Friday, July 22, 2016

The Power of Vulgar Words and How We Use Them to Make Women Smaller

Warning : This blog post contains inappropriate language for children. These words are necessary to prove points cogent to the argument the writer will be making

Last week I was lucky enough to spend most of the week in the company of 26 pre-teen and early teen young women, as well as, many amazing women from the business and tech startup world.  The reason was the 5th year of TechGirlz Tech Entrepreneur Camp. As much as we spend the week concentrating on having the girls learn how they can be part of tech economy, their enthusiasm and excitement of seeing themselves as business leaders, is infectious!  I leave this week every year feeling energized and most of all, feeling hopeful for the future of these girls in the workforce.

And then I ran smack dab into this week. And it hit me hard.

I realized many of men can be still be truly disrespectful of women who are famous, accomplished and powerful. I realized words have power to shape how others view these women, and women who aspire to be like them.  I realized how, as women, we must educate men, that the use of these words must not be used.  

So what am I talking about.  Scott Baio was called out for a a picture of Hillary Clinton which he had tweeted early this year. The unfortunate position of Mrs. Clinton in front of the word Count, had her blocking the O.  You get the picture and if you don't, please refer to the definition at the end of this post.  See his response to the use of this picture in this interview.   His excuse - he didn't say anything about the picture, so it wasn't like he said the word. 

You may not like Mrs. Clinton, you may disagree with her liberal stance, but does that warrant the use of that word.  And you might feel that this word will only be used against her because you may not like her.  But if this word can be used against her, potentially the most powerful woman in the world, can it be used against me in the 
workplace if a coworker disagrees with me? Are we legitimizing the use of this word because a man does not like a woman's stance or work.

I have always found this word to be extremely distasteful and I refuse to use it. And if you read the warning that came before the definition on, it further cemented my belief that it should never be used in any circumstance.  

But on this reflection, it made me think of the other word which I use sometimes to describe myself and other women - bitch.  I will give the link to the definition since there are many attributes in slang.

In a conversation today with a coworker, we were discussing a hard conversation I was planning on having. As we discussed wording and tactics, he said "You can start off by saying  - I don't mean to be a bitch" and I realized that I had used that phrase myself, about myself.  I know he did not mean anything by it, but I said back that a man would never say in a difficult conversation. "I don't mean to be a dick" (dick being equal to bitch, but not as harsh). I said it is business and I should not have to excuse why I was having the conversation. I will not be using that word again when describing myself (or another woman) in a conversation again.

I know you may be thinking I am making too much of this issue, but these words paint a picture and degrade a women's worth. I refuse to be part of allowing others to use these words on the 26 girls I help shepherd to greater confidence in their abilities. It is part of how I plan to make it easier for them to be part of the working world. And I ask that you join me.

C**t - definition (and warning) from

All senses of this word are vulgar slang and are very strongly tabooed and censored. The meanings that refer to a woman and a contemptible person are used with disparaging intent and are perceived as highly insulting and demeaning. There are many words used to refer to people in sexual terms. However, to call a person a c**t, especially a woman, is one of the most hateful and powerful examples of verbal abuse in the English language. 

nounSlang: Vulgar.

the vulva or vagina. 
Extremely Disparaging and Offensive
a contemptuous term used to refer to a woman. 
a term used to refer to a contemptible person.