Yeah, there’s cussing in this one, too. Delicate flowers, beware.
As American television and film degrades further and further into a moronucopia of misogyny, sensationalism, sexual violence, and self-centredness, I sigh.
Racism, homophobia and the disgusting slurs that go along with them are getting the attention and derision they deserve, and we’re removing them from media. That’s good shit! Still a ways to go, but it’s on the agenda.
But for women, the misogyny and the slurs that go along with that are getting worse. I can’t watch a mainstream American tv program without hearing someone call someone else a ‘woman’ as an insult. This isn’t 1950’s “girls can’t do math” bullshit. This is a constant stream of insults and ‘jokes’ that have at their heart a deep hatred of women. Yes, today we have a disgusting, disturbing, demeaning downward spiral of woman-hate normalized through popular media that the entire goddamn world watches (trust me – I live in China and people are learning the ways of English communication, and how!), internalizes and regurgitates. And women are signing on enthusiastically in order to get jobs and keep roofs over their heads. I sigh.
Anyhow, today, I’m talking about motherfuckers. Or rather, the term ‘motherfucker’ and how to replace it with something that makes more sense. You see, like most other overeducated Canucks raised by filthy-mouthed parents, I love a good cuss. Stalking off and swearing my head off has probably saved a number of people a good, well-deserved beating or murdering. But as part of my aggressive self-removal from as much Patriarchy as I can manage on my own, I’m analyzing the language I use. We’re all guilty of throwing hate around without thinking about it. Lifelong self-reflection is a good, good thing. And as I tell my students, language is at the root of everything.
Anyhow, I’ve never understood what ‘motherfucker’ actually means. The English language is filled with slurs designed to insult people, and the majority of them are based on the universal hatred of women. Want to insult someone? As I mentioned above, these days, all you need to do is call them a woman. Voila! It’s so simple, even a moron can do it.
And so, we have delightful terms such as ‘motherfucker’. I’m not going to get into all the origins of this shitty word – there is a nice little mansplainer over at Stack Exchange who does a fine job and I recommend taking a gander at his needlessly long explanation that begins deliciously with the mansplainy: “Most fortuitously for you”. Dinkus. But at least, if you are patient enough to wade through it, you’ll get the gist and I don’t have to do it here.
I don’t use the term anymore. Consciously. As I said, we’ve all internalized misogyny. And I don’t use it despite the fact that I despise my own mother as an individual for the constant abuse she heaped on me as a child, for teaching me to absolutely hate myself, distrust acts of kindness in others, and for her rabid misogyny, racism and homophobia. (Don’t worry, Dad’s a fucking asshole, too, but that’s a separate post). I don’t hate women or the general concept of mothers. So I’m not going to insult someone by using such a stupid fucking slur against women.
As I love wordsmithery and neologisms of the non-internet-meme sort, I’m test driving the word ‘otherfucker’. Lemme explain.
First, I love the word ‘fuck’. I won’t explain my whole rationale here – that post is coming. A lot of feminists oppose use of the word, but I have to admit, I think it sums things up just about right. And for the most part, I use it to mean exactly what I think it means (fuck off, Princess Bride-quote fappers! What’s with you fuck-nozzles!?!) I use fuck to mean: to do something self-serving to another person and often without their enthusiastic acquiescence. It started in the realm of het-sex (“Did you fuck that bitch last night?”), but it’s pretty spot on for many other arenas where someone exerts dominance over another and the other can’t avoid it. And of course, it has plenty of other uses that derive from this.
Which comes to ‘other’. I assert that it is pretty hard to fuck someone you don’t consider them an ‘other’. If you hold someone in esteem as an equal or better, it is usually someone you relate to and don’t consider to be ‘other’. And the idea of ‘fucking’ them whether in the sexual sense or not, is not within the realm of consideration.
Hence ‘otherfucker’. So if I call you an otherfucker, I’m saying that you are exerting unrequested dominance over a person you don’t hold in esteem and they can’t get out of it. And that’s not something you should be proud of, you otherfucker!
Damn! That felt good to get off my chest. No murders today!