Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Locus of control.

Okay, sleep deprivation temporarily resolved, back to putting effort into this blog. Apologies for the less-effort, I know it's been showing lately.

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The ancient Greeks believed there were two kinds of fate. There's the kind that you earn in consequence for your actions, and the kind that just happens because it's fate. Maybe your goats died because you had it coming, or maybe they just got sick. Consequences and destiny.

(I feel bad saying "the ancient Greeks" like that's one thing, but I'm having no luck looking up the actual source on this. I want to say it was the Cynics but I'm not sure. Either that or it was some idiot at a Pagan group making up totally deep, man shit and claiming it was the ancient Greeks and now I'm repeating it as fact. Anyway.)

This is a dichotomy that I think is important--and difficult--in the dating and meat markets. Sometimes people are attracted or not attracted because of you, and sometimes because of them, and usually it's a complex combination of both. Which is more correct: "He wasn't attracted to me," or "I wasn't attractive to him"?

Both attitudes become toxic when taken too far. Make your sexual locus of control entirely internal and you start acting entitled if you have a big ego or self-critical if you have a small one--sex becomes about what you deserve. You can also fall into obsessively rating yourself and others, since if only your perspective matters, attractiveness can be considered objective.

An entirely external locus of control, however, leaves you helpless. You feel resentment toward people who aren't attracted to you and a disturbing gratitude toward those who are, and view your preferred gender as a complete mystery. You also don't try very hard, because sex will come to you or not, there's nothing you can do. True love will see right past my stained sweatpants and shallow assholes will never like me anyway, so I won't change anything.

I skew toward internalizing; every time I get rejected in ways big and small I'm not angry but constantly concerned what I did wrong. (This is not just in sex; 98% of the time a non-crazy person calls me an asshole, my response is "oh God I'm so sorry" rather than "fuck you, asshole!") At the same time, I'm not all the way there, and I'm progressively getting better at understanding that someone else's decisions regarding me are not 100% about me.

I can't help but notice from my fortune-cookie descriptions that PUA is basically all about going from an external locus of control to an internal one--albeit usually way too far over, straight into "but if I'm sufficiently awesome no one should ever say no" territory.

As my usual radical-moderate self, I can only say that the answer is somewhere in the middle. You have some input, but sometimes you'll just run up against fate, and you have to be okay with that. People make decisions about you, so look good and be charming; but people make decisions for all kinds of reasons, so don't think it's all the failure or success of your charm. Finding this middle is ridiculously hard, and requires a very careful balancing of humility and confidence, but it's necessary or you'll end up one kind of crazy or another. In sex and in life.

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I hate it when people call women "females." I have one friend who does it because she was in the military and it was standard practice there, and occasionally I'll say it when I specifically mean biological females rather than women, but 98% of the time it's douchebaggery. Rule of thumb: if you say "females and males" it's okay, but if you say "females and guys/men," you're probably a douchebag.

46 comments:

  1. The Dreaded PC PoliceJune 15, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    It's actually not correct to talk about "females" or "biological females" when you want to refer to people who, in the long form, had "female" written on their birth certificate when they popped out of the womb. "Assigned female at birth" is more correct. Because everyone is biological, you know, and "female" means pretty much the same as "woman", it just has a different connotation.

    I do hate people talking about "females", though. And nine times out of ten, it's used in a sexist context! Big surprise.

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  2. I really liked this post-- have you ever considered writing professionally?
    Anyway, what do you think about the women/girls terminology? Is "girls" also irritating when applied to adult women, or only irritating when it's used as girls/men vs girls/guys?

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  3. Perhaps this is just my part of the world -- Northern California -- but I've noticed that many black folks here in their twenties and thirties, tend to refer to "males" and "females" in a dating or sexual context, rather than "men" and "women". I hear this from men and women alike, and it certainly grated on me for a while, for the reasons you mention. But I'm trying to learn to withhold judgment, at this point, because...uh, my other option is only dating non-black people, or "black people who don't talk like most of the black people here."

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  4. > (This is not just in sex; 98% of the time a
    > non-crazy person calls me an asshole, my response
    > is "oh God I'm so sorry" rather than "fuck you,
    > asshole!")

    Oh hell yeah.

    (You know what I need? I need being-called-an-asshole-and-reacting-appropriately lessons. Maybe we could form a call-each-other-assholes support group or something.)

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  5. I can't help but notice from my fortune-cookie descriptions that PUA is basically all about going from an external locus of control to an internal one--albeit usually way too far over, straight into "but if I'm sufficiently awesome no one should ever say no" territory.

    I don't know too much about this, but I thought the whole point of PUA is that it has nothing to do with actually being awesome, and is designed to allow people with very poor self-regard to try to get laid by giving them canned ploys to push other people's buttons. That seems like the opposite of going to an internal locus of control, since the PUA is giving up his own internal emotional compass, and giving up control to what some "strategy" tells him to do. (But maybe I am misunderstanding.)

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  6. Dunno about everybody else, but I personally am inclined to use the word "female" because the way the word "woman" is used by some people; I'm intensely aware of connotations with a particular -kind- of woman. (Large, loud, and lewd.) I use the word "lady" in its place where it fits, but it doesn't always. (It's not the only word I have quirks with; "beautiful" makes me think "too much makeup," not "physically attractive," and I am reluctant to use that word - except to describe non-human things like landscapes, where the connotation doesn't apply - as well)

    Never encountered anybody else who had this particular verbal quirk, however. Just to explain: "Woman" has connotations for me which make it feel like an insult coming out of my mouth, so I will avoid using it. Has nothing to do with reducing somebody to their gender, and everything to do with -not- mentally reducing them to a negative stereotype.

    As for the appropriate position on the scale from internal to external? Well, I think you make a mistake in making a dichotomy; they're distinct scales: "Is who I am important?" and "Is who they are important?" Yes, these scales go from zero to infinity, so it makes one inclined to flip one and put them together, but that's not quite right, because positions on both scales are independent; it's possible to believe neither matters, and that love is just "magic." It's possible to believe you matter but the other person doesn't - which can result in either entitlement or nervous breakdown. It's possible to believe the other person matters and you don't - which can result in some weirdly dependent relationships, in which the other person's love is a gift voluntarily given, which you don't understand the reason for.

    I'm on the extreme end of -both- scales - who I am matters in the utmost, and who they are matters in the utmost. I am massively egoistical without being entitled - that's not the only possible result of being on the extreme end of both spectrums, just my own result. I am confident - I know my own value, and it is very high - but I have little desire to "sell" myself who does not share my values, and hence does not value me in the same way that I do.

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  7. A quick glance around the internet suggests this is actually common in my generation; use of the word "woman" is in decline.

    The general substitutes are apparently "female" and "lady," as in my case, and "girl."

    Perhaps the use of the word "female" has less to do with sexism and more to do with the lack of a good replacement word? ("Lady" doesn't exactly convey the connotations of somebody likely to sleep with you, and "girl" is still a pretty uncomfortable word to use in a sexual context.)

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  8. "Female" used as a noun says "livestock breeding" to me, and thus I expect anyone who uses it to treat me like a cow.

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  9. When I hear "female" outside of a biological context it's usually in some oogy way. Like "of the female persuasion." Maybe you can pull that one off if you're a cute and charming grandfatherly type.

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  10. "I personally am inclined to use the word "female" because the way the word "woman" is used by some people; I'm intensely aware of connotations with a particular -kind- of woman."

    Adirian, I'd like to hear more about your view on this. And not trying to make fun of you, but this reminded me very much of that early episode of The Office, where Oscar says he is Mexican, and Michael asks if there is another preferred term, as "Mexican" has "connotations."

    "Woman" is the actual, real, simple descriptive word. People might hang a lot of baggage on it, as they might with "Mexican," but it's not offensive in and of itself. Everything else is limited or problematic. "Female": see above. "Lady" is useful in some circumstances, but has many connotations, sometimes problematic ("Lady lawyer" was still getting thrown around by the old timers when I was working in the field). Same with "girl" - the real term for a female child, and reasonably descriptive of a very young adult woman, but can be dismissive or worse. Yet it is also used casually to describe a group of friends (I do).
    You can never go wrong with "woman." It quite literally is what it is.

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  11. I always get turned off when people use "woman" as an adjective -- the phrase "woman scientists" set my teeth on edge recently, in the context of a voicemail recording that I had to listen to when I called the admissions department of a university (they were boasting about the number of award-winning "women scientists" the school had produced in recent years, which actually bugged me in more ways than one). "Female" used as a noun pushes the same buttons.

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  12. In medicine, females and males are experimental subjects. Patients are men and women, and if you say otherwise some crabby physician will humiliate you in public.

    William the Coroner.

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  13. Chi -

    "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean."

    Out of my mouth, the word "woman" would be an insult, regardless of how the person who heard it took it, because that is what the word means to me.

    If you were transplanted into a culture in which the use of the word "nigger" (to pick the worst possible word) were treated as the correct way to refer to black people - preferred, even - could you ever treat it as -just- a word, just a way of referring to somebody? Could you ignore the connotations the word carried for you, in order to use it?

    I cannot in good conscience use the word to refer to somebody; doesn't matter in the least to me whether or not they want to be called it, it's disrespectful.

    I would add that if I'm using the word "female," I will in the same context use the word "male" to refer to men, to maintain symmetry of expression.

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  14. Addendum - That being said, it would be utterly ridiculous of me to apply this standard to other people; the connotations a word carries for me are not the connotations a word carries for others, and it doesn't bother me when other people use the word.

    It's the intent which is more important, and the sentence suggesting that females are nothing more than prey to be hunted, a resource to be exploited, is offensive regardless of whether the word "female" is actually used. (Given context, obviously; if that's your kink, and you don't let it color how you treat people who don't want to be a part of it, then there's nothing wrong with it.)

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  15. Adirian - It seems like you're perceiving connotations that absolutely no one else does.
    "Woman" is, to 98% of everybody, the most polite and low-risk way to say it, and your "loud, large, lewd" connotations are kind of seriously weird.

    However, I think the best way to say it, in some circumstances, is "person." Gender's not always relevant, and sometimes the best way to say "lady lawyer" is "lawyer."

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  16. girl, chick, woman, female, lady, are all acceptalbe to me in the proper context, while anything can be offensive when it's said by a in a disprespectful tone or situation.
    Holly, does it ever worry you that all of us anon's might secretly be one very industrious person?

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  17. Can I just say I love being referenced in a blog as an example of when it is ok to use words? Ok, I'm done.

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  18. In my books, "respect" would include respecting others' wishes about what they prefer to be called. I've had a bellyful of people who want to "respect" me by ignoring my own stated preferences in favor of whatever they'd cooked up in their own skulls.

    "Large, loud, and lewd" - that sounds a whole lot like, "takes up too much space, expresses too many opinions, has too much sexual agency". Now, where've I heard that before?

    Sunflower

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  19. Holly -

    This is possible. It's also possible - given that other words are replacing the word "woman" for many other people - that negative connotations (if not precisely THOSE negative connotations) are just something I'm more aware of, being unusually introspective.

    You're noticing the use of the word "female" as a noun. Have you noticed the use of the word "girl" has expanded, as well?

    Same with the word "man," actually; a lot of people seem to have become very uncomfortable with the word, and "guy" is used in its place. (Actually, "guy" is sometimes used to refer to women, as well."

    There is -something- driving the move away from these words, it's not spontaneous. It might be a product of liberalized opinions on gender, actually; consider the phrases "He's a real man" "She's a real woman" "He's such a man" "She's such a woman." All these phrases have heavy connotative baggage - some of it has to be brought in by the words themselves.

    There are connotations with the words - but connotations aren't something we talk about in public, so perhaps the connotations getting attached vary, but not the emotional element of those connotations.

    Social feedback usually only gives you a direction to go on, not an explanation; it tells you something is a bad word, not why.

    It might also vary by region. In the south, neither "lady" nor "ma'am" carry any negative vibes, nor does "sir" - they're expressions of politeness. You use the word "lady" in New York, somebody might slap you, it's a patronizing word there - and expecting to be called "ma'am" or "sir" is out of the question. (And actually calling people "ma'am" and "sir" is likely to be a bit of an insult, as I understand - "When did I become a ma'am?")

    Sunflower -

    "Takes up too much space" is accurate, because I don't use the word to mean fat; the other two less so.

    Loud is exactly what I mean; loud. Speaking too loudly, and perhaps too often (perhaps in a movie theatre, perhaps). Which ties into lewd; having absolutely no sense of social propriety. Not necessarily sexual propriety, by propriety generally. Don't talk about your rash in public, please.

    These qualities are negative whichever gender you apply them to.

    As for the idea of calling people what they want to be called - by the time I have that information, I can -probably- just use their name.

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  20. Thing is, Adirian, that whole 'takes up too much space, is too loud' thing is a classic thing that women get slammed with for not being doormats.

    Which means at this point that I suspect your usage of 'female' not only means that I should expect you to treat me like livestock, but get shirty about me if I have a spine.

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  21. Dw3t-Hthr -

    If you think "having a spine" means "getting in people's faces," then yes, I am going to get "shirty" about it, although that's not what I'm talking about.

    To address what I think you are talking about (or at least the only way I can interpret your response in view of the fact that I was addressing space):

    Civilized people respect each others' boundaries. Gender simply doesn't enter into it. You want to act like an asshole guy, and get in people's faces? Fine, act like an asshole guy. But guess what? Nobody really LIKES the asshole guy, although some groups may include him anyways if he's civilized towards the group, at least. He behaves that way because he doesn't CARE what people think about him - and if he does manage to be part of a group, it's because he's still a social creature, and recognizes that he does need other people, so he controls himself towards them. (These guys tend to get kicked out of groups when they stop behaving themselves towards other members.) The short of it is, the only people who respect them - and it's a limited kind of respect - are the people they don't act that way towards. If you don't recognize these subtle dynamics, it's going to seem sexist that guys can get away with it and you can't - but the guys can't either.

    It's hypocritical of you to expect to be treated like a normal person when you aren't -acting- like a normal person, in short.

    Also, hat tip: If people seem put off by your aggressive behavior? Pay attention to personal space. Aggression is a lot more tolerable from a good three feet away.

    Also, among men, aggressive means willing to stand up for yourself, -not- willing to fuck people over; it's the difference between refusing to pay for something you ordered which arrived at your door broken, and refusing to pay for something you broke in a store. (If I drop yogurt in Wal-Mart while filling my basket and the seal breaks, I'll bring it to the register with the rest of my stuff, pay for it, and throw it away on the way out.)

    It's amazing how much better reactions will be if you follow some pretty simple rules. (Okay, they're not that simple; there's a lot to male culture. If you beat somebody in a game, for example, you're supposed to tell them how you beat them - that way they're a better challenge next time. If pulled off with grace, it's advice, which automatically puts you in a senior position in the group; if not, it's gloating, which might lower your position a bit. They're similar acts, even if it doesn't seem that way.)

    You'll still encounter sexist assholes, but really, trust me, they don't matter. If you are worth your beans, it's their loss.

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  22. Thank you so much for explaining that to me. I'm so totally chastised for my horrible, aggressive, space-invading, in-your-face explication of Sunflower's point.

    Do, please, tell me all about male culture. I live in an innocent world completely devoid of the empenised.

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  23. @Adirian: "Which ties into lewd; having absolutely no sense of social propriety. Not necessarily sexual propriety, by propriety generally. Don't talk about your rash in public, please."

    Aha, yet another Humpty-Dumpty word: rather than "lewd" meaning what it's widely used to mean, and recorded by lexicographers as having that common meaning, it means what you want it to mean.

    There's a reason why Carroll's Humpty Dumpty is a figure of fun.

    Sunflower

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  24. SunflowerP -

    How exactly do the dictionary definitions vary from mine? Really, look at them; I clicked the first one in your list. "Obscene." Follow that to its definition. (Or just replace "lewd" with "obscene" in the URL bar.) Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty. (I hope you don't need me to tie that into propriety, there'd be about four definitions between A and B using that dictionary I'm looking at.)

    "Lewd" is usually used as a sexual word, just because sex tends to come up disproportionately in conversation, but this isn't always the case. (Also, if I used another word, I would have lost the alliteration.)

    And there's a reason the figure of fun -is- fun. Carroll's Humpty Dumpty wouldn't be entertaining if he didn't reflect something genuine about us.

    Dw3t-Hthr -

    My post was advice to you. Take it or leave it. Your defensive sarcasm suggests you are going to leave it, too offended by the suggestion you aren't well-informed in all things male. If you want some much-needed insight from somebody who isn't me, or male, try "Self Made Man;" it's hardly a complete description of male culture, but if you don't learn something it's because you're trying not to. (Shit, I learned some things about male culture from the book, or rather saw some things I had seen as the default behaviors in a different light.)

    And incidentally, male culture has absolutely nothing to do with having a penis, it's merely more prevalent among those that do.

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  25. The fact that you thought I needed advice because I pointed out a sociological fact says rather more about you than about me, cupcake.

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  26. Adirian - You're being an asshole.

    Of course, what "an asshole" means is something I made up in my head and totally differs from the definition that everyone else on Earth uses, but you should just know. And if you don't like me using that word, tough luck cupcake, because I'm the one who decides what people should be called.

    But I do have to tell you, in human-being culture, with which I have a passing familiarity because I read some books, it's better to not be an asshole.

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  27. Dw3t-Hthr -

    You chose to respond to the idea that a particular personality type could be offensive with an allegation of sexism without pausing to ask whether or not what I was saying had anything at all to do with gender. It wasn't your sociological fact I was responding to, but where you were making it, and my own presumptions on why.

    Was I condescending? Yes. My apologies. I was annoyed about your condescending implication of sexism.

    Examine the context, and ask yourself what on earth somebody who finds women outspoken about sex offensive would be doing reading and responding to a blog in which a woman is outspoken about sex. Yes, I was describing undesirable behavior in women in the context of describing negative connotations with a word - but that's what the subject matter of the word is. The word "woman" is describing a woman, except of course when it's used to describe a man as an insult (tying back into those negative connotations, and carrying more along for the ride). Given that the topic is heavy on discussing a particular gender (Holly wasn't addressing the replacement of the word "man" with the word "guy," after all), it might have been appropriate to scale down your sensitivity to non-gender neutral statements somewhat.

    Holly -

    That better? (If not, you're going to have to be specific on what you mean by "asshole," because at that point I have no idea.)

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  28. No, Adirian, no it's not better. You're being a total asshole, and by that I mean what it is commonly understood to mean in contemporary English, you incredibly thick douchesplainer.

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  29. Holly -

    I was asking about the post in general, not the apology specifically.

    The apology is in regards to the manner of the criticism, not the criticism itself; so yes, the criticism remains. (Should have separated the criticism from the apology, however, yes; does damage the credibility, however aesthetically appealing the parallel may be.)

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  30. Dw3t-Hthr -

    My apologies for condescension and suchlike. Also for the way the original apology was phrased.

    My criticism remains, which I bring up because I would like to continue the argument. (Preferably on more polite terms from both of us.)

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  31. Honestly, you may want to continue the argument, but honestly all you're going to get from me is more pointing and laughing at your sanctimonious damnfoolishness.

    I mean: Sunflower pointed out that your objections to the word "woman" are basically standard bits of culturally normal sexism; you didn't get the point for whatever reason; I reiterated her point with more specificity; you decided that I was one of those nasty nasty people that you hold in nothing but contempt and proceeded to treat me to a TL;DR style lecture about what a shitstain on the face of humanity people like your blowup-doll version of me are.

    Yeah, I mocked you. Because for all your smug declarations that some people need to respect space, you don't seem to have demonstrated any capacity for doing so yourself.

    But, y'know, if you want to "continue the argument", feel free to continue making up someone who thinks you have a valid point. (If you ever recognise that your posts to me have been addressed to someone in your imagination rather than an actual extant human being, perhaps you will come up with an apology worth accepting.)

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  32. Dw3t-Hthr -

    I responded to Sunflower by explaining what it was I meant in a way to differentiate it from "culturally normal sexism," and also pointed out that these negative connotations would be negative regardless of which gender they applied to. (In short, it's not sexism to have standards when those standards aren't based on gender.)

    You reiterated Sunflower's points, yes, but not in the context in which she had originally made them. You were at this point replying to my reply to her, which means you -weren't- merely reiterating her points (from my perspective - you certainly didn't say anything to suggest you thought I had misunderstood Sunflower), because you were addressing a completely different set of statements than she was, in which I made it perfectly clear I was describing qualities which are negative regardless of which gender you describe. Your reply, in that context, suggested outright that they are only considered negative when applied to women, hence my reply that you were ignorant of what it means for a man to have those qualities, and that they are negative qualities regardless of who has them.

    (In context, it looked like a "Men get away with it, why can't I?" response to me, so that's what I treated it as.)

    Meanwhile Sunflower went on to address the precise meanings of the individual words, apparently satisfied that I had understood what she had said (and feeling no need to repeat it). The scope of the problem moved to clarification; I was, in her opinion, using the wrong words to describe what I meant. A perfectly reasonable argument to have when it seems some miscommunication is going on.

    I wasn't making up an individual who thought I had a point - if you thought I had a point, your behavior would be different, but nothing else would really change. I don't need someone to believe I have a point to learn something from an argument, which is generally my primary purpose in debate. The person I was making up was somebody who had a separate argument which hadn't been fully vocalized - perhaps suggesting men -could- get away with being "Large, loud, and lewd", and I was simply incorrect in suggesting the standards were the same.

    Since you apparently don't have a distinct argument, and this was all miscommunication, g'day, I suppose.

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  33. Ooh, he said g'day, that means he wins!

    ...I know, that's not mature, but the only thing I hate more than arguing about arguing about arguing, is doing that with someone who isn't listening anyway.

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  34. I was listening. See the spot where I realized that she was just reiterating Sunflower's point, on account of her saying she was just reiterating Sunflower's point? That's an example of listening.

    To paraphrase this post: "Oh. The argument I thought we were having was nonexistent; this has all been miscommunication. Here's the argument I thought we were having, this is what I thought you were saying, this is what I was saying in context to what I thought you were saying." Was it all necessary? Probably not. I probably could have gotten away with a much shorter post. But that would leave her in the dark as to where the entire argument had come from and gone to.

    Indeed, if you're going to criticize me for not listening, it could be appropriate to criticize me for not listening on every post -except- this one, since I was responding to, indeed, an imaginary argument.

    (As for her caustic remarks, I was ignoring those, yes. The last time I responded to the tone instead of the message, I got called an asshole, and I like to think my memory is slightly better than to forget that quickly.)

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  35. @Adirian: "Meanwhile Sunflower went on to address the precise meanings of the individual words, apparently satisfied that I had understood what she had said (and feeling no need to repeat it). The scope of the problem moved to clarification; I was, in her opinion, using the wrong words to describe what I meant."

    Nope. I went on to mock you (apparently too mildly) for your insistence on using your own connotations in the face of common usage, because, while I was not at all satisfied that you'd understood what I was saying, Dw3t-hthr had already addressed those points, and done so better than I felt I would have. Indeed, by the time I came along, you'd already posted your lengthy mansplanation - which, frankly, looks like it's full of still more Humpty-Dumptying. I have many, many better things to do than construct The Adirian Dictionary from scratch just so that I can argue with you.

    Evidently I need to be more overt and explicit in my mockery. ::points and laughs at Humpty-Dumpty-Adirian sitting precariously on the wall of thinks-he's-communicating-but-he's-not, while heating omelette pan::

    Sunflower

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  36. Sunflower -

    Interesting redefinition of the word mockery (which itself invites all kind of mockery considering the debate) to try to score points against me, but a much more effective reply would have been roughly of the form "You see? This all is what happens when people don't know what you mean, which can in many cases be avoided if you should use the common meanings for words."

    (Which would have gone a long way towards winning the debate for anybody keeping score. I would have had a reply, of course, but that'd have been a pretty hefty argument which would require some very subtle replies.)

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  37. I made it perfectly clear I was describing qualities which are negative regardless of which gender you describe.

    ...But you also said you associate these traits specifically with the word "woman".

    Does the word "man" not inherently hold these connotations for you? If not, does "man" have a different bad association in your head? Or is the plainest and most basic term for "someone with a penis" just exactly that, while the plainest and most basic word for "someone with a vagina" is riddled with ickiness in your mind?

    And if "woman" carries a bad aftertaste but "man" doesn't...why do you suppose that is?

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  38. "Which would have gone a long way towards winning the debate for anybody keeping score."

    Because, of course, the only possible reason why people would have a discussion is to keep score and see who wins. ::eyeroll::

    Sunflower

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  39. perversecowgirl -

    "Man" holds -different- negative connotations, as I very vaguely referenced when I mentioned that "guy" is replacing "man" among many people, myself among them.

    The connotations with "man" for me, at least, are dumb, lewd (in the same sense as "lewd" with women, only more inclined to talking about bowel movements than rashes), and something that doesn't have a word but is somewhere between stubborn and traditionalist with a "Embracing shit that nobody should have put up with to begin with" flavour. (Well, I say there's not a word, maybe there is. I don't know of one, either way.)

    There are others. I could probably do something on the letter d with desperate and dumb.

    Even if the word "woman" carried connotations while the word "man" did not, that doesn't say much about my opinion of the opposite gender, only my opinion of a word used to describe members thereof. ("Nigger" was, a very long time ago, a legitimate way to refer to black people, at least insomuch as it is legitimate to refer to them as a distinct group at all; the fact that I think it carries horrible connotations now doesn't say anything at all about what I think about black people, I hope you'll agree.)

    I wrote out examples in one of my post, but it looks like I removed them, of phrases in which gender is used as a deliberate insult; "She's such a woman"/"He's such a man." These phrases rely on connotations we already have with those words to convey the negative meanings. (They can also be used in a "positive" way, if you want to call connotations describing specific gender roles as the only legitimate manner of belonging to a gender positive.)

    Sunflower -

    Generally the idea in a debate is to win the debate. You seem more interested in scoring points against me personally; I was trying to redirect you to the topic we were discussing. But if you want to play the scoring-points-on-each-other game instead, I can play (I like just about any kind of verbal sparring): There's pretty significant hypocrisy in acting smug about being misunderstood in an argument in which the primary point you were trying to make was the importance of clear communication.

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  40. Why are you operating under the illusion that there is a debate?

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  41. Dw3t-Hthr -

    One of the dictionary definitions of "debate," mostly.

    Why, does the word "debate" carry certain connotations for you that you don't think apply in this scenario?

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  42. FUCK OFF, Adirian. God. Just fuck right off.

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  43. For there to be a debate, there has to be a proposition to be argued.

    People asking you why you are doing a particular fuckheaded thing and your follow-on self-absorbed justifications for shitty behaviour does not a "debate" make.

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  44. Even if the word "woman" carried connotations while the word "man" did not, that doesn't say much about my opinion of the opposite gender, only my opinion of a word used to describe members thereof.

    If you (and you alone!) have bad associations with a word for something (and the proper/adequate/basic one, at that) it really, really seems like that'd be an indicator that you have issues with that thing.

    ("Nigger" was, a very long time ago, a legitimate way to refer to black people...

    Admittedly I never paid attention in history class but I suspect "nigger" is what shitheaded white people called black people (and black people adopted the word because they were "taking it back"). It may have been widespread but I don't believe it was the basic, official word for describing black people (can anyone confirm/deny?).

    Comparing the word "woman" to the word "nigger" is ludicrous. A better, closer analogy would be if you'd said you avoid using the word "African" to describe someone from Africa because you feel like it's offensive. People would, naturally, find this incredibly weird and assume that an African dude must've kicked your dog and raped your mom in order for you to hate that word so much. Likewise, I'm sure most of us are wondering what women ever did to you that you can't bear to refer to their very gender by its proper name.

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  45. I know it's years later but to me it sounds like what Adirian is saying is that somewhere he picked up the idea that referring to a person as either a 'woman' or a 'man' implies that the person is embodying a brutish version of the stereotype of that particular gender.

    I'd be curious for details about what (sub)culture he is finding is leaning towards that interpretation.... his use of the term g'day has me speculating that it could be something Australian....

    But, again... years ago and I'll just have to live with my curiosity itching :)

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  46. Yay! I am not the only person reading this thread in 2013!

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