Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis


Sunday, October 11th, 2015
Politics and how much I really hate them

I have just learned about the Hastert rule. No, that isn’t true. I just learned it had a name and how it came to be. I think this method of governance is both irresponsible and unethical and should be criminal. I don’t care which party is in power. If the government is going to work in a way that serves the people best, then all the bills need to come up for votes. They need discussion, and they need a chance to be shot down or put through, regardless of party affiliation. This particular practice has long made me want to vomit. I find it utterly revolting. I believe in a system with a lot of voices. I believe in a system where those voices get to be heard. Too often the voices that are squelched are the most reasonable, the most likely to serve the people. It also makes it hard for parties to work together and compromise. To actually talk to each other. This stupidity discourages that.

That brings up another thing I hate. I hate the term political correctness and I hate how people label something they don’t like PC and dismiss it. Political correctness can be also translated into an effort at respect. For instance, I despise the term mankind. Hate it. Why? Because there are no women in it and because our society frequently erases and dismisses female experience as unimportant. Many say the word mankind includes everyone–women are implied. But those same people would not agree if all of humanity was called Womankind and men were implied. Or if the general pronoun was she instead of he. Because male experience is generally privileged and considered more important and more valuable. It’s considered normal and anything that isn’t male is abnormal and not included in the definition. Women are not normal. Think about it. Most drugs are based on male anatomy. Most cars are designed around male anatomy and needs. Most everything in our culture is designed around the male norm. Except maybe airline seats which are designed around anorexic Capuchin monkeys.

My point is simply this. we create our world out of language. Michele Foucault said that if we can’t name it, we don’t really know it. That’s because it doesn’t fully exist until we can put it into language–convey, communicate, and internalize the essence of something in language. So when people ask to have their experiences of the world validated by the language, calling it PC without considering its value is a dick move. It’s saying “what exists is perfect and you’re not important enough to bother changing the way I speak.” Of course, what that really does is protect ingrained thinking, and therefore what is accepted as knowledge, even if it’s bigoted. And with control of knowledge comes the cultural establishment of how people understand the world–the way it works, what’s normal, what’s not.

Now consider what might have in the past been considered PC changes. Colored for blacks. Or nigger. Why shouldn’t black people want to be called that? How ridiculous, how PC that they should want the dignity and respect of not being called a pejorative word, even though that word is routine in the language of the culture. What about faggot? Or Kikes? Gooks? Wetbacks? Many would agree now that those are not acceptable. They are racist and hate-filled. But then they turn around and see no sense in changing something familiar because others find it derogatory.

I tend to think that there is too much sensitivity in the culture. That sometimes you just have to let things go. At the same time, I make choices not say things like mankind, runs like a girl, screams like a girl, slut, and so on. Yes, a lot of my particular peeves surround women. I’m a woman, I experience the world in a way that frequently tells me that my experiences are less-than, silly, unimportant, stupid, ridiculous, overwrought and so on. Women are blamed for the things that the culture teaches us to be, that expects us to be, that somehow wants us to be, and also negatively judges us for being. Doing anything like a girl is bad. I wish to hell that would fall out of the language. PC? No. Sign of respect for women? Hell yes.

So I want people to not knee-jerk call something PC and label it therefore as stupid and unimportant. I would ask people to consider whether there might be real merit in changing their use of language, in considering the other point of view.

2 comments to “Politics and how much I really hate them”

  1. Teri Sorgatz-Wordlow
    Comment
    1
     · October 12th, 2015 at 11:46 am · Link

    …and yet you use a term like “dick move.” Why not “vagina move”? Would that term have had the same connotation? Sorry, it just jumped out at me. It sounded a bit pot/kettle.

    That said, I absolutely agree with with most of your points. If you understand a language, you understand a mindset.



    • Di Francis
      Comment
      1.1
       · October 12th, 2015 at 11:53 am · Link

      You’re right. And actually, I used it deliberately. The term would not have the same connotation. Men, even in negative ways, are culturally perceived has having power, where women frequently are not. Whether that’s physical, or whether that’s mental strength, willpower, or so on. The only ‘power’ word associated with women in a negative way is bitch, and honestly, to me that doesn’t signify power, but complaint and annoyance and meanness. I suppose an asshole move would have been the non-gendered choice. I have a personal dislike of that particular term. I’m not even sure why. Language is odd, isn’t it?

      I suppose I should clarify that when I say culturally, I mean it’s embedded into the fabric of perceptions and ontological understandings of the world. That many people seek to resist and challenge these perceptions. But that’s another screed altogether.



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