[I wrote this “op-ed piece” as a final for my English Language: Development and Issues class last semester, and I really wanted to post it publicly. Give me feedback, let me know how you feel about it, and pass it along if you agree!]
A few months ago I was deeply disturbed by a photoshoot which had surfaced on the internet: the infamous Nick Jonas crotch grabbing photos done for Flaunt Magazine. No, it was not the photos themselves which disturbed me; I am in no means of a conservative mindset when it comes to racy photoshoots. What disturbed me were the headlines which were coming along with the photos: “Nick Jonas Grabs His Crotch, Shows Off Abs in Sexy Shoot,” “Nick Jonas Drops Pants, Grabs Crotch, Breaks Hearts,” “Nick Jonas Drops His Pants And Grabs His Crotch to Show He’s All Grown Up” and, my personal favorite, “Nick Jonas Didn’t Just Grab His Crotch in That Sexy Spread- His Abs and Butt Got Some Lovin’, Too!”
Why was I disturbed by the headlines? Well, maybe because I have been reading for years now headlines about other ex-Disney Channel stars, these stars all female, and they had never been called sexy; they were never called “heartbreakers;” their pictures were never justified by saying they were “all grown up.” Instead, their photoshoots had been called racy or inappropriate, or they were told that they needed to be better role models. People would comment on them and call them sluts or whores; meanwhile, people were praising this Nick Jonas shoot up and down because he had “grown up so nicely.” Don’t you just love sexist language?
Sexism in the media is very prevalent. Language is the most basic way in which we construct meanings in our lives, and people learn sexism through language everyday just by the words that are used to describe males and females in different scenarios. Semantic derogation is the way in which words that refer to women have acquired belittling or sexual connotations. For example, a single male is a bachelor which has a positive connotation, but a single female is a spinster which has a negative connotation. The same thing happens with males who date a lot versus females who date a lot. A female who has had a large number of sexual partners, or even just who people believe has had a large number of sexual partners, is most often called a slut, a whore, a man-eater, or a serial-dater. On the other hand, a male who has had a large number of sexual partners is often called a player, a lady’s man, or a stud.
Taylor Swift has been one of the most well-known stars who has been slut-shamed, and she finally commented on it recently, stating, “You’re going to have people who are going to say, ‘Oh, you know, like, she just writes songs about her ex-boyfriends.’ And I think frankly that’s a very sexist angle to take. No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises the red flag there.” Right on, Taylor Swift.
Enough about semantic derogation, though. There are a ton of others ways in which the English language has sexist tendencies. Another of the most common ways is through insults. So many insults which people commonly throw around are anti-feminine. “You run like a girl” or “Don’t be such a girl” being the most obvious examples. Why does it have to be bad to run like a girl? These phrases have become so common place that even girls will use them without thinking about it. That is how far sexism has become ingrained in our language.
The big problem is that at its core, English really was built as a sexist language. It’s asymmetric, meaning that “man" can be used to mean the human species in general. It’s also androcentric meaning that female terms must be marked. If a lion is female, it’s a lioness. If an actor is female, she’s an actress. We also don’t have any singular pronoun to use which refers to a person without specifying his or her sex. Why do we always have to clarify what sex the person is who we are talking about? We shouldn’t have to, but we feel like we do, and the English language has actually forced us to.
Another huge way in which our society has been structured as sexist without us even realizing it is through titles. In most heterosexual marriages, the woman is known to take the man’s last name as her own. This is often been seen as a symbol of unity and of their two lives becoming one. However, there is a reason why it is always the woman who takes the man’s name, rather than the other way around; this is because of the patriarchy ingrained in most societies. In the past, women were seen as property of men. They were first the property of their fathers, and they were then passed on to their husbands, thus the reason why a father “gives away” the bride at her wedding.
Nowadays, women are not generally considered property, but this tradition of taking the man’s last name still stands strong. It’s tradition, so people tend to not question the patriarchal and sexist undertones of it. If a woman chooses not to take her husband’s last name, she is going against the norm, and many people will question why she made that decision. The fact that this is a practice which still exists shows how sexism can be so easily overlooked. Furthermore, a woman is then expected to change her title from Miss to Mrs., so that everyone can be aware of her relationship status. Does a man have to make people aware of his? Not at all.
All of these ways in which language is used in our society support the Dominance explanation for the relationship of gender and language which claims that spoken language reflects and allows for social gender inequality. Many times this takes place without anyone really realizing it. This is mostly the case when it comes to a woman taking a man’s last name, a person telling someone not to run like a girl, or the media calling Selena Gomez’s photoshoot racy while Nick Jonas gets to be sexy.
The media has so much power in shaping the way that people view gender stereotypes, and the people in charge of media should be forced to start taking responsibility for what they’re teaching, especially when there are so many young children reading these celebrity news stories. These kids learn from a young age that when Nick Jonas acts this way, he’s praised, but when Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez act this way, they are questioned or shamed. Even more concerning is the fact that when girls are young they are straight up told not to do certain things because “that’s not ladylike.” On the flip side, a young boy’s questionable behavior is often explained away by saying, “Oh..Boys will be boys.” Well, how about we start saying “Girls will be girls?”
I’d like to start a twitter trend where people tweet something girls “shouldn’t do” with #girlswillbegirls. Would anyone be behind this?? Let’s get it going!
My twitter: shannnnnnnon14 (that’s seven n’s!)
Citing My Source For the Smart Stuff Pichler, P., & Preece, S. (2011). Language and gender. In Language, society and power: an introduction (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge
stopped right outside his house.and she got out pissed seeing him already
leaning against his doorframe. She went to the driver’s window and got out her
wallet. The man stopped her.
He said and drove off leaving her there.
closer hoping he would explain.
like the kind of girl who’d do anal..” he blurs out of nowhere and smirks.
like the kind of boy I’d never do anal with’’ she chuckled. And he grabbed her
fuck ?“ she could swear for a slight moment there was a glimpse of jealousy in
was a proper date.” She admitted as they entered inside.
you like it ?“
..is a great guy…”
don’t do dates…” she added.
am I here?“
he simply stated extending his hand and motioning at her jacket. She took it
off and he threw it on the sofa, staying in his t-shirt.
it off..“ he said. If she wasn’t pissed at his whole , date with Scott, and
cab ride secrecy , she would notice, that a girl pulling off his t-shirts is
his turn on. But like I said , she was pissed.
stared at her and removed his t-shirt. She smirked and stared at his toned
torso , the veins in his hands, his arms , his shoulders, his v-lines.
look at me like that” he said and she chuckled for he sounded like a teenage
want to fuck me” he stated casually.
exactly why you need rehub…’’ he added.
what is all this ? and what time is it anyway ?“ she glanced up at his watch.
‘’ this is
me , helping you with your sex addiction” he made her sit on the couch again. As
she once more stared at his naked torso.
mostly enhancing it ‘’ she smirked.
This. This exactly what you mustn’t say.“ He pointed at her as she spoke. She
wondered what the hell was wrong with him.
he moved closer to her. ‘'he’s going to invite you to this thing-
?“ she cuts him off.
about the thing , it’s about your bullshit” he smirked at her and she erupted
will be a pool Y/N, there will be beer, there will be chicks and guys, a whole
lacrosse team…’’ he trails off.
will be attracted to them.”
you not to. Listen. We both know these sessions aren’t doing any good. Peter is
not gonna ‘'heal’’ you , and neither can i. But I can train you’’ he continues
to what ?“
have a sex addict label on your forehead…’‘
that offensive. She smiled.
‘’ are you
doing this for Scott’ she asks
don’t need my friends , noticing your problem okay ?’'
For him it
made sense. He had already been dealing with a lot of shit for going to
group therapies. And even though he did not want to scare her Scott liked her,
so most likely he would introduce her. He could not have his best friend running
around with a girl that looks at other men like they’re something she can just
of all the people you think you are capable of training me ?’ the sarcasm
obvious in her tone.
all the people I think I am capable of doing a lot more than that to you, but
for now. Settle” the way the double ‘'tt’’ followed by the ‘'l’’ hit against
his tongue made her gasp. If he wasn’t pissed at her , and focused on his goal
, he too would notice that words, and accents, as well as raspy voices, was her
turn on. But like I said , he was pissed.
she says shifting on the couch so that she is comfortable. He stands up.
No smirking’’ he announces as he stands in front of her.
‘'I can do
that’’ se shrugs and then his fingers trace a pattern on the side of his
stomach , as he hands trails down his own self while looking at her. She
doing it’’ ! he points at her. As his hands tight around his crotch . she
he says. She laughs. Rubs her eyes with her hands and breathes in once.
I can do this” she smiled enjoying this. He turns his back . his muscles flex
as he raises his hands and runs them through his hair.
practically hear you smirking!“ she snaps turning back to look at her. He
okay , if we can’t get rid of the smirk, maybe we can disguise it.” He is the
one to smirk right now.
Don’t just raise one corner of your lips. Whenever you feel like smirking, open
wide and show off your teeth. ‘’ he orders as he places her hands on his torso,
she smirks but quickly remembers the point so her lips curl up, to both sides. He
removes her hands.
number too, no hints, and innuendos.” He says.
on that’s an obvious one. ‘'
really like your dress’’ he snaps. She is not even wearing a dress.
you’ll love it on your bedroom’s floor.“ She answers quickly without thinking.
she adds once she realizes.
‘'oh my god
I am sorry , I was just walking and you turned, I didn’t mean to bump into you
, I am so sorry I spilled the beer all over you!“
problem mate” she says and smiles proudly ‘’ I love being wet’’ his smile
not ?“ he says seriously.
‘’ I dont’
know . I think of them and then I have to say it or it will go to waste.” She
what you whisper when you are on top ?“ she asks
?” he says furrowing his brows.
again.. ugh I hate parties , they always bore me. God I feel so down’’
feel me up’’ she snaps and he laughs at this one.
sorry , I promise , I’ll make it!” she laughs.
what YOU say when YOU are on top ?“ he says now.
love nutella.“ He says. The thought pops in her mind. My legs could be
nutella. Spread them.
too..” she sighs and he smirks.
number three. No erotism’'
‘'what ? what
sort of rule is that ?“ she questions and he gets up heading for the kitchen. Seconds
later he returns with a beer, a glass, a fork and some food.
from the bottle” he orders. She grabs the bottle and raises it up. She drinks
and then licks the remains from the nape of it and her own lips. Isaac’s lips
escape a gasp as he stares at her. He then shakes his head and facepalms.
even doing it on purpose?“
?” she has no idea.
bottle to your lips. Drink. Remove it. Anything else, is erotic.“ He orders
and she struggles but succeeds.
, from the glass” he pours beer in the wine glass and hands it to her,
she takes hold of it, and brings it to her lips before tighting them round it
and softly trailing her fingers down the glass neck of it, letting the beer
wash her mouth.
‘’ I don’t
even know how to fix this. Not when you’re not even trying to look erotic. ‘'he
avoid wine glasses.“ He adds.
eat that ?” she says and he nods. She takes a look at the food. It’s pasta.
She grabs a bite with the fork and brings it to her lips, she chews on the
pasta and swallows. Then she licks the fork and after placing it down, and then
biting her index finger , sucking on it , trying to remove the sauce.
fucking believable..“ Isaac raises his hands. His tongue presses the surface
of his teeth once, making a loud noise.
and fruit. That’s all you are allowed to eat.” He says.
the strawberry in my mouth , suck it once , to feel the taste and then bite the
lower area. I usually caress my lips once with the now half strawberry like
lipstick because then the taste remains and it is good for kissing..“ she says
‘’ just sandwiches. ‘’ he corrects himself.
reaction to touch..’ he trails off.
about it ?” She knows what about it but she wants him to touch her.
fingertips on her neck , he leans and kisses her cheek, as many people might do
at the party. She flinches and shuts her eyes.
keep your eyes straight. Blink every four seconds, control your breathing and
for Christ , do not bite your lip.“ He whispers against her cheek grabbing her
waist and brushing his nose against hers leaning in to kiss her lips. Sucking
on her bottom one causing a moan to escape.
‘’ I doubt
anyone will do that to the party..” she trails off against his lips
he chuckles in her mouth and she wraps her hands around his neck . he moans
once and then pulls away.
rule. Dance’’ he says.
his phone and clicks one of james bay’s songs.
She goes to
her dark background , her left hand raises straight up as her right one goes
through her hair, her head slightly shaking slowly as her hips sway to the
stopped her , a verse ago, but he got distracted.
‘'now do it
like you’re not fucking the air’’ he says causing her to laugh.
shuts again her eyes and tries to control her hips, but she can’t no matter how
she tries. Music gets her.
Just , just don’t dance with anyone but Scott..“ he stops the music. And puts
his shirt back on , while taking hold of her jacket.
you home” he says and she follows. The thing is . that now she doesn’t want to
leave. And nor does he. Which is exactly why he is taking her home. Because for
a second he wanted her to stay.
his door and she opens hers , getting into his car. They are both turned on but
they just won’t admit it. He stares straight at the dark road and she stares
out her window. He glances once at her , while she is not looking. Her fingers
against the glass of the window leaving patterns against the fog, her firm legs
close to him, her lips. The way her left hand is just so close to her core, her
chest rising and falling in his t-shirt. He chuckles to himself shaking his
head again . he can’t believe how everything she does seems so erotic. Ignoring
the thought that maybe. He just sees it that way.
goes to her thigh. And she raises her eyebrows looking at it., it is nice
off’’ she casually says.
you want it further up’’ he smirks still staring at the road.
answer. Fearing her voice will come out as a whimper.
moving it further up.
I’ll have to find out then..“ he says getting impossibly close to her zipper. Then
the sound of it opening. She gasps at the contact as his index finger makes its
way below feeling the dampness of her panties.
you did” he chuckles to himself.
drive’’ she orders, genuinely worrying. It’s supposed to be dangerous to text
while driving….what about sex?. Suddenly with no warning and his right hand
still in her pants he takes a sharp left turn. And stops., she looks outside.
Street lights, a bit further down , the road to their right. He literary pulled
over in the middle of the highway, and out the road.
his door and gets out. For a second she worries, maybe one of the tires broke. Maybe
they are out of gas. She exits her side too as he doesn’t return. She sees him
behind the car and approaches to ask what is happening. His hair a bit tangled
wrong?“ she questions and he moves closer to her. She can now feel his bulge
and she’d make a witty comment on it but remains silent.
my t-shirt. I want it back” he says stressing the back and she can hear his
raspy voice in his throat.
begins to take it off but before she can do so , his lowers himself his hands
finding the back of her knees grabbing her and placing her on the back of the
car. Her back on the glass, her hear spread and he hovers over her. She moans
at the action.
pull the shirt off as she shivers due to the cold…possibly.
her jeans quickly. And he looks up at her through his few strands, lines
created on his
touch you , everywhere. Not just your tits, ass and core..“ he says giving all
mentioned a slight brush causing her to moan but stare at him.
touch every inch of your body. Your inner thighs , the back of your neck , your
shoulder , collar bones, dimples by the bottom of your spine, run my hands down
your calves and up your arms , kiss your stomach and mark the skin of your back
with my fingers” he says staring at her.
go down her centre and start rubbing patterns of 8 as he kisses her neck
planting soft kisses , to her collar bones shoulder and chest. As she moans.
leaves her core and grab the sides of her ribs running up and down as he
admires at her naked body. Going down her thighs giving them a squeeze , and
them moving further down until he reaches her ankles. He wraps his hands around
them and pulls her down. Now standing before him.
her around and pulls her hair to one side, licking her neck once as she gaps .
his hands make their way to her shoulders, and back caressing the skin, licking
everywhere he can , planting kisses, he squeezes her bum more than needed and
then turns her again. Now both of his hand grab the sides of her head pulling
her hair behind as his fingers burry through her hair and he stares into her
look at the ceiling , even once…- ‘’ he starts but she cuts him off.
He looks up
no ceiling to look at’’ he throws her again on the car and wastes no time , his
head in between her legs. And she feels his wet plump lips biting her inner
once the whole length of her core. Long and slow causing her to moan. Her head
rolls back but he stops.
he says against her area , the sound of his voice vibrating against her skin. As
he licks her one more time, before sucking. He sucks the inner lips and then
his tongue finds her entrance, he shoves it in , moving it in circles as she
moans louder and louder. Her hands find his head and press him further in , as
he smirks against his skin. The feeling of his nose, below her stomach , and
his lips curling u\p making her shiver. He licks once more and then begins to
suck again. Now forcefully. As if he breathes through her. There is a vein on
his forehead and he has turned slightly red. His jaw clenches against her core
. his left hand makes its way up her stomach as she arches her back but still
looking at him. He cups her chest and then . as he is eating her out ,
massaging roughly her tit , with his lips lost in her. He looks up at her. His
eyes look at her, his hair tingling her stomach , and she can see the lust in
them , wrinkles formed on his forehead from the pressure he is applying. As she
she chokes on her words swallowing her saliva making the lump in her throat
away , wipes his mouth and then enters again his car. She stays there, trying
to catch her breath when she feels the engine of the car turn on. She gets down .
and gathers her clothes.