Monday, May 3, 2010

Yeah this is what I'm talking about....

You remember a while back when I did that post on how its been ingrained in our language to associate negative or unlikable jerk like behavior with the word dick (for the two of you that don't know dick is a slang term for the penis, male genitia)? And I also mentioned how misandrist and hateful it is towards penis carriers to have such behavior linked to their genitals as if having a penis is what makes those people do the horrible things they do? Yeah well someone's decided to take it blogsphere.

I found this little gem while looking at Feministe's Shameless Self Promotion Sunday post. Not a whole lot of information on the page so it could very well be there for the sole purpose of pissing people off or they just don't to reveal any part of their identity. The reason really doesn't matter here what does matter is that this blogger has decided to open up a blog call Dick Dujour which appears to be dedicated to calling people who do horrible things and calling them a dick. Real insightful I know.

Now the people profiled have said/done some pretty horrible shit and need to laid out for what they are. Unfortunately this blogger seems to think that they are really sticking it to them by calling them male genitalia. That's not good.

While it is important to point out bad behavior when it happens it is also important to be mindful of how we do it. As one who has a dick I can say that it takes more than having a penis to do bad things. And the blogger seems to knows on some level since there are women (one being Sarah Palin who has had kids therefore making it highly unlikely, but not impossible, that she has a dick) profiled on the site. They probably think they are being cool or something by attributing a woman's bad behavior to a body part she more than likely does not have.

But anyway enough of the ranting. To recap having a penis is not a surefire indicator of a bad person or bad things to come it doesn't make you sound hip, cool, radical, feminist, or whatever you think passes for acceptable. It makes you sound like an ignorant jerk. So I think we will all be a lot better off once we as a society realize that such gendered language is not only not doing any good but is actually harmful.


Elle Suchier said...

Although, in North America, it is morecommon to refer derisively to people using terms associated with male genetalia, other parts of the English-speaking world use women's genetalia (cunt is more commonly used in the UK) to denote the same sentiments. I think using these terms is more a reflection of how we percieve sex and sexual organs (dirty, disgusting, base) than how we percieve either gender.

Danny said...

Hey there and welcome Elle.

I've always been of the mind that since sex and sexual organs are tied to gender (by gender I mean male/female in terms of biology, not sexual identity like man/woman) using those terms in that manner is a reflection of gender, sex, and sexual organs.

Women regarded as physically weak and men regarded as emotionally blank.

The vagina regarded as a dirty thing that must be kept clean and the penis regarded as a weapon that must be wrestled under control.

And when it comes sex there's seemingly no way to win. A woman who has an active sex life is dirty. A woman who doesn't have an active sex life is a prude. A man who has an active sex life is a pervert. A man who doesn't have an active sex life is a loser.

Elle Suchier said...

Thanks for the welcome!

After reading your above post and thinking on it, you do have a point about the gendered nature of the words. Social assumptions about male/female/, blank/weak, penis/vagina in place, there is a certain gendering with the words. Looking back on conversations I've had, dick seems to be used for inappropariate action, while cunt/pussy is used for inappropriate inaction (as percieved by the person using the word) -- at least when referring to men. They can be used in regards to describing the men themselves or their behaviour.

To be honest, I have rarely heard a woman referred to as dick, but I have heard a woman's actions described as "a dick move" (again, implying inappropriate action), while invariably, she will be refererred as bitch/cunt/whore either in response to her action or inaction. What it all means, I dunno, but it's been interesting going over interactions I've had in my head where these terms have been used.

On a side a note, it makes me wonder if you can understand some core values about other societies, cultures and sub-cultures by their choice of genitalia words in swearing? ;)

Danny said...

Yeah the language that people use can be a trippy thing. Like the use of bitch against women who are overbearing and pushy. Despite some feminist claims that there is no equivalent used against men the word dick is actually used in just that capacity.

On a side a note, it makes me wonder if you can understand some core values about other societies, cultures and sub-cultures by their choice of genitalia words in swearing? ;)

I would say possibly as their usage of such words may give insight in what they think about them. I don't someone call a person a dick will unravel their entire inner core, but a peek perhaps.

Elle Suchier said...

I would definitely agree that bitch and dick are equivalent. I was just talking to my partner about equivalent terms, and we got on the topic of the word whore, which was the WORST thing you could call a girl when we were in highschool (now girls use it as a term of endearment with their friends... weird), because it had the capacity to ruin her reputation. Most of the punishment would be meted out through social shunning and verbal bullying. He told me the comparitive term for men in highschool was wimp (or wuss). Once tarred with that moniker, it stuck, and caused a lot of the same issues, although, more physical bullying.

You learn something new every day.

Danny said...

Yes. I am the last person to argue with the fact that women/girls face a large amount of shaming. However what I've grown sick of are people (often times women) who appoint themselves able to speak on the lives of men followed by anomolizing any man/boy whose experiences and life don't match their own conclusions. Hell that's part of why I started this place.

Elle Suchier said...

I'm also posting here because I think I can learn more about men's experiences from you as well. While my partner can illuminate some aspects, I have to know the right questions to ask if I'm going to get the information out of him (thankfully, he doesn't mind my curiosity). I definitely know what you're talking about with women dismissing men's experiences as rare or incidental -- I've seen it and done it myself. I'm trying to change that in myself, and the first step is listening. I will try to keep my ears open, even if the information is a little uncomfortable to hear.

I didn't mean to imply anything about you, or this blog. Looking back I see the post was a little poorly worded -- what I was trying to say is that I had always heard there was no equivalent term to whore for men (like the unfounded claim that there's no equivalent for bitch), so I asked my partner if that was true. After a moment of thinking he told me that wimp had a comparable power to damage a boy's reputation. Once given, it stayed and created a similar social pariah status.

Danny said...

Well thanks for taking the time to read and post here. I firmly believe that the best way for us to really achieve real change is for us to really listen to each other's experiences and lives instead of just going by generalizations, stereotypes, and assumptions.

And while you are heard to get an understanding of men's experiences don't be scared to share your own experiences as a woman, a side that I don't fully understand myself since I'm a man.

Oh don't worry about the wording. My hope is for this place to be a starting point. So don't be afraid to ask what you may think is a stupid question and if/when there is a misunderstanding I hope we can all settle the differences like civil adults.

Elle Suchier said...

Hear! Hear! Danny. I will share when I have something to share and I will listen when I have something to learn ;) Exploratory discussion is where it's at!