BITCH, SLUT, WHORE, CUNT, PUSSY, PUSSY-WHIPPED, COCK-SUCKER, MUFF, TART, LESBO, LESBIAN, etc.
(Note...Lesbian has special status because it describes sexual orientation...but I am referring its use as slang here).
I need to make clear here that although the discussions about the language used in the Barbershop gave birth to this topic, it is not the main focus of the OP. This is not about clearing the air. This issue is much more far-reaching, and I'd really like to focus on that. Sorry if the original wording was misleading. Leslie.
This post arose from a debate in Skype that came up around gender-based, sexually charged language being used in the Barbershop and the division on what some people find offensive, but others do not. So, I decided to explore the whole issue.
First off....Is anyone feeling uncomfortable about the title of this piece? Because it seems to me that we like to say these words are harmless....but are they really?
Do you find the use of these terms to describe women offensive or sexually derogatory? Are they offensive when used in anger, or in 'affection'? Are they offensive when a stranger, an acquaintance, intimate partner or friend uses them? What about the gender of the person saying them? Do you feel indifferent about it? Can the essence of gender-based, sexually derogatory slang actually be affectionate?
Why is the slang we use primarily against women sexually submissive (as it pertains to the sex act, to sexuality and to gender roles), sometimes violent, and/or humiliating in nature? Why do we make fun of women on their periods? What is funny about calling a woman a “bleeding bitch” to suggest crazy behaviour? Why do we use sexual slurs about women to insult men? Is it a worse insult? Why do we use it to insult gays and lesbians and transsexuals?
Do you think our society sexually objectifies women? Do we live in a rape culture as the feminists say? (ie..the sexual objectification of women, and the portrayal of female sexuality and gender roles as laughable sets up the exploitation of women.)
I personally am unnerved by how commonplace and acceptable this kind of slang is...because I think it demeans women and encourages sexual objectification and the demonization of my sex. If you were feeling uncomfortable when you saw the title of this piece...maybe deep down inside, you do, too. Think about it. I see the impact that has on young girls and women...and men and boys...and it’s not always harmless, IMO. The fact that women would use terms that mock their own gender or sexuality is just sad to me. How can we...meaning women...teach men to respect us if we don’t respect ourselves?
(Note...I am quite curious to see if staff will let my title stand as is it or not.)
EDIT: To streamline the OP a bit, I think we should keep the primary focus on if gender-based, sexually derogatory terms are offensive or not...but it does makes sense that some reference to how women (and men) are perceived in both mainstream culture, and subcultures arising from it might come up because the topics are so intertwined. Let's just keep the references to a minimum with the main focus on language. Does this work?