find some comfort (in some way that escapes me) in that group belief of superiority.

I maintain that words only have the power to offend you if you give them that power. If you believe you're superior to someone else in some trait, which might (or might not) be justifiable factually, it's evident that you likely are inferior with regard to other traits. How would you measure the totality of your existence? I know of no mechanism by which we could establish some sort of objective 'rating system' - nor do I see any need for it. If you're good at something, make the most of it. If you're not good at something, it's your choice what to do: fix it if you can and wish to do so, or ignore it if you don't care or can't fix it.
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20-09-2010, 02:55 AM
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 01:57 AM)No J. Wrote:  I just started wondering if using words like this are influencing some people's attidudes, but not all.

Good point. I´m very inclined to agree with you here. There still are "pigs" out there. As you say, these word may have different meaning to them. The reason I get so frustrated by this is probably because I do not have a sexist bone in my body. Therefore when it is implied that I am being sexist because of the language I use, I feel I´m being accused of a crime I did not commit. This angers me. Sexists are horrible people and they should be shunned. Angry

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20-09-2010, 05:48 AM
 
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 12:35 AM)ThinkingNorseman Wrote:  This is where I think you are wrong! When I speak these words they do not hold the implications that you seam to think they do. It is only in discussions like these that I even consider their original meaning. The reason for this is that I have grown up with these words having a different meaning in everyday use than what was original intention. I´m glad you mention "pussy" btw, because it so brilliantly illustrates my point! when you call somebody a pussy, how many of you are thinking of a cat?

I think that you are tapdancing (skirting the subject and using deflection) with your reference to cats.

And I also think that you are missing the point. It doesn't matter if you ahve grown up with the words or not. They are offensive because someone else finds them so. Your meaning, or the original meaning of the word is unrelated to how they feel. I am pretty sure that when someone refers to me as a 'cracker', they are not referring to a saltine. They are referring to my skin color. I am also sure that when you use words like pussy and bitch and cunt (and I am guilty of it too), you mean it to chide, cajole, jest, or harass someone into doing something that they're hesitant about. that's the unfortunate way that these words are used.

I use them too. Mostly, I do it without thinking. Part of it is false machismo in the military, bred through inculcation. Though, reading this thread has made me reconsider the way that I use words.

I am going to make it a point to clean up my mouth. I, like you, didn't consider my words offensive. Maybe the problem is just as much the class of people I hang around with (the ones that take it in stride) as it is me. If I improve myself, do I improve my friends?

And if I improve my friends, can I change myself?
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20-09-2010, 07:21 AM
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 05:48 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  I think that you are tapdancing (skirting the subject and using deflection) with your reference to cats.
(20-09-2010 05:48 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  I am pretty sure that when someone refers to me as a 'cracker', they are not referring to a saltine. ?

I assure you, tapdancing was not my intention. I was trying to make a legitimate point. The point being that the words have changed meaning before, and it should not be shocking that they have done so again.
Just for fun I´ll add that I have a bitch at home (canine cind, not the girlfriend cind, again not being sexist) and anyone who have seen a bitch in heat will know that to call someone who is whiny a bitch is quite fitting.

The reason I´m quoting the cracker part is that I have no idea what it means.. Huh

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20-09-2010, 07:34 AM
RE: Homophobia
Quote:I just started wondering if using words like this are influencing some people's attidudes, but not all.
I'm 75% sure that (at least in some cases) they do. For example, at least in my region, 'homo' is the number 1 offensive word used by the youth. You do'nt vandalize with other kids: you're a homo. Do your homework: you're a homo. You differ from other local kids: you're a homo, and the list could go alot further, but I think you'll get my point. Most of the youth is secular, but still against gays (not so much against lesbianity for some ''odd'' reason), but I do'nt think many can properly answer the question ''why against gayness?'' (if anyone can).

Of course this can be caused by many other reasons, like stupidity and not wanting others to think you're gay by not being aganst them. And I do'nt even know if it would still effect their opinions 15 years from now.

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20-09-2010, 07:54 AM
 
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 07:21 AM)ThinkingNorseman Wrote:  
(20-09-2010 05:48 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  I think that you are tapdancing (skirting the subject and using deflection) with your reference to cats.
(20-09-2010 05:48 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  I am pretty sure that when someone refers to me as a 'cracker', they are not referring to a saltine. ?

I assure you, tapdancing was not my intention. I was trying to make a legitimate point. The point being that the words have changed meaning before, and it should not be shocking that they have done so again.
Just for fun I´ll add that I have a bitch at home (canine cind, not the girlfriend cind, again not being sexist) and anyone who have seen a bitch in heat will know that to call someone who is whiny a bitch is quite fitting.

The reason I´m quoting the cracker part is that I have no idea what it means.. Huh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_(pejorative)

And I, in a sense, see where you are coming from. You may not have intended to 'tapdance', but it did appear to me that you were doing just that. Apparently, I was mistaken, so I apologize.

But I still say that words have the power to hurt, whether you are intentional about it or not.

whether you choose to be offended by them, or not.

When you use words in a derogatory sense, even when there is no one else around who might be offended, you send the message to other (possibly like-minded) individuals that those words are okay. You give them power by approving their use in the company of others. In other words, you help to remove the stigma of certain words.
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20-09-2010, 07:58 AM
RE: Homophobia
Quote:I maintain that words only have the power to offend you if you give them that power.

I think this is a little convenient, though. Words usually, not always, but usually carry an intent. They do not exist in a vacuum. When you hear complaints about people being too sensitive these days (and I think there is truth in that), I think you also need to consider what drives that sensitivity.

Some people are just too sensitive and we've gotten ridiculously PC. However, for years it was common place to tell jokes about women, jokes about blacks, jokes about Jews and jokes about all sorts of minorities and majorities just told these groups it was all in fun and no harm was meant. Meantime, these same groups were generally excluded from jobs, from clubs, and from large parts of society. So, where the jokes really just harmless fun? I don't think so.

You're right, people choose to be offended, but if the words are said with the intent to offend then I don't think you can just expect people to shrug it off.

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20-09-2010, 08:42 AM
 
RE: Homophobia
(20-09-2010 07:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  
Quote:I maintain that words only have the power to offend you if you give them that power.
I think this is a little convenient, though. Words usually, not always, but usually carry an intent. They do not exist in a vacuum. When you hear complaints about people being too sensitive these days (and I think there is truth in that), I think you also need to consider what drives that sensitivity.

OK ... so I consider what drives people's sensitivities ... and we arrive at:

(20-09-2010 07:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  Some people are just too sensitive and we've gotten ridiculously PC. However, for years it was common place to tell jokes about women, jokes about blacks, jokes about Jews and jokes about all sorts of minorities and majorities just told these groups it was all in fun and no harm was meant. Meantime, these same groups were generally excluded from jobs, from clubs, and from large parts of society. So, where the jokes really just harmless fun? I don't think so.
You seem to be trying to have it both ways. Where do you draw the line between being "ridiculously PC" and the sinister implications of jokes?

(20-09-2010 07:58 AM)BnW Wrote:  You're right, people choose to be offended, but if the words are said with the intent to offend then I don't think you can just expect people to shrug it off.
Actually, I would hope they would do just precisely that! What I hope for and what I expect are two different things, though. I know I keep a throttle on my use of potentially offensive language because I expect people to be offended and that kills off any civil discourse pretty quickly. There is no useful purpose served by offending people with whom you are having a civil discourse.

If particular words are said with the intent to offend, they're nevertheless precisely the same word if there was no such intent. Their offensive capacity is granted by the hearer - or not. Someone using offensive language can have many intents. Since we humans aren't blessed with telepathy, we have to make guesses about their intentions - a generally unreliable process. If you simply shrug them off, you've defeated any negative intent for the those words, especially via such media as a message board. If no negative intention was present - and you choose not to be offended - there was no need to be offended, so the result is the same as if the intent to offend was there.

I learned many, many years ago that "teasing" - which is a cover word for verbal hazing - could be defeated if you simply didn't let on that it bothered you. Eventually, I learned to not allow it to bother me, for true. The teaser would give up because the desired reaction was not obtained.

A similar tactic for offensive language works the same way. Even if it was intended to offend you, and even if you are offended, your most effective reaction is to pretend it had no effect and shrug it off. "Stick and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you!" If the intent is to offend you, and you can show such a person that you're not offended, then the tactic is completely disarmed.
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20-09-2010, 09:00 AM
 
RE: Homophobia
(19-09-2010 10:57 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I think there's some real validity to thinking through the words we commonly use. Even when we don't intend to be sexist, we need to remember that some may see it that way. Does this condone people being over sensitive? No. But why not make an attempt to make those around you more comfortable? Pussy is a good example. As a kid, this meant coward. In fact, I knew it as a term for cowardess before I knew it was slang for "vagina". Now I do my best to avoid it. Not because it offends me, or even that I am terribly concerned that I am offending others (most people I know would know that I have no malicous intent). I do it to show my daughters that it matters how other people feel. I DO care about offending others. It sucks to feel like that. I don't want people to feel shitty, and I don't want my daughters to think it's ok to make people feel shitty. If Athnostic was at my home for dinner, and I called another guest a pussy in jest, I would make her feel shitty. Probably not really bad, but just that she would notice is enough for me to want to avoid that. I mean really, is it that hard to just re-think what you're saying? Say chicken instead. I promise, if you're at my place the chickens won't be offended. In fact, I'm pretty sure they don't speak english, and they're so stupid that if they did, they wouldn't know they're chickens!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
(20-09-2010 01:57 AM)No J. Wrote:  Could the way these words are being use be contributing to the amount of men who feel superior to women. and if so, by how much? If society reduced the use of these words in this way, would it cause future generations to have a few less male chauvinistic pigs? I think there would be an effect.

Exactly!! Thank you!
Quote:I am going to make it a point to clean up my mouth. I, like you, didn't consider my words offensive. Maybe the problem is just as much the class of people I hang around with (the ones that take it in stride) as it is me. If I improve myself, do I improve my friends?

And if I improve my friends, can I change myself?

You've just earned an admirer. Smile While I might not personally be shocked or offended by words like this said in jest, I really think their use contributes to the atmosphere of the world my daughters (and yours, if applicable) will grow up in.
(20-09-2010 08:42 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  I learned many, many years ago that "teasing" - which is a cover word for verbal hazing - could be defeated if you simply didn't let on that it bothered you. Eventually, I learned to not allow it to bother me, for true. The teaser would give up because the desired reaction was not obtained.

A similar tactic for offensive language works the same way. Even if it was intended to offend you, and even if you are offended, your most effective reaction is to pretend it had no effect and shrug it off. "Stick and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you!" If the intent is to offend you, and you can show such a person that you're not offended, then the tactic is completely disarmed.

The point I'm trying to make here is less about personal offense and more about how the use of particular words affects (or reflects) the social climate of a culture. I think the treatment of gays in our country correlates (to some degree) with these attitudes about women and femininity.

I don't think anyone here would argue that the use of a particular "n" word that was once used in an extremely derogatory sense wasn't a reflection of the attitudes toward African Americans at that period in history. Something similar might apply here. Does the fact that we're still using derogatory words for women without much thought reflect the attitudes toward women in our culture?

If you want to try an interesting social experiment, try joining a forum with no reference to gender and see how you are perceived. (If you have anything intelligent to say, most members will default to male.) Then "come out" as a female. I wouldn't have believed there would be a difference if I hadn't experienced it myself several times (mostly on christian forums where sexism runs rampant).

Just for the record, I find the male-bashing attitude of a lot of women equally reprehensible. Just because most of you have less lower body strength and can't multi-task worth a hill o' beans doesn't make you bad people. ;P
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20-09-2010, 09:37 AM
RE: Homophobia
Quote:You seem to be trying to have it both ways. Where do you draw the line between being "ridiculously PC" and the sinister implications of jokes?

At the point that I'm actually offended, of course.

And, that is pretty much never. Jokes don't offend me, and people I don't respect who try to make jokes at my expense don't offend me. Even in my Boy Scout scenario the issue has nothing to do with me being offended. It's a simple matter of how I want my children to be treated and my instincts not to put them in a position where they are not looked upon as equals. They have plenty of time in their lives to fight those battles.

Also, I'm not actually advocating that anything be done about jokes, language, etc. I'm a near absolutist when it comes to free speech. The only time I think a restriction can be justified is if speech is likely to cause imminent harm to others (like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater or working a crowd up to a frenzy with the intent of them, at that moment, committing acts of violence). Beyond that, I think people have the right to say what they want and individuals do not have the right not to be offended. I'm ok with all of that. I'm also ok with the notion that whether or not you are offended is up to you.

My point here is simply this: words do not exist in a vacuum. You may have the right to offend people but that doesn't make deliberately offending people right. The fact that some are "choosing" to be offended does not mean their feelings are wrong. Perhaps I'm reading something more into your statements, but you seem almost dismissive of the fact that words can have real impacts, as if it exonerates people who deliberately try to offend people. Maybe I'm not perceiving this exactly right.

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When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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