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tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in flurries @vivsmythe.
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70 Responses

  1. Tyris
    Tyris July 19, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

    [Content note: discussion of people wishing rape on other people.]

    We’ve been doing a little internal discussion about language over the past week. Specifically, about “fuck,” when placed in certain specific phrases like “fuck you” and “get fucked.” More so than in “fuck off” (which doesn’t really make any grammatical sense) or “go fuck yourself,” it seems to imply a high degree of nonconsensuality.

    To put that more bluntly, “fuck you” seems to map very well on to “I hope you get raped,” because of its total lack of consideration as to whether or not the subject wants to be fucked.

    And yet, it’s regularly used by people who wouldn’t dream of wishing rape on other people. Hell, we’ve seen it appear in the comments sections on this very site, without arousing counter-comment (whereas “I hope you get cancer” very much did). What are we missing here? What’s the key that renders it non-rapey?

    We’ve got to be wrong about this, because no way can we be the first to notice. If anyone can shed some light as to exactly how, that would be great. Unfortunately, this doesn’t Google well.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra July 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm |

      A number of years ago, I got a bit upset about this point. I have since made peace with the fact that “get fucked” and a number of other variants imply nonconsent, and also the fact that “fuck” is in many ways divorced from its original, sexual sense. I mean, in the phrase “clusterfuck”, are we really thinking about sex? How about “fucked up” and FUBAR? How about when we use “fucking” as an adjective, ie, “That fucking sucks”?

      Similarly, “shit” is used both to refer to excrement and as a general-purpose word synonymous to “stuff”. See also: crap.

      So, yes, there are some words and phrases I try (and usually fail) to avoid, like “motherfucker” and any use of “fuck” that implies nonconsensual sexual violence (“I’m going to fuck you up”, eg). But I also understand that “fuck” is a pretty general expletive.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S July 20, 2013 at 7:47 am |

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

        So, yes, there are some words and phrases I try (and usually fail) to avoid, like “motherfucker” and any use of “fuck” that implies nonconsensual sexual violence (“I’m going to fuck you up”, eg). But I also understand that “fuck” is a pretty general expletive.

        My take, too (and I avoid “fuck you up” very religiously, as it strikes me as the only rapey thing of the bunch). I mean, when I say “well, fuck this whole situation”, I’m not exactly speaking of my desire to have my conversational partner materialise an event or state of being into physical form and proceed to earnestly attempt intercourse with it. Nor, at the point when I’m telling someone to fuck off, am I expressing a sincere desire for them to have a healthy and fulfilling masturbatory experience.

        Weirdly enough, I found that “to hell with” etc, which I used before, got way more pushback from religious folks.

        Also, yes, I hear the regional stuff about incest and rape that Angie’s talking about, but sorry not sorry, I’m not from there and I shouldn’t have to judge myself by there. I don’t feel the pressing need to tell everyone here how their words have a different colloquial meaning in India, so, you know, whatever. (For instance, (being/having/getting)”jolly” in Tamil-English speakers I’ve met usually indicates experiencing a thing that’s fun/exciting/happy-making, but I wasn’t going to stick to my guns on that on discovering that it’s more generally sexual in the majority of the commentariat.) Unless someone can tell me that was exactly how “fuck” was used in medieval England (which iirc is where/when the word originated), as opposed to the more common meaning of “plough”, I’m not really interested in being sensitive to the finer nuances of language in some American backwater, any more than I expect everyone here to coddle my Tamil-based use of some English words.

        1. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet July 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm |

          You don’t have to be sensitive to it but I wouldn’t advise depending on the original/medieval meaning of the word to decide your word-use.

          Most slurs have innocent origins. The hatred and hang-ups of society quickly twists neutral/positive words’ meaning into something else. I heard the term “cognitively disabled” used as an insult not too long ago. It’s a term that’s been created to get away from the negative connations/slur use of the R word, and sadly, it will probably shift to being used as a slur itself eventually.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

          You don’t have to be sensitive to it but I wouldn’t advise depending on the original/medieval meaning of the word to decide your word-use.

          I’m not depending on the medieval use (though “plough off” would probably be hilarious tbh), I’m depending on current use. While I’ve no doubt that Angie’s region might use “fucked up” to mean “raised in an incestuous family”, that’s not the general understanding of the word, and I never heard of such a usage before today, nor would I use it in that meaning myself, as an incest survivor. And frankly, considering I’m not going to ever go to that region (being in the US, even just in DC, the one time I was, was pretty creepifying for me), I don’t feel the need to take that one variant into account in my daily language use. It’s probably callous, but I’m frankly all out of fucks about it.

          And I could make lengthy posts about swearing as a post-fundamentalist identity marker, but I don’t want to get into that here.

        3. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet July 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm |

          Just to be sure…you are aware that ‘to plough/plow’ someone already means to have sex with them, right?

          (Not trying to be condescending in the slightest; I just don’t know how widely-used that alternate meaning is)

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm |

          Just to be sure…you are aware that ‘to plough/plow’ someone already means to have sex with them, right?

          LOL, seriously? I mean, I think I read it in the Bible or something, but I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

          LOL, seriously? I mean, I think I read it in the Bible or something, but I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

          I don’t use it myself but have heard it in tv/movies)

        6. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia July 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

          My social circles don’t really use “fuck” in slang. We use “shit”, “crap”, “asshole”, “butthole”, etc. Given the amount of time that one could overhear these in a random conversation, it would appear we are obsessed.

        7. rain
          rain July 21, 2013 at 10:55 am |

          I wasn’t sure it was a thing anyone said for realz in the last century at least….

          Heh, am I mixing you up with someone else or did you recently move to Canada? If so, in the July 11th Globe and Mail, in response to a letter writer asking where Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was (Lac-Megantic explosion), someone quipped:
          “Too busy plowing babysitters would be my guess.”
          Linkie explaining remark here

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |

          Heh, am I mixing you up with someone else or did you recently move to Canada? If so, in the July 11th Globe and Mail

          Aaaand this is why I need to read all of the actual news more religiously instead of picking and choosing my sections quite as much. >.>

        9. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |

          Aaaand this is why I need to read all of the actual news more religiously instead of picking and choosing my sections quite as much. >.>

          I wouldn’t worry about it too much, mac. Accuracy is overrated.

        10. rain
          rain July 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

          Well, to drift even further, I wouldn’t recommend the G&M for getting your news; it’s taken a hard turn to the right. I scan their headlines and then look up the article elsewhere. Even the ostensibly more-conservative National Post will sometimes be more even-handed.

        11. rain
          rain July 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

          . . . besides, it’s not likely that the use of the word plow would be a news item :-)

    2. Barnacle Strumpet
      Barnacle Strumpet July 20, 2013 at 6:09 am |

      I’m not comfortable with the way the term is used either. I don’t think it can be so easily divorced from it’s sexual connotations.

      You can say shit or fuck (or any expletive really) is general but in the end they usually have a general meaning and a literal, specfic one. I don’t think it’s wise to ignore why a word with a certain literal meaning has come into use as a general expletive.

      Shit gets to being general without much being problematic. There are a lot of sound factual reasons to have an aversion/dislike of shit. That’s why it’s little surprise that the place shit emerges from (the asshole) is an expletive as well. (Doesn’t mean I don’t consider the term to be bodyshaming–I do.)

      Many of the others slurs relate to sexual behavior as well, steeped in misogyny or heteronormativity/gender normativity. After that insults shame based on ableism and intelligence (even going into attacking what we perceive as “too smart” in a display of anti-intellectualism, as well as the obvious attacks on those we deem mentally un-normal or unintelligent enough).

      To me, the use of the term “fuck” as an expletive is both sex-negative and rife with coercive overtones.

      The truth of the matter seems, to me, to be that the term is just too beloved and widely-used to be given up by the socially progressive. There seems to be a feel that they’ve given up enough words based on their problematic origin/overtones, and they deserve some kind of free pass for this one, the most widely-used of and most-expletive (in society’s eyes) of them all.

      Many even going so far as to call it a tone argument or ridiculous if anyone questions the use of this word.

      1. Angie unduplicated
        Angie unduplicated July 20, 2013 at 8:52 am |

        I always take the approach that any man who uses “fuck” as an insult knows that his fucking is a curse to hetero womankind. Rape culture? No doubt. “Fucked up” is another situation. The phrase “(S/he) was jerked up instead of raised up” is an unfortunatel common comment on childrearing practices in this region. “Fucked up” is the third option here, and refers to the behavioral endproduct of an incestuous family, whether by birth or by rape.

    3. Aydan
      Aydan July 20, 2013 at 9:36 am |

      I’ve noticed this too– actually, it was the comments section here where I first started to think about it– and I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      To put that more bluntly, “fuck you” seems to map very well on to “I hope you get raped,” because of its total lack of consideration as to whether or not the subject wants to be fucked.

      Yes, this. And it’s not just about the sexual connotation. For me, there’s a grammatical difference. I don’t normally hear sex described as something you do to someone– “sex” isn’t a popular verb. We usually say something like “have sex with ____.” But fucking is something you do to someone. If you say you’re fucking with someone, that usually means you’re messing with them.

      I know it’s not a rigorous distinction– we also say “make love to,” for example. But it does make me uncomfortable and I’m glad you brought it up.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

        But fucking is something you do to someone.

        I…don’t agree. As far as I can tell, within my own circles of friends/online friends, novels etc ( though I don’t know many conservative people :P) I’ve heard “we’re fucking” and so on as often as I’ve heard “he’s fucking her” or “she’s fucking him”. Also, I find that “X fucking Y” form is used usually when the persons are more connected to Y; as in, when speaking of my friend’s fuckbuddy, he’s the person she’s fucking. Not because dude’s being raped in her kinky dungeon of torture, but because she’s the one I personally know.

        And this may be weird and personal rather than something that’s applicable generally, I dunno, but I find the notion that (consensual) fucking is something done TO someone (implying an active/passive dichotomy) to be really uncomfortably androcentric.

        1. Aydan
          Aydan July 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm |

          Hmm, I think I should have been more clear (though maybe I communicated this just fine?)– those aren’t my personal opinions on the meaning of the word, just what I perceive as common use. (I do know a lot of conservative people, but most of them are older than me, and wouldn’t dream of using such language in front of my young innocent virgin ears, so I can’t clarify on that point. :p) I do definitely hear “fuck” as a transitive verb a lot more than “sex” (“I’m fucking him” vs. “I’m sexing him”), which I think is one reason why “fuck you” et al have this particular unpleasant connotation in my head.

          Even though I often hear it used as something you do to someone, it’s never struck me as particularly androcentric, mostly because… you don’t have to have any particular combination of sex organs or body parts to be able to actively perform sex acts on/with someone? But I definitely pick up on the passive connotation, and that’s part of my discomfort with it.

        2. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet July 20, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

          I find the notion that (consensual) fucking is something done TO someone (implying an active/passive dichotomy) to be really uncomfortably androcentric.

          And that’s one reason why I hate “get fucked/fuck you”. Women and gay men are the ones usually percieved as the passive/recieving partner in a heteronormative society, and is it any surprise that “get fucked” is considering insulting but “go fuck someone” isn’t?

    4. Funty
      Funty July 22, 2013 at 5:02 am |

      Whole point of swearing is that it’s a word that’s still got shock factor.
      So thanks for keeping it fresh by finding a way to still be shocked by it.

      Also, enthusiastic consensual sex isn’t exactly a perfume scented night at the ballet. It’s a bit of a heaving, sweaty mess really. Ask anyone who’s had to clean the sheets after. For the love of fuck, drop the notion that it has to be pretty in order to be good.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S July 22, 2013 at 7:28 am |

        Tyris said nothing about how a particular usage of the word “fuck” has to be “pretty” as you say in order to be acceptable. Nor did ze* imply anywhere that shock factor is a criterion by which ze’s judging the usage of “fuck” in speech; all Tyris said is that ze doesn’t want to use that word in a way that implies nonconsensuality on the listener’s end. If ze only cared about shock factor, I highly doubt ze would even bring up this topic.

        It’s like you didn’t even read the comment you were replying to.

        *Sorry, I forgot your preferred pronouns

    5. Tyris
      Tyris July 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm |

      @everyone: You’ve given us some more points to argue over – thanks! (If that reads as insincere, it’s not meant to.) An in-depth response may or may not appear in a future thread, but we’re not too likely to come up with any stunning new insights, so expect “may not.”

      @Ally S: You didn’t forget – we just never officially declared! We’ll answer to almost all pronouns without fuss, but “they” / “them” is preferred due to its number-neutrality.

  2. Ally S
    Ally S July 20, 2013 at 1:19 am |

    I turned 19 today. Like most of my birthdays, it was rather uneventful; all I did was work most of the day and go to a restaurant with some family members. My older sister got some neat gifts for me, though: The Possibility of Altruism by Thomas Nagel, a charger for my GBASP (best Nintendo handheld IMO), and a brand new MP3 player.

    In other news, UCSC has accepted my final grades and so has maintained its offer of admission for me. So technically I can still attend this year. These days I’m not keen on the idea of going, though. I mean, I want to go some time, hopefully next year, but with the way things are going now, I really will have to be stuck with living with conservative religious roommates and being constantly monitored by family elders like my father. If my father can drive 1800 miles from San Jose, CA to Boulder, CO just to tell my sister that she is forbidden from having a boyfriend, he can certainly visit me frequently if I tell him to leave me alone.

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia July 20, 2013 at 1:49 am |

      Happy birthday A!

    2. Donna L
      Donna L July 20, 2013 at 2:08 am |

      Happy Birthday, Ally! May the coming year bring you both joy and freedom.

    3. Willemina
      Willemina July 20, 2013 at 3:11 am |

      Happy Birthday!

    4. Barnacle Strumpet
      Barnacle Strumpet July 20, 2013 at 6:14 am |

      Happy birthday! And congratulations on your acceptance, even though your father is bringing it down.

    5. Angie unduplicated
      Angie unduplicated July 20, 2013 at 8:58 am |

      Happy birthday! Are you so sure that you will have conservative religious roommates? Surely your dad can’t bribe, inveigle, or threaten the dorm managers. The possibility of a good set of roommates who will act as a buffer or boundary between you and your father could be considered. And, remember, the cost of gas is climbing again. Some potential for more freedom exists here.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S July 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

        I know that not all Muslims are the same, and I hope I didn’t sound like I was saying the opposite. But my father says that he has to know these people in person and ensure that they are religious by talking to them and closely observing them.

        And if he isn’t satisfied with them, then he’ll ask me to stay at a Muslim host family’s house, which also has to be very religious and conservative.

        His requirements sound absurd, but this is how he has always been. He’s paranoid about me leaving Islam and going astray if I spend long amounts of time with non-Muslims where I’m living. He brings up shit like “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

        1. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

          this is how he has always been. He’s paranoid about me leaving Islam and going astray if I spend long amounts of time with non-Muslims where I’m living. He brings up shit like “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

          I’d suggest you tell him to what I told my dad at your age but I worry the expression ‘fuck off’ would upset a few people who just posted earlier, upthread ;)

          P.S. Happy Birthday!!!!!!

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

          Steve – Aaliyah’s father is violent. Not just emotionally abusive, he’s physically violent, even to strangers.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm |

          Steve – Aaliyah’s father is violent. Not just emotionally abusive, he’s physically violent, even to strangers.

          Yeah, I get that, my advice wasn’t serious, and I get that violence is not a subject for joking, so that’s not what I was kidding about. I just figured Ally would get a chuckle out of that comment about me telling my father to f off and how it relates to the previous discussion about the f-word.

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm |

          Steve – oh, gotcha, sorry!

    6. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla July 20, 2013 at 10:30 am |

      Happy birthday, Ally!

    7. Andie
      Andie July 20, 2013 at 11:53 am |

      Happy birthday!

    8. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune July 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

      “But what if they have beer containers in their fridge? What if they have girlfriends? What if they don’t pray five times a day?”

      In the words of the immortal Willy Wonka, “What if my beard were made of green spinach?”

      Happy Birthday, Aaliyah!

    9. DouglasG
      DouglasG July 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

      More freedom to you in the year ahead.

    10. GraceGrace
      GraceGrace July 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm |

      Happy happy birthday!!!!

    11. TomSims
      TomSims July 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

      Happy Birthday!

    12. Ally S
      Ally S July 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm |

      Thanks a lot, everyone! ^_^

  3. Niall
    Niall July 20, 2013 at 8:43 am |

    Normally when I’m watching something on YouTube and some sort of commercial or promotional advertisement comes up first, I usually skip over it. But I made an exception to the one I saw this morning. It was a movie trailer for “Fruitvale Station” and it’s based on the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on New Years eve of 2008 on the Bay Area Rapid Transit. (Note to those who might not know: this story was covered pretty extensively here at Feministe. Check the archives.)

    The trailer looks good and I’ve already made up my mind to go see it. It was a hit at the Sundance film festival. Unfortunately it’s not going to get widespread theatrical release until next November. And I can’t help but wonder if maybe an earlier release might have been planned, but then reconsidered in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in killing Trayvon Martin.

    In spite of all that, I’m glad to see the Oscar Grant tragedy coming to the big screen. Maybe his story will reach a wider audience than it otherwise would have.

    1. (BFing) Sarah
      (BFing) Sarah July 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm |

      My spouse and I plan to see it, as well. I’m not really into monitoring movie happenings, but he is and he mentioned that Wallace from The Wire was in it? Love him. I’m sure the movie will make me cry, but that’s not new, lately…

  4. Niall
    Niall July 20, 2013 at 10:39 am |

    Oh…and a Happy Birthday to Ally S also!

  5. Andie
    Andie July 20, 2013 at 11:58 am |

    I’m on holidays this week! Taking the kiddies to Canada’s wonderland along with my best friend and her kids (think something between Disney and Six Flags), then they boy and I are heading into Northern Ontario to visit my sister and BIL.

    Had my first night karaoke hosting last night. It was a fun night and I managed not to break the equipment. Only had to deal with a couple of belligerent drunks.

  6. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    1. Ally S
      Ally S July 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

      I wish I was surprised. How disgusting.

    2. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia July 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

      No surprise at all. Anything else to be said would come across as blaming the victim, which I will not do.

    3. TomSims
      TomSims July 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

      That’s Sharia Law for you.

    4. Willemina
      Willemina July 22, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve July 22, 2013 at 11:44 am |

        She’s been pardoned

        Great news! Though, I get the impression that local women would not get the same treatment.

        1. Barnacle Strumpet
          Barnacle Strumpet July 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm |

          How common IS this kind of thing? I’m just curious if we only hear about the worst cases, or if there are any women that get justice instead of punishment when they report being raped in places like Dubai.

  7. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    RIP

    Mel Smith (too young)

    Helen Thomas (well…also too young…any age is too young when you think about it.)

  8. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm |

    Back from Queensland, and here’s the kitty paintings bracelet I bought at the Eumundi Market. I don’t wear bracelets, but this was irresistible.

    A bit of cute: my sister’s dog Laddie. He’s a sweet boy.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L July 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm |

      He’s adorable!

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

        Thanks, Donna – I think so! It’s sweet to see how much my sister and BiL love their doggies, even if they do call Lad a little sleaze when he’s looking for attention. :D

        He also does the best meerkat impression – sits up on his haunches when he’s sitting on your lap.

    2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 21, 2013 at 1:04 am |

      This one’s of Mr K at the Eumundi Market, a huge place with the best carrot cake ever (raisins and walnuts and passionfruit icing). I also bought a pink stone ring and a purple tee there. Buying tees with fleur de lys on them has become something of a holiday tradition!

  9. anna
    anna July 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

    Hi. I was wondering, with the acronym STEM meaning science, technology, engineering, mathematics, is that pronounced like the stem of a plant, or with each letter pronounced separately like ess tee eee em?

    Thanks.

  10. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll July 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Hannah
    Hannah July 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

    Been looking at Master’s Programs/ Secondary Degrees. Which is scary as hell. I’m not a psych major but I’ve been looking into Counselling Psychology as a possible path and I’m just realizing that it’ll tack at least one extra year on to my degree and the whole thing is making me really anxious. I am going to talk it over with my parents and get their advice because I’m basically bouncing between Counselling Psychology, Social Work and Law programs and it’s really scary

  12. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 24, 2013 at 11:47 am |

    If anyone else here watches/used to watch Castle, what did you think of The Human Factor (ep 5.23)? Because the level of erasure of US imperialistic bullshit is making me incandescently furious. A plot-relevant point is that a pilot sent to kill militants noticed that an Afghan couple was honeymooning in the car he was supposed to fire on, and so he didn’t. Considering the reality of the situation, I can’t even begin to comprehend how these fuckers thought this was an appropriate plotline to pursue.

    And then in the end the guy who was killed by a drone turned out to have been murdered by his son and the government was blameless. Because, you know, you can’t accidentally criticise the government in a TV show.

  13. Radfem
    Radfem July 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

    Reading about USC getting investigated by the feds for failure to investigate reported rapes

    My personal favorite was the one where the woman wasn’t raped according to the brilliant minds there b/c the rapist didn’t have an orgasm. I think two other So. Cal colleges including Occidental are under investigation too by the Dept. of Education.

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