Bhrigu's question

कभी जो याद भी आता हूँ मैं तो कहते हैं के आज बज़्म में कुछ फ़ित्ना-ओ-फ़साद नहीं - मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

Location: the valley, California, United States

Bay Area, Strategy Manager, Haas- U. C. Berkeley, Marathons

Friday, July 22, 2005

The language of sexism

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word tease thus: To worry or irritate by persistent action which vexes or annoys; now esp. in lighter sense, to disturb by persistent petty annoyance, out of mere mischief or sport; to bother or plague in a petty way.

The posts by Mangs, Uma, Charu and the Blank Noise Project describe acts that should not fit the above definition. Yet, the media still categorizes harassment of a particularly deviant nature as “teasing”. And therein lies part of the problem. Our behaviors and beliefs are often reflected in the language that we speak. The words that we chose define the sexist undertones that lie beneath the surface. Statements that are seemingly harmless often convey sexism quite implicitly. How often has one heard sentences such as; “I’m bringing my wife to the film show”, “I’ll get my girlfriend along”, “I’ll go to India for three weeks and get married”?

The physical acts in all the cases may be different. But they vary only to a certain degree. While incidents like groping and molestation are indications of outright dominating behavior, the subtle sub context of abuse of the non-physical type should not be missed, nor forgiven. They are not harmless, since they demean. They make human beings into objects.


Anonymous Charu said...

absolutely right - this objectification of women goes a long long way in fact - cave men fighting over their women - then princesses married off for the sake of keeping kingly contacts intact and so on...

3:29 AM  
Blogger Quizman said...

The problem with sexism today is that it is sometimes not apparent, as in the Sonu Nigam interview, which appears harmless at the outset.

8:47 PM  

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