Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Death to Feminist Lingo!

Nearly all the jargon of feminism ought to be tossed into the cliché can. Individual words such as “misogyny”, “patriarchy” and “equality” are used in a mystificationary way, given that the speaker will employ them with creative latitude. I find that people who bandy these items are either unclear in their own minds about their own meaning, or attempting for underhanded reasons to conflate something with something else.

The word “misogyny” alone will serve as a prime example. It is almost never honestly used any more, and is typically a way of smearing or silencing individuals or groups who are deemed to have wrong opinions about certain topics. More often than otherwise, people use this word as something to hide behind.

As an exercise in semantic hygiene and intellectual probity, people ought to rethink their use of this word and even do a bit of soul-searching if that proves necessary. Every time they feel the urge to slip “misogyny” or “misogynist” into their communication, they should stop and think carefully about what they are actually trying to communicate. Then they should pick from the smorgasbord of possible meanings the one item which maps precisely to their actual thought, and use either an exact term or a short descriptive phrase to convey this. Such exercise might force people to think outside the box, but at least it will keep them on the straight and narrow.
 
Taking this to a still higher level, why not place a moratorium on ALL use of “misogyny” or its derivatives. Ditto for nearly every keyword in the feminist lexicon. After all, these are clichés, so why not give them a rest?
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Note: The above is a reader comment which I posted on one of the notorious Free Thought Blogs. Amazingly, it sailed through the moderation queue and now appears toward the end of the thread:

freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/02/13/the-list-of-cliches-and-annoying-phrases-grows/#comment-267823

Consider this a lesson in the second point of Rhetorical Discipline, namely tonal mastery.  If you can achieve a tone of erudite sophistication and urbanity, doors that would otherwise slam in your face will open for you, and you will be able to "put one over on them" and speak your mind with perfect frankness. Rub their bellies and make them purr, and you can say whatever needs saying with little to no dissumulation.

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