exactly that

Posts tagged ‘words mean things’


Umm.  How do I say this…


Hell fucking no.

There is a whole lot I can say about porn right now, but there are a lot of people who would say it better than me.  I have nothing against porn where everyone is 2257 Compliant (and I mean everyone, even the anti-porn crowd blowhards who think they are making “fair and unbiased documentaries”) and completely willing, as in doing the work because they want to, and not because they have no other options.  There is a lot of nuance there that is ignored in my statement, like the lack of options to women that would lead them to make that choice…but that is not the conversation I am wanting to have here.  This is not a porn debate.

Instead, let’s talk about that phrase.

I have never been raped.  I shared one time at Cara’s place a story about being inappropriately touched by a family member once, something I have never really told anyone before, but I can not attest to the pain and trauma of being raped.  I can not personally imagine how horrifying that must be to endure and to heal from, if such a thing is ever truly possible.

But I can say that were I to ask someone I know who has been raped they would probably not say “It was an awful lot like voluntarily watching a sex video or looking at a nudie magazine”.  I intensely detest the flippant use of the word rape to describe anything that someone find arbitrarily unpleasant, like getting pwned in a video game or having to pay taxes.  It is already incredibly difficult to get many courts to take it seriously, or to even get news media to use the word appropriately, and the casual use of rape to describe an unpleasant experience doesn’t do anything to help the cause.

I would have to say that the only thing that can be compared to rape is…rape.


Dear Feminist Bloggers

Could you please, for fuck’s sake, stop using the phrase “abortion provider George Tiller”?  

Seriously, he was a DOCTOR. 

See the difference?

One is a title he earned through work and education, and the other is a service, one of many, that he provided under that title.

It is not the sum of his work, his heroics, or who he was.  Referring to DR. Tiller as “abortion provider” or, I can’t believe I have to type this, “abortionist” just fuels the flames of the Anti-Choice jerks who want to paint him as some evil entity who deserved this horrible end.

He was a DOCTOR, who happened to be one of three people in the country to provide the type of abortions that others were too scared or bullied out of providing.  A DOCTOR.  A damned fine one at that who actually gave a rat’s ass about the people he was helping, who put their lives above his daily for years.

Let’s remember that, kay?

And thank you, again, DR. Tiller.




Names, words, wev…

So we finally got moved in to our new place in Seoul.

We finally found the converters that allow me to use my laptop (Yay!).

More regular blogging and my first official pics of Korea coming up.

For now, I want to point you to a conversation going on at Alas, a Blog.

Jeff Fecke (Sorry, RQ) has written a pretty on point piece about having the respect to call someone by the name the choose to use themselves, the one they identify w/.  No matter how much we personally despise that person or their politics.  He tackles how abhorrent it is to call Bobby Jindal by his legal given name “Piyush” even though he chooses not to use that name.  To Fecke, it stems from a need for some people to other people, to paint them as somehow un-American or different b/c of their funny sounding name (note, I use “funny sounding” in a snarky manner to all those people who think it’s cute to purposely slaughter non-Western names).  It doesn’t matter what we think of him, b/c there is plenty to criticize:


There are many, many reasons to dislike Bobby Jindal politically, from his retrograde positions on women’s rights to his Norquistian, drown-it-in-the-bathtub view of economics. But these have nothing to do with his ethnicity, or where his parents were born.

Bobby Jindal has chosen to call himself Bobby. Polite and decent people call a person by the name they ask you to call them by. So feel free to call Bobby Jindal a sexist, a Christianist, and a disaster for the economy — but call him Bobby Jindal. Because that’s his name.


To me, it is exactly the same as using words and labels for people.  We should find out what a person prefers, and use it.  


Let’s talk about words…

I try to think of myself as an ally to sex workers.

This is one area of progressivism or whatever in which I have very little knowledge but a heap of opinions.  Making those two connect is quite a bit of work, as I am trying to be as informed as I can be b/f I engage in discussions elsewhere.

But lately I have come across two posts where I have felt the need to engage in the conversation, and I am finding that I am met w/ a bit of contention, and don’t really know where to go from there.

I am not an expert, by far, even after spending as much time at RenegadeEvolution as possible, and lurking in places like Bound, Not Gagged, and any where else I am kindly pointed.  Finding “101” information is challenging, and I want to approach the subject w/ as much sensitivity as possible.  Just like I try to do w/ everything else I consider myself an ally for.

So, my big issue right now, why I am all in a bind over the above linked posts:

The use of the word “prostitute” when referring to sex workers is one.  I have come to the understanding that the acceptable term to use is sex worker.  I don’t know the issues entirely, or the exact feelings of actual sex workers, but from what I can read it seems that “sex worker” is the appropriate word to use.  I don’t know how it breaks down w/ people who voluntarily work in the industry as opposed to those who are trafficked.  My gut reaction is that treating prostitution as a monolith and calling all of the people in it “prostitutes” dehumanizes them in a way.  In my mind, it does two things.  One, it equates the person w/ the job.  It goes back to this thing where I think we too easily see a person as the sum of their job and nothing more.  We look at a woman who has depth and many hobbies and interests and who also happens to be a sex worker and paint her “prostitute”, stripping her of anything more than the value of her job.  Two, it uses a stigmatized word to place a person in what we think is their place based on some moral code.  We are privileging our own morals over the worth of a human being.  I don’t think I am over thinking this, b/c words fucking mean things.  We are lumping the entirety of people working in a particular industry that has facets and treating them as if they are some huge uniform structure.

And at the same time, perhaps I am placing a squicky feeling where there really doesn’t need to be one.  If people working in prostitution call themselves prostitutes, then consider me corrected.  Perhaps it is more complex than that.  I really don’t know.

Just like when I came into the feminist sphere I realized quickly that I had a lot to learn.  It isn’t up to anyone to educate me, so I have to read and listen as best I can.  I can’t just run in w/ guns a blazin’ and expect everyone to patiently explain to me what is the proper way to address things.  Just like being an ally for anyone you can’t expect people to hand you the work that has been done, and you need to know what you are running your gob about b/f you stick your foot in your mouth (or keyboard).

By that same account, if I am going to be any kind of ally I need to know damned sure what I am talking about.  If my understanding is off I need to get it straight.  Words mean things.  Also, the way a person prefers to be addressed sure as hell matters.

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