Thursday, January 28, 2010

on sexism in language. book review. honour. modernity.

A fem-aware friend of mine recommended this.
I am not going to thank her.
BTW, I'm THAT guy. The one who has read every single second-wave feminist classic. And knows why he disagrees.
I took an introduction to feminism studies course in university too. Voluntarily. Well, at first.
Since I've read those books, I read these other books too. Some are out of date and feel anachronistic. Still classics.
1) Myth of Male Power
2) Moral Panic
3) Spreading Misandry

D: anyway, I am rapidly skim-reading Spencer's book, not being willing to waste more of my time than that.

The problem? She completely lacks any understanding of our pre-modern, honorable cultural origins.
Honour is grounded in an age of segregated gender roles.
She finds it terribly significant that there are so many ways to disparage a woman's sexuality.
Of COURSE there is. A woman's part of honour was fidelity and chastity!
A man, conversely, was supposed be gentlemanly towards women and be honorable in a MALE way. Fight-y. Forthright and stuff.
You don't call a man a sl*t to get him going. You call him a chicken. You might even question his sexual prowess.
You would seem strange if you accused of a woman of not being willing to fight.
There are many ways to question man's prowess, and his potency.
And the worst word to use, in public opinion, is C*NT. Even though it is just the anatomical equivalent for any number of common and widely used male put-downs.

The book is a dud and a non-starter. Case closed.

I had already been thinking about certain related vocabulary items. I have always been troubled by 'heart' references. It is a vestige of an ignorant and superstitious past. Take, for example, Esp-o heart-derived words.
Kora (heart... y?) and kore (heart... ily?)
I think they mean dear and cordial or somesuch.
Hey, I like euphemistic and poetic language as much as the next guy.
The Japanese say they're sorry by saying "this thing is like poison to your soul" or thereabouts. Neat.
I am just aiming for a precise language. Folks can poet it up later if they want to.
What does it mean to be 'manly'? The question feels not quite right to a modern. That's because to root various virtues in gender is to fall back on old and obsolete concepts of gender and honour.
We are no longer an honorable people, nor have we been for quite some time. We are humanistic, moralistic.
We no longer worry about glorious war. We fret over incidental collateral damage and want a clean surgical good war. Ethics, not honour. The ones we fight have no such inhibitions. We fight with one hand tied behind our back - and we tied it there.

The Decimese core-concept system *can* express these vestigial concepts from another time, another age.
Man-time-less (old). Adjective.
I prefer the more sterile non-gendered version. If somebody is promiscuous or cowardly, then say so.
One person's promiscuous is liberated. Another's cowardly is a principled pacifist, a conscientious objector.
Moral evaluation: plus or minus. Emphasis as desired.

I've always snickered at Po-mo and De-con. Post modernism and deconstructionism.
We cannot even understand each other? Then stop babbling at me.
Po-mo - about control of language. Then it is for you too. And I cannot trust you and your power play. You don't seek
equality - you see to invert the power relationship.
They really are stalemate strategies that cannot ever result in 'winning'. Mere sophists.
I'm apparently still archived somewhere on a masculinist site. My bud Paul had the ill fortune to be a man in an English M.A. during the P.C. days of the mid-'90s.
He tried to use logic. More the fool! He was told as-per 'total rej' that logic itself was to be rejected as a product of patriarchy.
I pointed out that his opponent had used premise A, premise B, conclusion C format.
Western logic. TO disprove... western logic!? LOL. Well, it works or it doesn't. Again, pointless sophistry.
On that note...
One more parting thought on patriarchal domination of language.

In the media, firefighters, even when the sample is 100% men, will NEVER get referred to as fireMEN.
They are only too happy to describe an unknown shooter as gunMAN.
This flips Spencer's claim on its head.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
'Nuff said.
So much for patriarchy.
P.S. - my spell checker neither recognized "masculinism" nor "misandry".
And THAT says volumes... mysandry masculinist
Nor those.

1 comment:

Dino Snider said...

I suppose Decimese can capture the traditional sexist put-downs. Quality: courage. Negative. Add gendered:male. And a social respect: less indicator to boot. Something about promiscuity for women I guess.
Of course: courage/less would be more succint.
Or, I suppose, man/ social respect: less. A lousy man. A sorry excuse for a man with more emphasis.

Meh. I'm more interested in being an evaluation:plus human being.