Language and Feminism: Why Language is Important when Fighting for Feminism?

language and feminism

Language and Feminism

I was in the office, and two of my colleagues were talking. They were discussing the issue of a guy who took another sick leave while he had an important meeting scheduled.

Of course, the validity of this conversation can also be questioned. If someone is sick, it should come before a meeting, right? Or maybe not.

Anyways, the focus of this conversation was that Henry was saying to Emilie, “What is wrong with this guy? He is such a p****”

And, of course, I had to jump into the conversation.

“Why do you compare him to the genitals of a woman?” I said.

He replied, “You know that’s not what I am saying; it’s just a way of talking.”

Well, I disagree with this. It’s never just a way of talking, or just a joke, or just an expression. Words do matter. Language and Feminism do impact each other.

He could have said, “He is such a child,” he could have said, “He is so irresponsible,” he could have said, “He is so weak,” but he CHOSE to say what he said.

After his conversation, he came back to me and told me, “Why are you making such a fuss about this? You know that it’s not important.” It is important, language and feminism go hands in hand.

I had to explain to him something he already knew: the way you speak does matter. And even though it seemed to him and to me that the conversation was useless because he already knows, I thought that it was still important to have it.

Language does matter. When words change in the dictionary, it does have an impact.

I am a firm believer in “change what you can change, and don’t worry about things that are not in your power.”

You have the power over the things we say; we have the power over the language we use. It is our choice to use the right words and terminologies.

Being a feminist is a long road, and maybe we will never be able to see the world that we are fighting for. But it is still our duty and responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations.

How to Speak Up?

  • You can gently correct the person by pointing out the fact that they said something wrong.
  • You can explain to them why their wording needs to change.
  • Always give examples of alternatives they can use so they don’t feel limited.
  • Your tone of voice matters; don’t make it about you, don’t feel offended, try to have an educational approach more than anything.
  • Don’t blame or judge people for the way they spoke. Most of the time, they don’t even realize that they are saying something wrong. Instead, be supportive and understanding.

So, next time if you hear someone saying something that doesn’t feel right to you, don’t be scared to speak up, stand your ground.

We should all be feminists. Language and feminism go hand in hand.

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