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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Name-Calling?


We evoke meaning onto words. Words are contextual. Saying ‘fuck yes!’ when you get a 1st in your degree is very different to telling someone you hate to fuck off. Calling your girlfriend a slut in the bedroom whilst you’re getting hot and kinky is very different to rolling your eyes in a club and saying ‘ew, she’s dressed like a slut.’


I’m not someone who believes in universal right and wrong, because my morality is relativist/nihilist as opposed to absolutist. I don’t view anything as inherently wrong. Thus I don’t view any words as ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ I look at context and connotations.

I don’t believe we can ‘ban’ words. In my post about slut-shaming, which is a topic I’ve thought of a lot for years and discussed a lot, I don’t advocate ‘banning’ the word slut. I don’t agree with its usage, but no we shouldn’t pass a law making the word ‘slut’ illegal. Just like banning the word 'bossy' is a stupid idea. But even to say ‘I don’t agree with usage of the word slut’; it would make more sense to say I don’t agree with negative connotations of it. This is because I don’t view a ‘slut’ as a bad or good thing. If someone enjoys a lot of sex, so what. That’s their lifestyle. I curse a lot; some people don’t like that, but are they gonna start ‘curse-shaming’ me now?

People are funny with words. Some people hate the word ‘cunt’ because apparently it’s ‘sexist and degrading to women.’ If I stub my toe and go ‘argh, fucking cunt!’ I don’t see what’s ‘sexist and degrading to women’ about that. Context, my dear.

I’ve never been called a slut (outside the bedroom) but I’ve been called a host of other things. Weirdo, freak, little girl, baby, arrogant, stuck-up, bitch, horrible. Do I think those words should be banned? No. People have every right to be cruel to me. What am I going to do about it, cry and cut myself? Or just take it on the chin and move on? (Both).

Words are powerful and they can hurt. They hurt far more than ‘sticks and stones.’ But what hurts isn’t the actual word, but the context it’s used in. I’ve had people say ‘you’re such a weirdo/you’re so crazy, but in a good way’ and I’ve had people say ‘eurgh, weirdo.’ It’s the context of words that gives them their power.

So name-calling isn’t something that should be ‘banned.’ People call each other silly names, just as they call each other endearing ones. It’s just something we do. I give people cheeky nicknames all the time. Insulting someone is cruel, but it’s probably not going to stop. But by looking at context we can become aware of an insult vs a non-insult. 

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