Saturday, August 16, 2008

Random thoughts about labels

--the word chick bothers me. I've been trying to figure out why and I've come to the conclusion it's a riff on honey. Not that honey is a bad word--but unless used in the right context, it's simply a general catch-all that implies the user A) doesn't care who you are, since they can't be bothered to learn and use your name B) lumps all people that can be labeled with the word "chick" into one category.

People talk all the time about the evolution of written English and moan about text and lower case "i"'s. "Where did proper English go?" And "That's why children today are so horrible, because they use words like omg or say ty. It's the decline of education."

Yeah, newsflash. Education isn't just abbreviations and capital I. It's giving self-respect a place to thrive and grow. Why are we putting ethnicity over personhood? It's not okay to say the n-word, but it's okay to call a girl a 'ho or a bitch? I don't care what color you are, if you allow yourself to be called a 'ho and go around calling yourself one--hey, you missed personhood 101.

Sure, chick is denigration-lite, but you don't see guys go around calling themselves "boys". When we call all women who dress like women, 'hos, and all women who stand up for themselves bitches--and all together, they're lumped as chicks, where does that leave all the doctors, lawyers, teachers, moms and daughters? Forget "focus on thin", which made all our daughters think anything over a size 0 is wrong, and the ever popular, "if you don't have a man, something is wrong with you"--there are movements everywhere teaching kids that just because you grow up in a certain neighborhood, or certain way, you can reach for something more because it doesn't have to be that way. Excuse me, 'cause I know this is going to sound over the top--but using the language of our oppressors to describe ourselves is just another way to perpetuate a trend that should have been stopped a long time ago.

What's wrong with "excuse me, what's your name?" Or a simple smile? It's called respect.

5 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

Respect is a bridge. If I see the foundations for it crumbling on the other side, I don't bother to maintain my side. No one calls me "chick" for long.

Unhinged said...

I don't mind being called honey, as long as someone isn't calling me that to be derogatory or to seem like they know me (as in, don't call me honey because you think it'll get you somewhere).

What I don't like being called is DUDE. And that's the trend nowadays. It's like me saying to you (or to my mom, or to my supervisor at work):

"Dude, what do you mean that wasn't a good book?"

or

"Dude. Scalloped potatoes again?"

or

"Dude. I'm going to be five minutes late today."

I hate it. HELLO? I am NOT a DUDE.

deanna said...

I'm thankful my daughter has a lot more backbone than I did, and so people don't tend to run over her with labels or with skinny cultural expectations.

She does often say Dude, though. More as an exclamation than a descriptive term, I think.

jodi said...

lol, Alice--it's a trigger point, what can I say?

Unhingey--honey doesn't bother me as much as "us bitches"--I hate people who clump me into their labels. Uhm...my boss calls me "dude". But I think Deanna is right, I don't think he's consciously doing it. It's sort of an exclamation, or he'd take one look at me and say--"Oh, er, heh heh..."

Deanna, my daughter uses chick--I'm trying to break her habit. At least she stumbles over it now.

liana laverentz said...

I have this conversation with my teenage son. I tell him any girl who refers to herself as a ho or bitch is not someone you want to go out with, as she has no respect for herself.

This makes him sad, because it eliminates a lot of girls in his circle.