Trigger warning: hate speech terms.
I went to a late Fourth of July party last night with my parents. It was composed of mostly their friends people of retirement age or older. As I have been living with my parents for the past few months I’ve grown accustomed to the differences with older folks and younger folks. Of course there are other classics, a lack of keen eyesight inability to sense what’s around them, and other dulled senses like hearing.
As a man I was taller than just about every other man around me now that I’m a woman I’m still taller than everyone and I stick out like a sore thumb. I was in the 95th percentile for men, but now I’m in the 99th percentile for women. At first I felt very awkward about this, but over time I’ve just gotten used to being who I am. Some other women have even complimented me on my height.
Anyway, as everyone was just getting to desert and hanging out around the kitchen there was an old codger next to me one barstool over that asked one of the other people there “Who’s the Amazon?”. He clearly could not see me sitting 6 feet away from him.
“Oh, that’s uh, W****’s daughter.”
It was surprisingly jarring to me. The funny thing is, I often refer to myself as an Amazon. I’m 6’2” tall, and a friend who’s 6’4” tall who’s a big drag Queen. We call each other on Amazons all the time, but when someone outside of our group does it, it all of a sudden feels pejorative. I was a bit surprised because I never really thought of Amazon as pejorative term before.
I’m reminded of the comments a woman I went to school with once made during a class discussion. She was kind of soft butch lesbian, and she noted that and she called his cells a dyke of her friends were dykes, she heard some analyses the term recently who was not part of the community and it grated on her.
Language exists primarily to communicate. But it can also be used as a weapon. It is all too easy for one to use the term does not directly apply to them in describing somebody else can cause unintended damage by using it. They may know it is damaging language and use it anyway, it is up to the speaker to be well attentive to the words that they choose.
I was always taught to never say anything unless it was true, necessary and kind. I know many do not follow this type of perfect speech, but I feel that we as a society would all benefit greatly if we were truly careful before we spoke.
Unless we truly consider the feelings of others when we act, we will never truly have peace on this earth. Namasté.