Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Gendered insults #cuntfuse me

#mansplaining vs #cuntfusing

I came across a slew of tweets yesterday between a video game developer i’m not very fond of, and a twitter user concerned with internet related Social Justice Work. They were engaged in a interesting a totally respectful discussion over the usage of insults that imply characteristics about an entire gender. I've included a couple of snippets in this post (see below).

(A totally respectful internet discussion)
Now, this is a tricky area, because while I don’t agree fully with either side, both make some interesting points(not really). My biggest fear in writing on this subject is that some pithy turn of phrase I write in this post, is later used by some Tumblr blogger, or worse an “r/TheRedPill user to further their cause. I'm feeling brave though, so lets sally forth.

When it comes to censoring language I have a pretty simple take. 


There is never a good reason. One of the most powerful tools we have as a species is communication. To restrict our ability to do so is an attack on human advancement. While we as a society do deem certain words offensive or “hate speech”, its almost always in cases when the word itself is inherently abusive to only one group. 
(More polite online debate)
Saying you were “jewed” out of change when buying an item in a corner store is certainly offensive. The word does not describe the action occurring, and being shortchanged in a store is not something unique or ubiquitous to Jewish shopkeepers (outside of stereotypes) so it describes the action inaccurately. To call this “hate speech” in the legal sense, or argue that anyone who uses the term should be censored or face penalties, is simply misguided. Hate speech, at least by Canadian law is inciting hate against a specific group, or using speech to advocate genocide against a specific group. 

So what’s the point, well as much as I don’t care for the term “mansplaining” or the term “cuntfusing” (one of these two words my spellcheck won’t acknowledge, guess which…) I also don’t think anyone should be restricted from saying them. I believe that the use of language that, while not hate speech in a legal sense, but that still uses stereotypes, or attributes the behaviour of an individual to the entire group said individual belongs too should be controlled using… The Invisible Hand of the (language) Market. “Cato, this isn’t economics, you can’t just throw in Adam Smith references”

Yes I can.
(An unedited Adam Smith portrait)

 It’s not because of the “gay agenda” or some legal restriction that the word “fag” fell out of favour on school yards during my youth. It was because there weren’t very many people who didn’t have a gay friend or two. It would have been pretty hard while in conversation with a group of people to drop the word “fag” casually without getting chewed out. This wasn’t because everyone was concerned with the jail time faced by someone insulting “the gays” (as my folks still call them…) it was because the market wouldn’t allow for it. 

Now let’s apply this to our current subject. Ending the #mansplanning vs #cuntifusing debate, is as simple as not doing business (as it were) with people who use these kind of stupid gendered insults. From a legal point of view, neither side is doing wrong. Anyone who is trying to debate there should be legal repercussions towards either party in this typed tirade (or any similar virtual dust-up) is misguided, and is embargoed from discussion of the subject with me. This also goes for any party who thinks this debate is one sided. I’ll put that to bed pretty quickly. Both sides are equally as wrong. Firstly to even have this debate puts down people who like arguing on the internet but are not bi-gendered. That alone must piss off a good 85% of internet SJW's. 

To move on however, if you justify the female side of this debate with the logic that women are currently oppressed by men, have been historically and therefore they are justified in pointing out male privilege, I must disagree. If what were truly fighting for is equality, (and if we can all agree anyone who said “cuntfusing” in a political venue would likely be recalled, where as using the term “mansplaining” is tolerated) then those who use language that plays on stereotypes or colloquial assumptions should not be tolerated. In the case of Australian senator Kathy Gallagher and Communications Minister Smith Fifield, the Minister was doing what all politicians do, avoiding questions, changing subjects, and framing the questions to follow by explaining his narrative - or exactly what every politician ever does. To accuse the minister of doing this because of their gender is sexist. If the senator had said your “Politician-splaining” that would have been way different, but while still playing a stereotype. At least as the senator is also a politician its an equal opportunity insult. However she did not. 

As male identifying person, I am insulted that someone would assume I would talk down to women because of my chosen gender. I am offended that they would assume I think women are stupid. For all they know, in this day and age I could have been a woman. Actually, that’s a good piece of food for thought to end on. Can people who currently identify as male, but were once female identifying “mansplain”? What if they were born in a man’s body but have completed their transition and in every sense (including gentially) and are “out” as their preferred gender of female. They once, at the very least played the role of a guy, can they “mansplain” thanks to the insight their former genitals had? That’s the problem in this day and age. The sheer amour of variety in gender, sexuality and the like, make using gendered or sexuality based insults not only offensive, but probably quite inaccurate. This is why, in my opinion at least, no one who enters this debate has the answer, there’s to many variables and really, it’s not the kind of problem that has a simple answer. Wait did I just enter…

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