Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bird is NOT the word

Update 22-10-12: This blog has been reposted on The Good Men Project. Check out their site great articles on a wide range of issues centered around men and identity in 21c.

Today I am looking for help. I need words.

When writing about men and women I obviously find myself referring to people of a given sex by a collective term such as “men” or “women”. In order to avoid my writing sounding repetitive I try and use other words that mean the same.

In the case of men I find this easy and have a bunch of the synonyms at my disposal.

Men, males, blokes, chaps, gents, guys, fellas, dudes, lads, boys.

To my knowledge none of these are considered offensive (please let me know if I am wrong) to anybody.

My problem comes when trying to find words for women. There are certainly several such terms but many are contraindicated for use as they are considered patronising, belittling or demeaning.

Sure we have the basics: - women, ladies, females - but in a lengthy article even these can get repetitive. So what are my alternatives?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Who are the rules for?

I want to try and reason out some of my confusion in my current explorations into equality, doubtless spurred by my current single status. (Please note I am not judging anybody by their relationship status, I just like having a partner to share things with)

Over the past months I have been regularly reading articles written by women, specifically women writing about themselves and their lives, as well as women writing about feminism. And it hasn’t come as any surprise to find that they come in a smorgasbord of styles and ideas and hopes and experiences. What has come to mind with this though is that some of them do not seem to want the things that feminism wants, yet they all seem to have the same levels of happiness and sadness, anger and joy in their lives.

I have read blogs by self-identifying feminists, and people who don’t label themselves such, who love to bake, who loves shoes, who love cycling and real ale, and lots and lots of women who love to play computer games (so do I - that’s why I read so many gaming blogs). I have also read blogs by women who want to be in charge, women who want to be dominated, women who want tenderness and women who want excitement. Now here’s the sticker: most women want some of all of this, in different quantities, at different times.

I have also been reading blogs by men and it turns out that they are the same. Exactly the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To name, or not?

Identifying things to write about is quite easy, working out exactly how to tackle it is proving a touch harder. In the online debate on sexism I see many claims that I consider to be, shall we say, exaggerated, and many that I feel are completely misguided. I have referred to conversations in previous posts but only vaguely, making my anecdote no more reliable than those I wish to address. So my dilemma is whether to directly link, or copy/paste, to the relevant comments and discussions or just to refer to them.  

Despite the reputation of many men in this arena, I am not a nasty person and wish no hurt to anyone and can’t get over it feeling like bullying. A major component of the faction wars in online atheism is an endless rally of abuse and personal attacks between a few key members that is fed by bystanders adding their own, often less diplomatic, asides. This is not a way to reach any form of consensus and only serves to highlight the few differences rather than strengthening the strength of the similarities. What begins as a lack of mutual understanding rapidly converts into opposing sides, both looking further and further afield for ways to diminish their opponent and losing sight of the original point.