Monday, January 31, 2005

Jan. 31 Part II

Language Rant:

Before I start my own writing for the day, I have to post a language rant.

I’m really, really, really sick of women blaming language for their problems. Saying it’s “male” and therefore bad/limiting/victimizing. The word itself is simply a word. It’s the context that gives it meaning. Yes, words are weapons and it is up to us as individuals to train in responsible usage, the same way we would with guns or knives. Perhaps we don’t have enough words with the correct shades of meaning – heck, I’m constantly searching out terms in other languages to get the exact meaning I desire for a piece.

But stop with the blame and do something. Go ahead and create words. I know some people do, and they refuse to use words they see as “male”. How about creating words that are inclusive, instead of exclusive? Simply creating the opposite in order to strike back is adding to the problem, not solving it.

The most prevalent of these battered words are “history” and “women”.

I don’t find either of those words limiting. I find the imposed definitions limiting, but when you actually dissect the word, they are more encompassing than the terminology created as a knee-jerk reaction to those words.


The complaint is that it is “his story”. Well, then the world would be spelled “Hisstory” and it’s not. It’s “h – i – story.”

To me, that means “Human interactive story”, which is what history is about – the way humans screw up or don’t screw up their interactions.

To me, that is more encompassing than “his story” and “her story”. It’s the Human story.


The response is often “wimmin” or “womyn”. If that’s your shade of meaning, fine. But, to me, the word “wo –man” or “wo-men” represents the womb encompassing men, which is what happens when a female is pregnant. And the womb both encompasses and represents the female. Grail, anyone?

Step down off the soapbox, put it away, and get back to that computer! The Widow’s Chamber won’t write itself (if it did, I wouldn’t be so far behind).

But at least I’ve had my morning rant and can now return to my morning coffee and the page with a clear mind.



At 12:43 AM, Blogger Eileen said...

I've done my fair share of research into lesbian lit. The words "wimmin" and "womyn" never rang true for me.

"Yes, words are weapons and it is up to us as individuals to train in responsible usage."

- - Self responsibility, a radical concept, for some.


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