Links of the day: gendered slurs as social signals

This comment came up a long way into yet another monster thread at Pharyngula* (*trigger warning for quoted sexist hate speech in original post* (the student newspaper column being quoted is much, much worse)), at a point wherein some members of The Horde had been called a Politically Correct Censuring Brigade (PCCB) for challenging a commentor’s use of the gendered slur “dick” as part of the commentariat’s consensus that gendered slurs are unwelcome:

Author: mouthyb, who should have been twins
Comment:
On the subject of gendered insults (in this case, the use of specific terms to signal acceptable behavior:

I wanted to point out that the idea that sexist phrasing has an effect on behavior is well substantiated, encoded in language structures and has an on-going (long-term) effect on behavior. Behavioral and political science is behind this assertion, and has been since the 80s.

Background: the campus newspaper column in which the student used gobsmackingly hateful terms to describe fellow students who happened to be women seeking contraceptives from student health services (it started at “preemie sluts” and escalated) appears to be part of a regular feature called “Sound Off” wherein they publish two opposing views on a particular issue – the topic for this particular publication was “Sound off: birth control should not be distributed at student health”. Because the student used the word “cunt” as a slur in the unedited version of his column (which was “accidentally” published) many commentors have freely used “cunt” and “dick” as slurs against him, and those were the type of commentors being stomped on by the Horde at Pharyngula. (Nobody would have batted an eye if the same commentors had called the student author an arsehole rather than a gendered slur.)

* “yet another monster thread at Pharyngula” – YAMTAP – has quite a ring to it



Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, health, language, skepticism

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