Feminitives and political correctness

Sibyl
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Sibyl » 27 Jan 2019 05:53

Thanks for answering me Irina and Macha! I too want to keep female words going. How nice it must have been to go to an all girls school where femininity and true female empowerment were normalized. Why don't we have more schools, universities, post education institutions to nurture the very best in women? Why indeed. I know the answer to my own question.
I have been having very revolutionary thoughts just recently. I know Radical Feminism is at its perigee just at the moment, but we must bring it back and not only bring it back, we must expand it.
We must try to break the Stockholm Syndrome that so many of our sisters live under. Most of us have lived in denial at least partially. We must have collective money, collective resources and honestly at this point I think we need a country or a continent that is ours. I know this is all a little heavy, but I just don't think we can expect men to do the right thing by and for us, especially not with the current pornification of culture that eroticizes our brutalization even more than this has been done historically.
Most women I know feel like outlaws. - Marilyn French

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Irina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Irina » 27 Jan 2019 19:40

Macha wrote:
27 Jan 2019 04:13

Just wanted to say how much (living in US) I agree with Sibyl. I can tell you from my own experience having gone to a single sex school from the age of 7 to 16 years old with only female teachers that words for women were regarded as natural and great. Our school had a headmistress (not headmaster). We loved, admired and respected her. I saw words like 'chairwoman', 'actress,' policewoman' as normal and worthy of respect as that was my norm. If you are brought up to respect women and think them capable of doing great things then words for women, denoting women are inherently respectful and show women doing excellent things.
I hated when language became 'sex-neutral' in the US, it means really that women are erased, that somehow we should be ashamed of being women and that men are somehow better and what we all want to be. It is bullshit.
I refuse today seeing what's happened and knowing better to use such words. I want to emphasize women and to uplift our sex.
It's true that English is becoming more gender neutral, but overall English seems to be doing better than some other languages. There is only a handful of words with suffixes denoting femaleness. With no grammatical gender in the language system, there is nothing in the words themselves to indicate maleness/femaleness of a profession.
I see where you are coming from. Words like "actress", "chairwoman" or "policewoman" are rare, but you wouldn't want to lose them anyway.

Sibyl
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Sibyl » 28 Jan 2019 18:54

That's the thing, words like actress and policewoman *weren't* rare in the past. By past, I'm referring to in my lifetime. Until recently actress denoted a female thespian. There was a television show in the seventies called Policewoman. Gender neutral language, as a way of liberating women, has failed. It has in effect made us invisible and thus, all these r the usual abuse and domination can continue along as per usual.
Most women I know feel like outlaws. - Marilyn French

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Irina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Irina » 28 Jan 2019 19:40

Sibyl wrote:
28 Jan 2019 18:54
That's the thing, words like actress and policewoman *weren't* rare in the past. By past, I'm referring to in my lifetime. Until recently actress denoted a female thespian. There was a television show in the seventies called Policewoman. Gender neutral language, as a way of liberating women, has failed. It has in effect made us invisible and thus, all these r the usual abuse and domination can continue along as per usual.
That's not what I meant by "rare". I meant the ratio of gendered words (actress, policewoman, etc.) to the words whose morphological make up doesn't suggest genderization (just by looking at words like "scientist" or "teacher" you can't assume the gender of the words because English doen't have grammatical gender in the first place). So, instances like "actress" or "policewoman" are rare as compared to the whole vocabulary system. Still it's sad to lose them, they are valuable exceptions.

Sibyl
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Sibyl » 28 Jan 2019 20:44

Are things better in society's with languages that do specifically gender? I know English isn't formally gendered but I think a lot of words are implicitly gendered. You seem to know a lot more than I do about linguistics.
Most women I know feel like outlaws. - Marilyn French

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Irina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Irina » 29 Jan 2019 10:01

Sibyl wrote:
28 Jan 2019 20:44
Are things better in society's with languages that do specifically gender? I know English isn't formally gendered but I think a lot of words are implicitly gendered. You seem to know a lot more than I do about linguistics.
You are right, some words (professions specifically) are implicitly gendered, but it's not a purely linguistic phenomenon, more of a cognitive bias. Let's look at two words as an example: scientist and secretary. The morphology of neither suggests gender, but people tend to picture a man when they see the word "scientist" but with "secretary" it's a woman they usually imagine. Back when all secretaries were men, cognition worked differently and now it shifted.
In the case of gendered languages cognition is still of primary importance, but languistic biases run deeper than in gender-less languages (there is the whole chapter in Guy Deutscher's "Through the Language Glass" describing elaborate experiments with native speakers gendering concepts in accordance with the rules of their languages).

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Dea-Ex-Vagina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Dea-Ex-Vagina » 01 Apr 2019 10:03

Okay, sorry for the late reply, but here's and article I stumpled upon recently that i didnt wanna keep from you! click

On the reforming on the language, I would like to point out that for some things it has worked somewhat through social consciousness raising.
It has i.e. become widely accepted that terms like 'Nigger' are derogatory and shouldn't be used. Same for some derogatory terms directed at lesbian and gay people.
On the other hand it seems to me that it has become quite fashionable these days to deploying the divide-and-conquer-strategy by infiltrating a social group and then overdo one (or more) of their points so much that it becomes a total mockery and can hardly be taken seriously anymore, let alone be driven in a purposeful direction - see political correctness. See the"""'reclaiming""" of words like 'bitch', 'fag', and so on. It's a blast. So there went the idea of social consciousness raising through language and now looks like a hopeless unsolvable mess. It's actually quite ingenious, if you see it from the political's opponent point of view.

So i agree when you say cognition needs fixing, though what i mean is that language, for most people, IS cognition. A lot of people think in words and direct sentences (while others think more in concepts/"feelings" or images, it's actually quite fascinating i think).
So whatever the actual norm of the language is, that becomes the norm of thinking. That's why they so desperately need us to call men women, because when we say it, we think it, wheter consciously or not. Langauge teaches us what's 'acceptable' and what not and by that we train our brains to accept concepts of things, that actually do not fit, thereby directly preventing any critical recognition of the matter.

So i'm not entirely sure what the solution here is. It seems that in the end everything always becomes diluted to the point of unsolvable, forever-doomed nonsense and it's so frustrating.

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Irina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Irina » 01 Apr 2019 12:14

Dea-Ex-Vagina wrote:
01 Apr 2019 10:03
Okay, sorry for the late reply, but here's and article I stumpled upon recently that i didnt wanna keep from you! click

On the reforming on the language, I would like to point out that for some things it has worked somewhat through social consciousness raising.
It has i.e. become widely accepted that terms like 'Nigger' are derogatory and shouldn't be used. Same for some derogatory terms directed at lesbian and gay people.
On the other hand it seems to me that it has become quite fashionable these days to deploying the divide-and-conquer-strategy by infiltrating a social group and then overdo one (or more) of their points so much that it becomes a total mockery and can hardly be taken seriously anymore, let alone be driven in a purposeful direction - see political correctness. See the"""'reclaiming""" of words like 'bitch', 'fag', and so on. It's a blast. So there went the idea of social consciousness raising through language and now looks like a hopeless unsolvable mess. It's actually quite ingenious, if you see it from the political's opponent point of view.

So i agree when you say cognition needs fixing, though what i mean is that language, for most people, IS cognition. A lot of people think in words and direct sentences (while others think more in concepts/"feelings" or images, it's actually quite fascinating i think).
So whatever the actual norm of the language is, that becomes the norm of thinking. That's why they so desperately need us to call men women, because when we say it, we think it, wheter consciously or not. Langauge teaches us what's 'acceptable' and what not and by that we train our brains to accept concepts of things, that actually do not fit, thereby directly preventing any critical recognition of the matter.

So i'm not entirely sure what the solution here is. It seems that in the end everything always becomes diluted to the point of unsolvable, forever-doomed nonsense and it's so frustrating.
The article is a great reminder that young females are "revolutionizers" of language. Not necessarily always in terminology, but still it is an influential group of language users.
Reclaiming is an evasive issue, but it's a real strategy and it's out there, so I don't want to dismiss it entirely.
In terms of feminitives the problem with PC is that people confuse wishful thinking (if we rename the problem it will go away) with endeavors to change the reality through language. Changing reality does demand linguitic adaptation. If we have a lot of women in the workforce and a system of language convenient enough to name them, the language will comply. In this case it is a very good thing to find new words for new phenomena.
But in many societies representation of women is a construct (just like the example with trans ppl that you gave), and the language will be just a scaffolding, so we'll end up with few women in the workplace, but the names will be there. So it would be so easy for smart ass liberals to point out that we have arrived at our destination in terms of equality because we have all the names. It would be a gangerous construct where there is a name but not the thing itself. Just like we have the thing but not the name in the case of trans ppl. Natural language will fight those inconsistencies.

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Dea-Ex-Vagina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Dea-Ex-Vagina » 01 Apr 2019 12:51

yes, yes, absolutely.
It all has a very postmodernist feel to it, doesn't it?

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Irina
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Re: Feminitives and political correctness

Post by Irina » 01 Apr 2019 14:05

Dea-Ex-Vagina wrote:
01 Apr 2019 12:51
yes, yes, absolutely.
It all has a very postmodernist feel to it, doesn't it?
Yep. Postmodernism at its finest.
They don't even change the reality per ce, they either confuse everyone to the point of no return or scare the opposition into silence.

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