pejoration

WATCH THIS: MAN SHUTS DOWN ANTISEMITIC WHITE POWER PREACHER

So my friend Ondi, who still lives in the Boston area, took this video and gave me permission to post it. She writes: “ I stood there for twenty minutes, easily. Hitler Youth kept trying to preach about “the evils of the Jews” and the big guy barely let him get a word in edgewise. At one point, the big guy yelled, “I will be here ALL DAY” and the crowd cheered.”

I promise this will be the best thing you see today.

ETA 1: Just to clarify, I think when my friend wrote “Hitler Youth” she was using it as a pejorative nickname for the preacher (because he’s young, neatly dressed, and spouting anti-Jewish hate speech). I don’t think she meant he was actually affiliated with a new wave of the Hitler Youth as an organization—although he’s obviously a raging antisemite, so who the fuck knows.

ETA 2: It turns out that while my friend is a Boston-area resident, this video was taken during a visit to New York. My mistake—I just assumed the video was filmed in the area where she lived, but that was incorrect.

ETA 3: As stated above, my friend Ondi took this video and gave me permission to post it. If you are going to share this video elsewhere on the internet, you need to contact me to get permission from my friend.

Guide to TV Tropes, Part 1: Tropes are Not Bad

Pylon @constablewrites here! You may know me as the one who likes sending people to TV Tropes. The site is a fantastic resource and can really help writers develop their understanding of story–but it can also be intimidating and frankly dangerous. So I’m here to share some wisdom not just about the site, but about the idea of tropes in the first place.

What is a trope?

Let’s start by defining terms here. For our purposes, a trope is a specific storytelling element that is recognizable in multiple works. The concept of having characters, of stories having acts like plays, of multiple plotlines, all those basic, fundamental concepts are technically tropes.

This is a very broad definition, but that’s on purpose. It’s difficult to discuss something that doesn’t have a name, so that’s what tropes are: a way to give names to those concepts and elements we recognize so we can talk about them, and so that we can be clear that we’re talking about the same thing.

But people talk about tropes like they’re a bad thing.

When someone uses “trope” in a pejorative way, they’re usually talking about a trope that is deployed uncritically, without new context. Tropes can very easily become cliches when they get regurgitated wholesale, but that does not make a trope inherently bad, and that doesn’t mean that new life can’t be breathed into tired tropes.

So why is it important to know tropes?

Essentially, it’s hard to break the rules effectively if you don’t know what they are. Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum; your story is in conversation with everything that came before and everything that will come after. You know that guy who tries to hide that he came to class late, until he smugly makes a point that was already thoroughly discussed 20 minutes ago? Don’t be that guy. (Want to know how many people are out there hawking Hunger Games clones who genuinely have no idea that franchise exists? It’s a much higher number than you just thought of, I promise you.)

What about originality? If it’s been done before it’s not original!

Think of tropes like Lego bricks. It’s not about what bits you have, it’s about how you put them together. That’s how you can take most of the same pieces from this:

…and end up with this:

Take a bunch of spy tropes that have been overused to the point of parody and give them to superheroes, and you have something that feels fresh. A stock character that’s usually male might look very different as a female, even if they otherwise fulfill the same role. Throwing film noir and detective tropes into a setting with magic and monsters invented a whole new genre. And so on. You don’t have to reinvent or twist every element to have something new; you can get just as much mileage out of turning a single trope on its head and thoroughly exploring the implications of that.

Ultimately, you can’t mess with audience expectations if you don’t know what they are. That one death in Avengers: Age of Ultron completely shocked me because the movie is screaming at the top of its lungs that it’s gonna kill a different character. (Worth noting is that I saw it with a friend who didn’t pick up on those cues at all, and thus had a completely different reaction. Knowing those expectations can cut both ways.) Tropes represent the shared language of storytelling that your readers have learned, consciously and subconsciously, and are bringing to the table. You need to understand that language if you want to speak to them effectively.

Hopefully now you understand why it might be beneficial to spend some time on TV Tropes. But don’t dive in just yet! Otherwise you’ll emerge blinking into the light a week later, muttering about egregious sliding scales and realizing that no one’s been feeding your cat and you probably don’t have a job anymore. Tune in next time where we’ll discuss how to use the site effectively and avoid the black hole.


Edit by Werew: Here is the next part of this post! Happy Troping!

Lacking social skills vs using social skills to hurt people

When someone is a jerk, they’re often pejoratively referred to as “lacking social skills”.

But being a jerk and having bad social skills are different problems. Learning stronger social skills won’t necessarily make someone a better person.

Jerks often have exceptionally strong social skills. Jerks use their social skills to hurt people effectively (and to get away with it.) Sometimes this involves performing stereotypes of social awkwardness — and being very careful to pick targets they can get away with hurting. If someone is hurting people on purpose because they want to, teaching them social skills won’t usually help. They have to change their values and decide to stop hurting people.

People who are jerks and want to stop being jerks may also need to learn new skills for interacting with people. But if someone is intentionally mean, lacking skills isn’t the primary problem.

At the same time, sometimes when people are hurting others, the problem *is* weak social skills. Some social mistakes can be really harmful. (Eg: Standing too close, not understanding privacy, not understanding the difference between different types of physical contact, not understanding which kinds of questions are considered sexual, saying slurs without realizing they’re slurs, etc.) When people are hurting others by accident, learning social skills can be really helpful.

Being a jerk is a different problem than having weak social skills, and it’s important to take the difference seriously. When someone is making social mistakes out of ignorance, the solution is often education and support. When someone is a jerk and wants to learn to be better, the solution often involves education and support. (A caveat here — the people who they’re hurting should *not* be expected to be the ones providing this support.)

When someone is hurting others on purpose because they want to, often the only solution is to deprive them of opportunities to hurt others. (Eg: by banning them from events or suspending their professional license or voting them out of office.). Teaching an intentionally cruel person social skills will not help, and can actually make the problem worse.

Tl;dr It’s obnoxious to use “bad social skills” as a way to insult jerks. Being a jerk is a different problem from having weak social skills. People with good intentions and weak social skills need nonjudgemental help. (From the community or a service provider; generally not from the people they’re inadvertently hurting.) When someone is intentionally mean, teaching them social skills isn’t likely to help — and being nonjudgemental is likely to make matters worse.

15 French Slang Words Every French Learner Should Know 🌻

1. Bordel

Bordel literally means brothel. However, these days bordel is more commonly used to describe a large mess. An example would be: Range ta chambre. C’est le bordel. Clean your room. It’s a mess.

2. Balle

Balle as a singular, literally means bullet. Yet back in the day, balles was used as a slang word for francs, the French currency pre-2002. And when France moved on to the euro, balles moved with it and it is still sometimes used in reference to money. An example would be: J’aime ton pantalon. Merci. Je l’ai acheté au marché pour quinze balles. I like your pants. Thanks. I bought them at the market for 15 euros.

3. Baraque

The word baraque literally means shanty, or small house made of planks. However, recently the term has been adapted to refer to a house, or, as an adjective, baraqué,  someone who is really muscular.  For example: On habite dans une grosse baraque avec 10 colocs. We live in a large house with 10 other people. En règle générale, les joueurs de rugby sont plus baraqués que les joueurs de foot. Generally speaking, rugby players are more muscular than football players.

4. BG

These days BG is a popular acronym. It stands for beau gosse, which means hot guy. Gosse on it’s own though is slang for a child though so watch out! If you’re in Quebec, gosse is feminine and carries an entirely different connotation as a slang word for a part of the male anatomy that is generally used in the plural… So if you’re planning to use your slang in Canada, be aware of that difference, since there could be a few misunderstandings!

5 . BCBG

Another popular acronym, which is the French slang for preppy, is BCBG (bien chic bon genre).

6. Blé

Blé literally translates as wheat in English. However, figuratively it has become a popular way of referring to money. (Another common way of referring to money in slang terms is fric or pognon). Here is an example: Il gagne beaucoup de blé. He earns a lot of money.

7. Bobo

Bobo is actually baby talk for une blessure (an injury). However, you will find that young people commonly use this term when referring to minor injuries such as cuts and bruises. An example might be: Qu’est-ce qu’il y a? J’ai un bobo sur le pied. What’s the matter? I have a scratch on my foot.

8. Bouffer

Bouffer literally means to puff up or balloon in size. However, it has become common practice to replace the word manger (to eat) with bouffer in everyday speech. And in turn, la bouffe is then used as another word for food. Here is an example: J’ai trop mangé. J’ai bouffé un steak tartare avec des frites suivi d’une grosse tarte aux pommes. I ate too much. I ate a steak tartare with fries followed by a big slice of apple tart. Je suis allé en ville pour acheter de la bouffe. I went into town to buy some food.

9. Une clope

A commonly used slang word, especially in Paris, is the argot for cigarette; une clope. For example: T’aurais pas une clope? You don’t happen to have a cig, do you?

10. Kiffer

Another term used by today’s generation, which you may not already know is the word  kiffer, which is slang for to like something (it works best with a hobby!). However, pay attention, if you kiffe quelqu’un, it implies that you desire that person. Here’s an example: Je kiffe faire de la voile. I really enjoy sailing. Je kiffe ton frère. I like your brother. (I’m romantically interested in him).

11. Mec

The word mec is yet another commonly used slang term, and refers to boyfriends as well as guys in general. For example: Il est beau, ce mec.That guy is good-looking. Tu viens avec ton mec? Are you bringing your boyfriend? 

Another type of slang that you might come across is verlan, which are French words spelled backwards, and often incorrectly, in slang. And while this concept might seem a bit intimidating at first, you will find that you pick it up in no time at all and probably without even realizing.

12. Meuf

Our first example is meuf, which was originally femme. And, as with the word femme, this term can be used to refer to a female, or your girlfriend, although it can have pejorative connotations.

13. Relou

Our second example is relou, the verlan for lourd (heavy or taxing) and equivalent of chiant, which means annoying/exasperating. Here’s an example: C’est trop relou! That sucks!

14. Ouf

Ouf is literally the French translation of the interjection phew as well as meaning crazy/awesome in verlan, being the backwards of fou (crazy/awesome). On a fait un truc (de) ouf hier. *Here ’ouf’ can work as either an adjective, without the ’de’, or as a noun, with the ’d’. It’s up to you! We did something crazy awesome yesterday.

15. être vénère

And finally, our last slang word for today is another way of expressing that you are annoyed or angry; être vénère, which is the verlan of être énervé. An example would be quite simple: Mathieu est vénère. Matthew is annoyed. (It is important here to pay attention to your accents because vénéré means to be revered).

Masterpost: Autism and Vocabulary

As a writer, we’re sure you are aware that words are important. You can’t always substitute one for another because they all have their own depth of meaning and their own subtleties. So if you want to write an autistic character, you’ll have to refer to autism using the right words. This post will help you do just that!

Autistic person? Person who has autism? Which one should I use?

This is a highly debated question. You might have heard “You have to say “person with autism” because you’re talking about a person first; the person is not defined by their disability!”. While this is a nice thought, it is largely misguided, and this way of talking are mainly used by non-autistic persons while talking about us. The autistic community doesn’t like this “person-first” language very much for several reasons.

First of all, if you need to use specific language to remind yourself that we are people, you may have a problem that no amount of linguistic workarounds can solve. We say “a French person”, not “a person who is French” or “a person with Frenchness”, because we don’t need to remind ourselves that French people are people. Why should it be different with autistic people?

The second reason most of us don’t like saying we are “persons with autism” is that our autism is not something that we carry with us. We are not a human person + a terrible disorder. We are fundamentally different. Being autistic is an integral part of who we are as people, and touches every sphere of our lives. If someone somehow managed to take away our autism, they wouldn’t reveal the “real us” that was hidden behind it: they would create a whole different person. We can’t be separated from our autism, and this should be reflected in the language you use while talking about us.

So ideally, you’ll want to use “autistic”, as an adjective: Cat is autistic, they are an autistic person. Some of us sometimes use “autistic” as a noun as a shortcut, when we’re tired of repeating “people” all the time, but it’s best to avoid it when you can, especially if you’re allistic.

What you really need to avoid is “a person with autism”, or heaven forbid “a person who happens to have autism”, “a person who suffers from autism”, “a person who lives with autism”, or any variation thereof. I’ve also seen a few people write “an autist”, but I don’t get why they do that. Please don’t do it.

And please don’t refer to us as being “on the spectrum,” we don’t need a euphemism to soften the blow of the word “autistic.” We are autistic! Even those who don’t seem disabled. Please remember that, while it is all too often misused in an insulting or pejorative way, “autistic” is not a bad word. Don’t be afraid to use it! In fact, using it more and in a positive way is the best way to stop it from being misused as a pejorative.

You keep using these words I don’t understand…

Alright, let’s get a glossary going! We’ll update this post whenever we use a word that could be hard to understand (if we can remember to do it…). If there is any word on the blog that you can’t understand, check if we’ve explained it here. If we haven’t, shoot us an ask and we’ll do it ASAP. :)
All of the titles are clickable and will take you to the corresponding tag so you can check out everything we’ve written about a subject.

AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Encompasses all means of communicating used by nonverbal people which are not spoken/sign language, such as using a text-to-speech device or a pictogram system to communicate.

ABA: Applied Behaviour Analysis, the most common type of “therapy” autistic children are subjected to. It can have lots of negative long-terms effects on the person’s life, such as PTSD or vulnerability to abuse.

Ableism: Treating disabled people (including autistic people) poorly because they are disabled.Treating someone differently because they behave in autistic ways, punishing autistic people for stimming, forcing nonverbal autistics to communicate verbally (and ignoring other types of communication), etc. are all examples of ableist behavior.

Alexithymia: Difficulty identifying one’s own emotions, very common in autistic people. They may not know how they feel at all, or simply unable to name their feelings. They are often unable to answer the question “How are you?” or “How are you feeling?” and may be aware only of whether they are feeling “good” or “bad” (and sometimes not even that).

Allistic: Someone who is not autistic. Used as an adjective and sometimes as a noun.

Asperger’s Syndrome: An outdated diagnostic term for an autistic person who is generally able to communicate verbally at a typical age and shows interest in social relationships. This is no longer considered to be a thing which exists. (See our masterpost on functioning labels.)

Autistic: Someone who is autistic (ie the subject of this whole blog) (I don’t know why we added that to the glossary)

Cure Culture / Curism: The attitude held by many allistic groups (most notably the hate group “Autism Speaks”) that autism is a disorder or disease which should be eliminated from the human race and place a priority on “curing” it. This is similar to the old belief that homosexuality is a disease that should be cured, and just as harmful to autistic people.

Disability: There are two main definitions to this word: 1- Not being able to do something that the majority of people are able to do. For example: hear (deaf), see (blind), smell (anosmic), walk (para/quadriplegic), etc.  2-Being impaired by a physical/mental difference in a way that restricts one’s professional, social, personal, or leisure activities. Depending on the definition and personal opinions, autistic people can be considered disabled or not disabled.

Dyspraxia: Difficulty with gross and/or fine motor skills, very common in autistic people. To a casual observer they may appear clumsy, often dropping things, walking into things, or tripping over their own feet (gross motor skills), or with poor handwriting, poor ability to hold a writing instrument, etc. (fine motor skills).

Echolalia: Use of verbal repetition to communicate, usually used by those who are not fully verbal. Words and phrases can be immediately repeated directly (“You OK?” “You OK.”), or with some changes (“Are you OK?” “I am okay.”). They can also come from memory (“Who gave you that?” [Darth Vader voice] “I am your father.” = my father).

Executive Dysfunction: Difficulty with executive functioning; skills used to make decisions and carry out tasks. Many autistic people have problems with this. They may be unable to make what appear to be simple decisions or figure out how to accomplish a simple goal. They may know exactly what they need to do but be unable to get their body to move to do it. It has been described via metaphors in a few ways: one is having all the ingredients to make a cake but no recipe, and being expected to make the cake, but having no idea how to do it. Another is that the body is like a horse and the brain is the rider, and the rider tries to get the horse to move, but it simply won’t budge.

Functioning Labels: Outdated and inaccurate (but sadly, still commonly used) labels for autistic people based on a narrow set of criteria. Those who don’t communicate verbally are normally considered “low-functioning”, for example, and those who can are “high-functioning”. See our masterpost for more information on why these labels are damaging and should not be used.

Hyperacusis: When a person is extremely sensitive to sound and the world sounds far louder to them than to others. It is often extremely painful, like having the volume on the world turned up way too high, and can be disabling. Many people with hyperacusis have or develop tinnitus (a constant sound, often ringing, usually caused by nerve damage in the ears).

Hyperempathy: Having far more affective empathy than a normal person. This can result in things like crying often, being unable to comfort upset people because their emotions are too overwhelming, etc. Some people feel hyperempathy all the time. Some have it only sometimes or for some people, or for inanimate objects.

Hypersensitivity: A blanket term which means “being more sensitive than most people to something”. When it comes to autism, it can refer to several things. Most of the time, it is used about sensory hypersensitivity, such as sensitivity to sounds or bright lights. There is also emotional hypersensitivity (easily getting hurt feelings/responding very strongly to positive feelings).

Hyposensitivity: The opposite of hypersensitivity, some autistic people feel a lack of sensory stimulation. They feel understimulated and may constantly feel the need to seek sensory stimulation. It’s important to note than an autistic person may be hypersensitive in some ways and hyposensitive in others, or at different times.

Infodumping: Sharing a large amount of information on a single topic all at once, often without pausing or allowing others to speak, due to overwhelming enthusiasm for the subject. It is usually done on subjects of special interest.

Low empathy: Some autistic people feel reduced or no affective empathy for other people (do not identify with their emotions or feel inspired to a certain emotion when they see others having that emotion). This does not necessarily mean that they do not care about the emotions of others - some may not care, some may care a great deal - only that they do not feel what others feel. Some people with low empathy for other people have hyperempathy for inanimate objects or fictional characters.

Meltdown: When the brain is too overloaded with sensory information or stress and can no longer function properly, an autistic individual may have a very violent reaction, called a meltdown. The person melting down is generally in a lot of pain. They might scream, throw things, yell curse words and insults, cry, hurt themselves or other, and try to hide themselves in absurd locations like under couch cushions or behind doors.
This neurological event cannot be controlled or stopped once it begins. It can be made worse by interfering and adding more sensory input (by touching or talking to the person) and usually will not subside until the person is left alone to calm down. 

Neurodivergent/Neuroatypical: Having a neurology which is different from the most common ones, such as being autistic or having ADHD. Some people include mental illnesses in this label, some do not.

Neurodiversity: The philosophy that in order to succeed, survive, and thrive, the human race needs many different types of neurology, and that neurodiverse people are an important and positive component of our species.

Neurotypical: A term which is defined as “having the most common type of neurology” (ie not autistic, without ADHD/dyslexia/tourette’s, etc.). Someone with a mental illness may or may not be considered neurotypical depending on people’s opinions.

Nonverbal: Someone who cannot or does not communicate verbally (using spoken language, often including sign language). Some autistic people are always nonverbal. Most are nonverbal under stress or overload. Some are always verbal.

Passing: Successfully behaving enough like an allistic person, particularly in social situations, that no one suspects you are autistic. Often important or even necessary for some people, especially when it comes to work situations.

PECS: One of the AAC methods which is most commonly used with autistic children (and sometimes adults). Stands for “Picture Exchange Communication System”. A pictogram-based system.

Proprioception: All of the sensory input which comes from inside your body. Includes your brain’s awareness of where the different parts of your body are. Autistic people often have very poor proprioception. As a result, they may have some type of dyspraxia, odd facial expressions, odd posture and walking gait, etc., all of which they may not be aware of until someone tells/shows them.

Sensory Processing Disorder: The clinical term for someone who has difficulty processing sensory information. Includes sensory hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity and differences. Too many details to process can lead to sensory overload, shutdowns, and meltdowns. Some autistic people don’t agree that it is a disorder, and prefer to talk of “sensory processing differences”.

Sensory Overload: When too much sensory information is being sent to the brain and the brain can no longer keep up. It becomes painful and the person can become incapable of accepting new sensory information until the brain has time to catch up (like a computer freezing when too many programs are open). This often leads to shutdowns and/or meltdowns.

Shutdown: A defense mechanism against sensory overload and stress. The brain attempts to shut out all sensory input by disconnecting from the environment. The person might no longer understand speech (or even fully hear it), be able to think in language (or to think in any way at all), move their body, or communicate in any way. Their eyes might unfocus and they may seem to be completely “out of it”. This state is usually a sign that the person needs to be left alone for their brain to calm down, but if pushed by those around them, they may switch to having a meltdown.

Special Interest: A subject which an autistic person is extremely interested in and will go to great lengths to learn everything possible about.

Spoons: A metaphor used to indicate the (limited) amount of energy a disabled or sick person has to devote to various tasks. There is a whole script blog devoted to this (@scriptspoonies). Many autistic people rely on this metaphor to describe their (lack of) energy.

Stimming: Repeated actions which are used to stimulate one’s own nervous system, done for various reasons including to soothe oneself/calm down, express emotions, communicate, or just because it feels nice. Common examples include rocking back and forth, flapping hands, clenching jaw, tapping a part of the body, making a repeated noise, etc.

Verbal: Able to communicate using spoken language.

remember when karkat threw a total shitfit in front of everyone on the meteor and dave laughed hysterically and reminded rose of how he’d told her about how great karkat is, see, rose, I told you about this guy, see?? Obviously it’s meant pejoratively like – pft look at this asshole who has never learned even a single strider rule of cool – but there is no way there wasn’t an underlying fascination with the sudden presence of someone so expressive and I like to think that even that early on, in that moment, dave was genuinely experiencing a little thread of excitement at the thought of spending time with someone who wore his heart so transparently on his sleeve

he goes into it in this mocking way because at that point it’s the only way he can really express that kind of emotion while maintaining his superior frame but I always read that shit has half genuine delight that he had no fucking clue how to process at the time

I imagine so many of their early interactions just being karkat pontificating endlessly about his many grievances, limbs flailing, volume irregular, pacing around with the boundless energy of the perpetually enraged, and dave just kind of laughing and telling himself silently he’s so much better than this guy while shrugging off this increasing and perplexing sense of deep discomfort, not with karkat and his performative fury but with the way he finds watching it so fascinating? why does the relative peace and quiet of being alone in his block at night keep him awake choking on his own completely fucking ridiculous existential anxiety while sitting on a metal floor listening to karkat “sandpaper for your auditory cortex” vantas screech about bullshit for hours is so fucking mesmerizing?

Chavs & Lads (Wikipedia Defined)

This is what they’ve tried so hard to portray Louis as…a caricature of this classist bullshit, all while portraying Harry as the posh, exclusive, designer-beloved darling. 

It’s like they went through Wikipedia and made a marketing plan for Louis.

Chav (/ˈtʃæv/ chav) is a pejorative epithet used in Britain to describe a particular stereotype

The Oxford English Dictionary defines chav as an informal British derogatory, meaning “a young lower-class person who displays brash and loutish behaviour and wears real or imitation designer clothes”.

Besides referring to loutish behaviour, violence, and particular speech patterns, the chav stereotype includes wearing branded designer sportswearThey have been described as adopting “black culture”, and use some Jamaican patois in their slang.

Lad culture (also laddish culture and laddism) is a British subculture initially associated with the Britpop movement. Arising in the early 1990s, the image of the “lad” – or “new lad” – was that of a generally middle class figure espousing attitudes typically attributed to the working classes. The subculture involves young men assuming an anti-intellectual position, shunning sensitivity in favour of drinking, violence, and sexism.

Lad culture… present images of laddishness that are dominated by the male pastimes of drinking, watching football, and sex.

Louis likes football. Harry likes designer clothing. But they do not exist in vacuums created solely by Adidas and Saint Laurent. These images are intentionally divisive, and, in Louis’ case, insulting! 

We can’t stop the portrayal of these images (at least right now). But we can recognize them, recognize their intentions, and call them out.

I feel like one thing the “queer is a slur” crowd overlooks...

…is that the word gay has been used so overwhelmingly as a pejorative, as a slur, that most children in the U.S. in the past several decades likely grew up learning “gay” as a word for bad, strange, or wrong before they fully understand that there are “gay” people, and that it’s not just a word with negative connotations.

Kids grow up hearing “That’s so gay!” said with such vehemence relating to topics that those same kids aren’t remotely educated about, and they just internalize that it’s bad. This is how you get elementary schoolers saying, “Mr. Hopkins gave us homework, he’s so gay,” and the same elementary schoolers grow up to be high schoolers and adults who say, “What? I don’t mean gay like gay people, I mean gay like stupid or bad.”

And some of them aren’t overt homophobes in any other way… but dang, you teach little kids that a word that describes a class of people means “bad” and “wrong” before they know those people exist, and that’s bound to shape the way they think about things, isn’t it?

And in contrast you get queer kids who start to put 2+2 together about what “gay” really means a little bit faster than the kids around them because they’re desperate for some information, some hints of meaning… but they’re also hearing the same lessons as everybody else, that gay=bad, gay=wrong, gay=undesirable, gay=something no one ones and no one should be, gay is the worst thing you can be.

In the small town I lived in and the school I went to, nobody ever hit me and called me queer. No one ever shouted “queer” from a moving car while I was walking home. No one ever threatened or inflicted violence on me with the word “queer” on their lips.

Gay, though? Yes. And variations on the f-slur, but gay itself was enough of an invective, enough of a pejorative, to the people flinging it.

“Gay” was the slur that cishet people threw at me as a form of violence, often in corollary with physical violence. “Queer” is a word that I learned online, from members of my community. My experience of the former word is as an attack, while the other was as a sanctuary and respite from that attack.

Now, I’m not a gay man, but a bisexual trans woman. I was still sorting that out at the time, but I doubt it would have made a difference to many of my tormenters if I’d been able to explain it properly.

So when “gay” is used as the happy-go-lucky umbrella for what I would personally call the queer community, gay with even its positive connotations strongly coded as male, I’m not just being misgendered/swept under a default label of male along with a lot of other women and non-binary folks, I’m being forced to accept a label that I never sought, one that is definitely used as a pejorative and a slur, and a slur that was specifically used as a weapon against me.

Both “gay” and “queer” have the same problematic histories and problematic presents. They have both been subject to reclamation efforts. To me, the difference is how those efforts are organized. 

“Gay” is an attempt to normalize, to assimilate, to take the elements of our community that are most palatable to the heteronormative homogeneous hegemony and emphasize them, making those elements even more palatable and altering or hiding the other elements of the community. 

“Gay” is like trying to get into an exclusive school that you fear is likely to reject you for prejudiced reasons, so you keep your nose clean, make sure you take all the right extracurriculars, polish your cover letter and personal essay, and try to make the right contacts with influential people on the inside… and if you have to hide some of your past activities, break ties with friends who are less presentable, and de-emphasize your family to make sure the admissions office doesn’t get the wrong idea about what you’d bring to their institution, well, it’ll be worth it, because that’s what you have to do get a, you know, fair shake.

“Queer” rejects that. Queer rejects homogeny, it does not demand that we sand down our rough edges or smooth out our contours. It does not seek to reshape ourselves or our community to fit ever-evolving standards designed to keep us out, but it challenges those standards.

If “gay” is trying to appeal to a bigoted admissions board by being smooth and shiny enough to slip in, “queer” is challenging the admissions board to accept or reject you on your own merits as you exist, and challenging the bigoted assumptions that underline the power structure as revealed by this. It’s bypassing the admissions board by creating your own infrastructure for sharing resources and information. 

I have a suspicion that a certain percentage of the intra-community backlash against the word “queer” is not because the negative connotations of the word hurt us as listeners, but rather that the radical connotations of the word hurt the effort to make the community acceptable to a presumed default “general audience”, to assimilate gayness into heteronormativity. 

I.e., it is less, “Queer makes people think it’s okay to bash us.” and more “Queer makes people think we’re not like them.”

Most people end posts in defense of the label “queer” and the umbrella term “queer community” by saying “I won’t call queer if they’re not comfortable with it,” and most of them get told, “BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE DOING WHEN YOU SAY ‘QUEER COMMUNITY!”

I’ve never yet seen anybody talking about the gay community have to disclaim that they’re not using the word to people who view it as unreclaimed slur or who just plain find it too hurtful to have even given that discourse any thought.

I won’t call someone queer if they don’t think of themselves a queer. I will use queer as an umbrella term. If that’s not you, you can cheerfully include yourself out of it. 

And heck, I’m doing you a solid. If you didn’t have a queer community to point to, you wouldn’t have anyone you could point to when you want to clarify that you’re not like those people.

Title: Composed
Warnings: Filthy porn, Negan’s potty mouth 
Characters: Negan/Reader, reader insert
Word Count: 5,408

Summary: Negan finds your dirty, porn writing and becomes intrigued.

Originally posted by grungedaddykinks

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics (1.21)
  • Toby: The question is asymmetrical.
  • CJ: That may be so, but the question originated 2 decades ago and has proven to be a consistent predictor of a voter's potential behavior. So it stays the way it is.
  • Josh: I have a problem with fourteen.
  • CJ: What's your problem?
  • Josh: "When making policy decisions, do you think that President Bartlet puts the needs of average people first?" "Average people" is a pejorative phrase and occurs about six times in the polling model.
  • CJ: This may come as a shock to you, but 80% of the people in this country would use the word "average" to describe themselves. They do not find the term deprecating. Indeed, being considered an "average American" is something they find to be positive and comforting.
  • Leo: CJ.
  • CJ: Yes?
  • Leo: "Jed Bartlet cares about people like me."
  • CJ: Leo, we went over this.
  • Toby: We need to talk about the asymmetry of question six.
  • CJ: We really don't.
  • Toby: Since when are you an expert on language?
  • CJ: In polling models?
  • Toby: Okay.
  • CJ: 1993. Since when are you an uptight pain in the ass?
  • Toby: Since long before that.

Just like Queer, you can choose to label yourself how you like, but DO NOT label others as the slur- Homosexual. 

According to the American Psychological Association, Homosexual is an pejorative term that should not be used in reference to others. As you do not know if they have reclaimed it or not. 

As do all of these organizations and major media outlets:

  • The Associated Press
  • The New York Times
  • GLAAD
  • The New Oxford Dictionary
  • Safe Schools Coalitions

-It perpetuates negative stereotypes due to its historical associations with pathology as a mental disorder linked to criminal behavior.

-It is ambiguous/unclear, as it is often assumed to refer exclusively to men and thus renders lesbians invisible.

-It reduces LGB loving relationships to clinical, medical, and scientific ones.

-It is the preferred term of homophobes. 

In the early 1990′s “Homosexual” fell out of use due to its negative associations, and people in the LGBT community request that others use the person’s actual label and not this term with its long and cruel history.

“SJW” in different languages

Hey, so I recently saw a tumblr post that casually mentioned that the German word for “SJW” is “Gutmensch” (lit. “good person”; less literally “do-gooder”, “sjw”) and I absolutely love that for both terms a naively literal interpretation would lead you to believe they’re good things, despite the fact they are widely used as insults.

I would love to create a glossary of non-English words that work as a translation of “SJW”…for which I need your help! I would love it if you could reply or reblog with your language’s word which means, roughly “pejorative term for someone involved in activism that aims for equity/equality between powerful and disenfranchised groups in a society”

–Peter

Missing Parts - 23.

Part 24 
Missing Parts Masterlist

Originally posted by mashable

After your Hogsmeade trip the Sunday passed happier between you than any other day in the past months. The simple thought that finally you will do something against Umbridge lift your mood, not to mention you could see there really are people who believe what Harry says. He seemed delighted too; and you knew it’s also because of your lovely date that you had in The Three Broomsticks. Not even the large amount of homework could spoil your mood.

Except Umbridge herself, who shut down every organization by Monday morning. That couldn’t be a coincidence, you knew it, but it’s only made you more eager to stand up against her.

The first D.A. meeating went pretty well; Harry was a good teacher indeed. Even though if you started with basic spells, everybody needs practice, and for some people it was clearly necessary. There were only two things that bothered you – or better to say, two people. Firstly, Zacharias Smith, who constantly added pejorative notes to almost whatever Harry said. You were really close to hex him, but then there was the other thing that bothered you – Cho Chang’s flirting with your boyfriend all the damn time.

“So, what’s wrong?” – Harry asked after Ron and Hermione disappeared behind the Fat Lady’s portrait and you stopped at the deserted corridor. The seventh floor was always empty and silent at these late hours.

“Nothing.” – you said with an unusually high pitched voice, but as he looked questioningly, you sighed loudly and continued. – “Why Cho touching your arms and giggling evey time when you’re near to her?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, she’s… wait, are you jealous?” – Taking a step closer, a grin started to appear on the corner of his mouth.

“No, I’m not.” – you said, offended. – “Or maybe I am. But the girl is flirting with you!”

As he let out a laugh you shot an angry look at him, folding your arms across your chest, so he stopped. “Oh, come on. She probably knows I’m dating with you.”

“Yeah, and apperantly, she doesn’t care.” – you hissed, avoiding his gaze.

He took a deep breath and stepped forward, placing a hand on the small of your back. Staring his chest rather than his eyes, you were fiddling with the collar of his shirt as he started to speak in a low voice. “Listen, even is she does, I don’t care. Okay? I’m in love with you.” – As the words left his lips he fell silent instantly, and looking up at him, you saw as a light red colour flooded his cheeks. You knew why, saying this was truly hard for him, and this was definitely the first time he did.

“You’re right. I’m sorry, it was stupid.” – you muttered in a raspy voice, leaning closer and kissing him. – “I love you.” – you whispered against his skin, feeling he was smiling.

Arriving back to the common room, you spent there the rest of your night, even when it was completely empty – except the four of you. Ron and Hermione was sitting on one of the couches next to each other, while Harry on the ground with his back against the sofa, you between his legs, leaning back on his chest as his hands was gently wrapped around you.

“I still can’t believe that was your idea Hermione.” – you said as you were talking about the D.A., making her smile. – “I’m so proud of you.”

Her laugh was stopped by Ron’s sudden voice. “Sirius!”

“Yes, I think he’ll be proud too.” – you added, but looking up at Ron, he was staring in the other direction.

“No, I mean in the fire!”

Turning your heads, you saw your father’s head inside the fireplace; a little smirk on his face and an eyebrow cocked. “Having fun?”

Way too quickly, you crawled out from Harry’s embrace, kneeling down in front of the fire. “What – what are you doing here? Mom knows about this?” – you rattled of, only in the attempt to distract the attention from Harry and yourself.

“What kind of a question is this? Of course she doesn’t know.” – he said with ease. – “But I need to know more about your secret, illegal society.”

WHAT?” – you yelled together immediately before he told about Mundungus, who was also at the Hog’s Head all the time, having a perfect view of you and the whole D.A. He also told that Mrs. Weasley wasn’t happy about the idea at all.

“It applies to you too.” – he looked at you. – “Your mother said she don’t want to hear about that you’ll take part anything like this.”

“And what do you say?”

“I say she doesn’t have to hear about it.” – he said with a wink, making you grinning.

“So do you think that’s a good idea?” – Harry asked in surprise.

“Of course! Do you think James and me wouldn’t have done the same thing?”

You continued to talking about the Dumbledore’s Army for a little while, but you could tell there were some other things that he wanted to say; and when there was just a moment silence between you, he take the advantage and asked. “So, what is it about you two?”

Glancing at Harry, you saw he was too nervous to speak, but when you opened your mouth to answer, your father spoke again. “Dung saw you together in The Three Broomsticks too.”

Harry nervously run his fingers through his hair and stared at the floor, but now you felt yourself unconfortable too, thinking about your not exactly modest behaviour at the pub.

“Well, so, we’re… dating.” – you said.

“You don’t say.” – he answered sarcastically.

You rolled your eyes and laughed a bit. “Okay, sorry! I just didn’t write about it because I wanted to tell you in person.”

To your surprise, he wasn’t offended at all, but a kind smile appeared on his face. “I think…” – he started, but stopped suddenly, and in the next moment, he vanished.

“What…?” – you fell silence immediately as you saw a small, chubby hand with big, lousy rings on her fingers. All of you jumped up and runned up to your own dormitory. Being so shocked, you only talked just a few words about it with Hermione before both of you went to bed.

That was the first night in a long time when you couldn’t sleep again. All you could think if is how close was Umbridge hand and what if she saw him, even if it’d be still impossible to find him at the Grimmauld Place. You still tried to remain calm and not stressing over about it, but after a few days, you’ve got a message from a little first year. Unfolding the parchment, it said your Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher wants to see you in her office at four p.m.

“What have you done? I told you shouldn’t do anything!” – Harry said almost angrily while you were sitting at the Gryffindor table at the Great Hall in the morning.

“And I haven’t done anything!” – Staring at the parchment with the childish handwriting, the answer was suddenly too clear, but you remained in silent. Instead of you, Hermione said out loud. 

“She knows about Sirius. She probably saw him on the other night…”

The rest of your day passed anxiously, not looking forward for your chat with Umbridge. You weren’t afraid of her, but it wasn’t about you.

Knocking at her door just a minute before four, you heard the girlish voice right away, giving a permission to enter. After you stepped inside the office, you had to take a deep breath to prevent yourself from making faces. Everything was pink and lacy, and there was some strong parfume-like scent which you were sure it could make your head ache after ten minutes.

“Sit down.” – she said with a fake smile which was more like a grimace, her voice sweet. “Would you like some tea?”

Before you could say no, she already handed a cup to you, already filled with the drink. “Sugar? Milk?” – she asked with the same sugary tone.

“No, thank you.” – you said uncertainly, not taking your eyes off her. 

“Just drink.” - she insisted.

You just lifted the cup, but your right mind stopped you. It was too suspicious. The hot liquid touched your lips, and you acted like you drink some of it.

“Tell me, my dear, what do you know about Sirius Black’s whereabouts?”

The arty cup trembled in your hand, even though you expected this question. “Nothing.”

“Drink some tea… before it cools down too much.” – her smile was so forced you couldn’t decide it’s funny or frightening. You faked another sip. – “Where’s your father?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never met him.”

As the muscles in her face tightened, you could tell she started to lose her patience. “And what about your mother? Does she know anything about him?”

“Leave my mother out of it!” – you snapped; half of the tea spilled on the floor.

A vicious smile hovered on the corner of her mouth. “Tell me, Miss Black. Where is she now? As far as we know, your house in Hampshire stands empty.”

“I don’t think my mother’s personal life is your business.” – The words left your mouth before you could stop yourself, but you were so angry now, it was a miracle you didn’t shout. – “Professor.”

The little, evil smile disappeared from her face; her voice was nothing like a few minutes before. “Your mother worked amongst muggles for more than ten years – after your father’s betrayal and murder. Why is she returned to the wizarding world? Why now? And why the ministry?”

“She realized that job wasn’t for her. Maybe you should learn from her.” – you said offhandedly, causing her to losing her remained patience.

“ENOUGH!” – she shrieked, standing up, her face red with anger. – “Get out of my office!”

Even she couldn’t get any useful information, you felt yourself weak and scared, and in the moment when you arrived back in the common room, you fell into Harry’s arms, clutching your hands tightly around him and taking sharp breaths. He repeated your name several times before you pulled back, looking at his also frightened face before you lead him, Hermione, and Ron in a quiet corner. Then you told everything to them.

“I bet she put Veritaserum on your tea! But that’s illegal! Oh, Y/N, if you had drink it…” – Hermione said, but Ron cut her off.

“That bloody old hag! Harry, I’m sure she’ll speak to you too.”

“Ron’s right.” – Hermione said after she saw you confused faces. – “Fudge knows Sirius is Harry’s godfather, so probably Umbridge knows too.”

Letting out a deep sigh, you pressed your face against Harry chest who embraced you, trying to say calming words. “Everything will be fine.” – he murmured, but you could feel his fast heartbeat and rapid breathing, even when his voice was strong.

Hours later, when the common room was almost completely empty, and you were curled up on a couch, Harry spoke up after long minutes silent. “If you want to quit from the D.A., I’ll understand.”

“What do you mean?” – you asked in surprise.

“It’s not just about Sirius. Your mother work at the ministry, and Umbridge already suspicious about her.”

You shook your head. “No. That won’t solve anything. In fact, it’s just made me more tempted to do something against her.”

He pressed his face to you forehead. “I just worry about you.”

“Don’t. I can handle myself.”

He snorted. “Yeah, this is exactly why.” – You chuckled, lifting your head up and pressing a kiss on his jawline. He smiled before he pulled back, stroking your cheek with his thumb. – “Just be careful, please.”

“Okay.” – you said, trying to close that part of the conversation. – “Listen, I know Christmas is still almost a month away, but… I’d like if you’ll come and spend the break with us.” – His eyes sparkled with excitement. – “Of course, if you’d rather go to the Burrow than the darkest place in London, I wont blame you.”

“No. I want to go with you.” – This calmed you down a bit, enough for you to fell asleep peacefully; spending another night on the couch with Harry.


Tags: @emmelineparker308 @aya-fay @thenerdylesbian @the-panda-jung @melorile @you-didnt-see-that-cuming @accio-procrastination @lafayettrash @ziikoraaviik @mega-mess @aknerdchick @independentgirl @raised-by-fandoms @perorulou @silencedsweats @lostxghirl @vrotki @anthonystoner @fayrizo @susie2710 @hugsnpugs1 @elthanin-adhara-black

Keep it or Leave it (Part 5)

Prompt: When an early bird and a womanizer are roommates, they come up with a scheme that favors both of them. But some things are not as clear as they seem

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Warnings: Drinking 
*If you do feel triggered by something else, let me know so I can add here and warn other readers!

Word Count: 724

Author’s Note: As always, if you see any words that could/should be replaced or sentences that could be better put together please feel free to point it out! English is not my first language and this will help me improve ;)

Part 1 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Originally posted by wanderersandaliens

The week was basically a mirror of that last Sunday. Because of work, you two didn’t spend the whole day together, nevertheless in the little time you had to yourselves you would be analyzing Bucky’s every move.

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Star Trek: DS9 Notes - S6, Vol. 5

Hello hello Tarra Treks is BACK! Read ‘em and weep, I sure did by the end.

6x20 ‘His Way’
- Netflix: “Bashir shows off his new holosuite character, a 1960s Las Vegas singer who performs in a lounge full of martini-swilling customers.”
  me out loud: “Why are you like this.”
- what is this boozy Mad Men fantasy
- it’s actually SO STRANGE to see them all in here in their uniforms!
- “pretty sweet pipes for a lightbulb” oh I like this, I like that he knows?? weird, weird and fun!

Julian is criminally pleased with himself and his preternaturally astute holographic lounge singer

- wait are Kira and Shakaar an on-again-off-again? since when?
- Julian: “He knows about love, life, women!”
  Miles: “Three things you know nothing about.”
  Julian: “Now that’s a little unfair.”
  hey if you knew about life you wouldn’t have walked right into that one
- hold up, I just realized I’m watching Quark give Odo relationship advice. QUARK AND ODO. TALKING ABOUT ♡
- Odo: “Who asked for your opinion?”
  Quark: “You did. I came here to talk about a missing shipment of groat clusters.”
- please tell me what is in a Warp Core Breach
- I SAID THAT AND THEN QUARK PULLED OUT A LITERAL FISHBOWL

this is incredible

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pol keeps winning

/pol/ wins because it accepts any pejorative smear thrown at it, co-opts the hate, and turns it into an absurd memes that it internalizes.  

In their often ridiculous persona is a circus mirror for rational observers to see social authoritarians for the clowns that they are.  

It’s not really about trump.  It’s about rejecting the authority of the establishment and the authority of the cultural police force.    

/pol/ keeps doing what it’s doing with its tongue always planted firmly in its cheek while laughing at its authoritarian detractors.  It is motivated by them and it was brought into being by the political orthodoxy that permeates Western life politically and academically.  It’s apparent in the composition of /pol/ that people from a cross section of America have come to reject political and cultural authoritarianism. 

 The trolling with all of the verboten language and symbolism is an act of defiance. It’s one of the more diverse groups on the internet both ethnically and politically when you examine the most prominent and visible members that don’t care to remain anon. 

This has become more evident through the election cycle meme war and has spilled into the running battle with Shia’s HWNDU campaign. 

There are disagreements within /pol/ but they do not allow them to balkanize and splinter their core, they are united against identity politics and the social division sown by that dialectic. They do not bend to the attacks and mischaracterizations. 

 They’ve discovered a simple truth.  Freedom can be as easy as saying to an oppressor, “you have no power here” and finding joyous liberation in that.  

That’s my take anyway.

In America They Call Us Dykes: Notes On The Etymology And Usage Of "Dyke"

From Sinister Wisdom # 9 1979

By JR Roberts

The women-loving women
in America were called dykes
and some liked it
and some did not . ..
Judy Grahn, from “A History of Lesbianism”

In Sinister Wisdom 6, five Lesbians spoke intensely and articulately concerning the silences in our lives and how patriarchal language has been used
against us, how the fears of vulnerability and censure check our tongues,
rendering us powerless, isolated, and invisible . How the power to name is the
power to be. Lesbians have long been the object of vicious “name-calling”
designed to shut us up, make us shrivel and slink away. Dyke is one of the
words that has been negatively and violently flung at us for more than a
half century . In the Lesbian/Feminist 1970s, we broke the silence on this
tabooed word, reclaiming it for ourselves, assigning to it positive, political
values. The reclamation of dyke has also necessarily involved an historical/
etymological search for its origins. Our generation of Lesbians has been stymied, mystified, and intensely curious as to how and why we have come to
call ourselves dykes.

The term appears to have originated in the United States. Although dyke
is used in England, the terms lesbian, Sapphist, and butch have been traditional there (Partridge 1968). In the United States, dyke is a cross-cultural term found in both Anglo-American and African-American slang. In African-American slang, dyke, as it stands alone, does not seem to have been in widespread use as of 1970, but more commonly appeared in combination with bull to form bull-dyke, signifying an “aggressive female homosexual,” bull-dagger, boon-dagger, and bull-diker being variations. Bull was/is used in Black culture to indicate Lesbian (Major 1970; Berry ‘1972).(1)

The earliest known references using dyke or dike (an earlier? spelling no
longer in wide usage today) to describe “masculine” Lesbians, or Lesbians
generally, date to circa 1920s·1930s, indicating at least a half century of
usage.(2) Partridge indicates that dike denotes a “female homosexual” and that the term comes from the combination bull-dike (Partridge 1968), which
was used among Black people as early as circa 1920s-1930s (AC/DC Blues
1977). Godfrey Irwin, a compiler of tramp and underworld slang, likewise
supports this definition of bull-dike in a letter to Partridge dated September
18, 1937. During the thirties, bull-dike was also being used among prison
inmates at Sing Sing to indicate a woman who practiced oral sex on men
(Haragan 1935, as quoted by Partridge 1968). It is interesting that the homosexual bull-dike and the heterosexual bull-dike were both associated with
so-called “unnatural” and socially unapproved sexual behaviors . This is one
of many connections existing between homosexual slang, heterosexual slang,
and woman-hating slang.(3) By the 1940s we find dike or dyke listed in slang
dictionaries to indicate “masculine woman,” being synonymous with other
words signifying “Lesbian” (Berrey & Van Den Bark 1942 , 1947).

In the pre-Liberation forties, fifties , and sixties, “Lesbian slang” was often
role-related. Dyke/dike and butch were used to signify “masculine” Lesbians
who wore “men’s clothing” (Stanley , June 24 , 1977; Aldrich 1955 :54) .
“Feminine” Lesbians were femmes or fluffs (Vice Versa 1:6, November 1947).
Among Midwest Black Lesbians the words stud and fish were used respectively (Sawyer 1965). Special terms indicating varying degrees of “mannishness” were formed by adding prefixes, for example : bull-dyke, diesel dyke,
stompin ’ diesel dyke. As Lesbian linguist Julia Stanley indicates, dyke in our
own time, the Lesbian/Feminist seventies, has undergone a change in meaning from a once pejorative term to a politically charged definition. This has occurred within the liberation movements of Lesbians and gays. “To be a
dyke or a faggot,” writes Julia , “refers to one ’s political identity as a gay
activist . .. but redefining old terms that have been pejoratives for so long
is not an easy process, nor is it something that takes place overnight. Among
women, new definitions are being made among usages of old terms. As we
redefine the old pejorative labels making them our own, what we choose to
call ourselves also takes on political meaning, defining one’s political position”
(Stanley 1974:390-391).

The personal is political. The personal is also historical. On many levels
we Lesbians today have experienced historical/political transformations.
Sometimes it is possible to recall an exact time and place where transformations occurred. Although I don’t ever recall having used the word dyke in the old pejorative sense, I do remember when I first began using dyke in a liberated sense. It was late 1973; I had just “come out” via the Lesbian/
Feminist Movement. During a conversation with an older Lesbian friend who
had come out years earlier without the aid of a movement, I referred to the
two of us as dykes . Her reaction was equivalent to “Hey, wait a minute!
Watch yer mouth!”, as if I had uttered some terrible obscenity . She then
proceeded to enlighten me as to the older, negative meaning . But, I said, I
don’t see it that way at all. To me dyke is positive; it means a strong, independent Lesbian who can take care of herself. As I continued with the movement, dyke took on even stronger political implications than “activist.” It
signified woman-identified culture, identity, pride and strength - women, alone and together, who live consciously and deliberately autonomous lives ,
no longer seeking definitions or approvals according to male values. Soon
my older friend also began identifying positively with the word dyke.

Exercising this new power of self-definition, we now have a variety of
names and definitions with which to describe our many political selves. Our
Lesbian lifestyle is very diverse, and our use of language and choice of names
and definitions reflect our many cultural, racial, ethnic, class, regional, and
political backgrounds, as well as our generational perspectives. Today the
straight world continues to use dyke in the old pejorative sense. There are a
number of Lesbians who do also, and are repulsed by it. These Lesbians may
not have been exposed to the current movement, or, being concerned with
their status and survival in the straight world, they may reject the term as
harmful. There is also a segment of the Lesbian population which grew up ,
came out , and participated in the earlier Lesbian culture before 1970 who
retain the negative definition they have always known . So the definition of
dyke has changed only for some Lesbians, not for all.

There are some questions to be wondered about. If dyke has different
definitions today, is it possible that there were different definitions in earlier
times? Did all Lesbians before the 1970s generally define dyke negatively?
Was it such a distasteful term, or were there those Lesbians who felt a sense
of pride at being labeled dyke? What did it mean to them? Where did the
American tradition of the “mannish” Lesbian as dike/dyke come from?
The term dike or dyke had probably been around to some extent before
the 1930s-1940s when it first began to be documented in slang dictionaries.
Slang terms often originate among special groups, some of which are “outcasts” of mainstream society whose members feel alienated from the values of the dominant culture. Such groupings may be based on age, race, ethnic, or class background. Among such groups have been the younger generation, Blacks, hoboes, criminals, street people, artists and writers, gays and Lesbians.

The creation of new words and new definitions for old words serves a social
and political purpose: it may constitute an act of power and rebellion for
those who feel and are powerless; or it may provide a sense of validation
and identity denied by the dominant culture, thus becoming a source of
social/cultural cohesion and pride - a language of one’s own. A new language
helps to articulate a new society. Some slang terms may even be adopted
by the dominant culture, eventually becoming “Standard English,” or they
may fall into disuse or remain the linguistic property of the special group.
Slang terms may be collected and listed in published lexicons, dictionaries ,
and thesauri. Definitions may change with time. These are slow, complicated
evolutions influenced by social, economic, political, and intellectual ideas
and events in the dominant culture and among those outcast groups.

Currently, there are several theories concerning the etymology of dyke or
dike, which are threaded together by the androgynous concept of the “manly-
woman.” Several have to do with ancient Greek legends. Poet Elsa Gidlow
raises the possibility that the word dyke may have had its origins in the
Greek word dike, that is Athene , the “manly-woman ” who is the principle
of total order (Stanley , June 24, 1977). There is also the related Flexner and
Wentworth (1975) hypothesis that dike probably came from hermaphrodite,the -dite being “clipped” off and later evolving into dike, due to a regional
(Coney Island??) mispronunciation. Cordova adds support to this hypothesis
when she reports conversations with older Lesbians who indicate the folk belief that the root word of dyke was once hermaphrodite, with its origins in
the Greek myth of Hermes and Aphrodite who join to create the androgynous
creature (Cordova 1974:22). Of the -dite to dike theory, Julia Stanley comments: “For reasons of my own, I’ve never bought the -dite to dike explanation, primarily because /t/ hardly ever becomes /k/ in natural languages. I’m not saying it’s impossible, especially in an unstressed syllable, where an alveolar might be heard as a velar, just that it’s unlikely” (Stanley, June 24, 1977).

My own recent research has turned up an interesting, but never before
cited, usage of dike dating from late nineteenth and early twentieth century
America, representing another possible, and perhaps more viable, origin, based in the social customs of the people rather than in classical allusion. Both
Schele de Vere (1871) and Clapin (1902) in their compilations of Americanisms indicate dike as denoting a man in full dress, or merely the set of male
clothing itself. Schele de Vere says this is a “peculiar American cant term,
as yet unexplained.” Clapin, however, indicates that dike likely resulted from
the corruption of the Old English dight (Anglo-Saxon origin). Dight meant
to dress, clothe; to adorn, deck oneself (Johnson, 2nd ed., 1827). In listing
dike, Mathews (1951) indicates a possible connection between dight and the
English dialect dick, both of which meant “to deck or adorn.” By 1856
dight was cited by Hall as being nearly obsolete in the United States, while
diked and diked out were in use. The word dike probably came to America
with the English at the time of colonization, but once in America other
usages may have developed . Both Clapin and Schele de Vere indicate that
dike was not only used as a verb, but also as a noun to describe a person of
either sex who was all dressed up. However, dike as a person or as a set of
clothing most often referred to the male sex.

There is growing evidence that during this same time period a number of
women in both the United States and Europe were adopting male attire, both
permanently and on occasion. Katz has called some of these women “Passing
Women” (Katz 1976: Ch. 3). These women dressed, lived, voted, worked -
literally “passed”-as men in the mainstream culture. Some were of the middle
and upper classes, or were artists. Others were independent, working class
women who took on the guise of men in order to survive in a world where
women had few options. As “men,” these women, some of whom were Lesbians, married other women and raised families. They could live and enjoy
their lives with women and still participate in the greater opportunities and privileges awarded to men. This choice was often based in explicit or covert
feminism. When discovered, however, these women were often punished by
society- arrested, fined, imprisoned, exposed, and forbidden to wear male
clothing. Sometimes the contemporary media picked up on the appearances
of these “she-men,” and a number of rather sensational articles appeared.
accompanied by photographs and drawings. Some of these graphics which
are reproduced in Katz indicate women dressed in a “full set of male clothing” - from hat to suit, to cane or umbrella, watch fobs and chains, to vests
and shoes. Lesbians and other radical women - such as the feminist Mary C. Walker, Harriet Hosmer, and Edmonia Lewis, the Black/Native American sculptor-were also dressing in much the same manner in the United States and Europe, not especially for the purpose of “passing” as men, but for the real and implied emotional, political, and social freedoms inherent in the male costume.
This radical expression of emancipation (which has centuries of tradition behind it) continued well into the twentieth century and included both women of color and white women.

It seems possible that in the American culture where the term dike denoted “the full set of male clothing” or “a man in full dress,” this term could also have been applied to women who dressed in such clothing. Possibly these early radical women, dressing and passing in male clothing, both permanently and on occasion, were in fact our first dike sisters in America.

Again, Julia Stanley, who feels that the above etymology for dyke is the
most viable she has heard, comments: “Your proposed etymology doesn’t
exclude the possibility that Wentworth and Flexner were correct in their
hypothesis. That is, you may have come up with the 'missing link’ in the
semantic development of the word dyke, since it is stretching it a bit to re-
late it to the Germanic ditch” (Stanley, June 24,1977).

If my hypothesis is correct, it could further be proposed that the meaning
of dike was changing during the time period from the late nineteenth century
to circa 1930s-1940s, that dike had begun passing from a predominantly
positive male and/or neutral meaning to a derogatory female slang term.
Linguistically, it may have gone through a process called “degeneration of
meaning.” By the 1930s dike, preceded by the equally tabooed bull, had
been assigned sexual and derogatory meanings which could be applied both
to Lesbians and to heterosexual women practicing tabooed sexual behaviors.
By the 1940s-1950s-1960s the pejorative term dike/dyke was almost exclusively applied to “masculine” Lesbians, with other meanings becoming more obscure, though not yet obsolete. Linguists have found that this “process of degeneration” is a pattern often occurring to words which make such a male
to female transition.

For this same period of possible linguistic change, there is growing evidence
indicating a general altering of attitudes toward women’s relationships with each other.(4) Increasingly more negative aspects were being assigned to such relationships in the twentieth century than had been assigned them in the
nineteenth century. Medical and psychiatric science was labeling such relationships “unnatural,” “degenerate,” and “sick.” All manner of “masculine”
characteristics of both a biological and psychological nature were attached
to Lesbian women, as well as to other women who “deviated” from traditional , “god-given,” (male-defined) “ female roles.” Speculating once again -
since words and their meanings are used to reinforce the values of a given
society, it may be that the linguistic change described above was related to
the social/political change concerning definitions of Lesbianism and female
sex roles. If a concept is assigned negative values, then the language used to
describe that concept will also assume negative meaning. The language becomes a vehicle by which the value is perpetuated. Thus dike, once used to
describe a well-dressed male, becomes a vulgar and hateful epithet to be
hurled at women who rebel against confining roles and dress styles.

It is interesting to note how our “new” radical definitions echo the “old” radical traditions as signified by the term dike/dyke. Betty Birdfish, a friend
in Chicago , wrote to me about a Lesbian dance to be held there, and how
"wimmin are talking about 'dyking themselves up’ for it.” In my next letter,
I asked Betty exactly what that meant-“dyking ourselves up.” She responded :

About 'dyking ourselves up’: I think it can mean a whole lot of things.
In general, dressing up so one feels most beautiful, most proud of herself. I’ve seen that take many forms in the dyke community, at events.
For example, Allison with her hair in corn rows and beads, wearing African garb. Or Jogie with a tuxedo and panama hat. Or Beverly looking like
a gypsy with loose-flowing clothes, jewelry, scarves and wearing scented
oil. Or wimmin with tailored blazers and slacks and vests. Or even wimmin
with long-flowing ankle length skirts or dresses. Many interpretations.
Many expressions. For me 'dyking myself up’ has been getting more definite in its expression lately . For the dance I wore a pair of high-waisted
black slacks, a white shirt with tie and pin, and a black satin, double-breasted, padded-shouldered, very tailored, old jacket. I felt very strong
and beautiful in it. Before the dance, I had 'practiced’ dyking myself up
in a more radical way: I put on a different long sleeve shirt with collar
and a silk tie that has wimmin together painted on it. I put my hair up in
a bun, very close to my head so that it looked short, and put on a 'mannish’ (I wish I had another word) straw hat. I looked like old-timey photos
of Lesbians who you know had longer hair, who put it up, dyked up in
suits, waistcoats, or tuxedos . I liked the way I looked, but wasn’t ready
to go 'out’ yet in full dyke array. So I modified it for the dance . For me,
'dyking up’ means the tailored suit: elegant, comfortable and strong. I
guess I don’t see this wear as just a 'masculine ’ privilege - but clothing that
wimmin/dykes can wear to feel good in. I think I’m no longer as afraid
of feeling 'butchy’: to work on my body , to develop muscles and strength,
to be more active physically (sports , karate, etc.), to move with more
force, strength, confidence. I’m realizing how stifled I’ve been by society
which condemns this development in wimmin . And I realize how our own dyke community continues to condemn it by labelling it 'butchy’ and
therefore 'male-identified’ and therefore wrong. I don’t care anymore
(in my head-but not yet in my gut) about all those condemnations-I want to grow in ways I know I’ve always wanted to.
(Betty Birdfish, August 4, 1977)

For the Lesbian of yesteryear, getting “diked up” may have had the same
exhilarating, liberating, and fearful effects it has for contemporary Lesbians,
but even more so since few women at that time wore pants. To wear “male
clothing” before the advent of trousers for women and the so-called “unisex”
fashions of today, was indeed radical and revolutionary. It signified a rebellion against male-defined roles for women, which “women’s clothing” symbolized and perpetuated by rendering women passive, dependent, confined, and vulnerable. Yet this autonomous act of rebellion also made women vulnerable to punishment, ridicule, and ostracism.(5)

Dike/dyke need not remain a vulgar epithet of self-hate, shame, and
negativism, a term signifying “masculine.” This is the definition which a
heterosexist, dyke-hating society has formulated and which many Lesbians
past and present have unquestioningly accepted. By defining some of us as
“men” and some of us as “women,” society has sought to divide us, to create
inequality based on heterosexual roles, thereby defusing the political power
of women loving women, reducing it to a pseudo-heterosexuality which,
according to their thinking, is both artificial and inferior to the “real thing.”
Dike/dyke still remains a word hidden in history. But this new etymology
suggests the possibility of some quite radical origins. Rather than wincing
at the word dyke, we might better remember and commemorate those early
Lesbians and feminists who refused “women’s clothing” and “women’s roles.”
They may have been our first dyke sisters.


Notes

(1)Bull was a tabooed word circa early twentieth century, not to be used in mixed company, signifying “the male of the species,” Less offensive terms like “top cow” were often substituted. Bull bitch was a rural term applied to “masculine” women (Wentworth 1944; Wentworth and Flexner 1975).

(2) Earlier, at the turn of the century, dyke was one of many slang terms denoting the vulva (Farmer and Henley 1890-1904 : 338).

(3)See “Sexist Slang and the Gay Community: Are You One, Too?” by Julia Stanley and Susan W. Robbin s. Available from 1. Stanley , Department of English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln , Nebraska 68588.

(4) See Carroll Smith Rosenberg , “Th e Female World of Love and Ritual : Relations between Women in Nineteenth Century America,” Signs I : I (Autumn 1975) : 1-19 ; AIice Echols, “The Demise of Female Intimacy in the Nineteenth Century or There wasn’t a Dyke in the Land,’” unpublished paper, n .d .. 34 pp.

(5) It should be noted that these vulnerabilities were not experienced by women only in nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As late as 1968, Lesbians were being arrested in Dallas and Houston, Texas for wearing “men’s clothing.” See: “Special Release to the Ladder.” The Ladder 13: ½ (October/November 1968):4041; “Who Can Tell Boys from Girls.” The Ladder 13: ½ (October/November 1968) :41-42

SOURCES
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Aldrich, Ann. We Walk Alone. New York: Fawcett, 1955.

Berrey, Lester V. and Van den Bark, Melvin. American Thesaurus of Slang. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1942, 1947.

Berry, Leonard J.Prison. N.p.: Subsistence Press, 1972.

Betty Birdfish (Alwin). Letter to JR Roberts. Chicago, Illinois (August 4,1977). Collection of JR Roberts.

Clapin, Sylva. A New Dictionary of Americanisms. New York: Louis Weiss, 1902.

Cordova, Jeanne. “What’s in a Name?” Lesbian Tide (June 1974):21-22 .

Farmer, 1.S. and Henley , W.E. Slang and Its Analogues (J890-1904) . Reprinted ed. , New York: Arno Press, 1970.

Hall, Benjamin H. A Collection of College Words and Customs. 2nd ed. Cambridge: John Bartlett, 1856 (1851). Reprinted ed ., Detroit: Gale Research, 1968.

Hargan, James. “The Psychology of Prison Language.” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 30 (1935):359-365. (Note: the “more unprintable expressions” such as bull-dike were omitted from the published list, but were available upon request to those who were “especially interested in the subject.”)

Johnson , Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language. 3 vols. 2nd ed. London: Longman , Rees, Orne, Brown, and Green et al., 1827.

Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A . New York:Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976. Pb., Avon, 1978.

Major, Clarence. Dictionary of Afro·American Slang. New York : International Publishers,1970.

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Stanley, Julia P. “When We Say 'Out of the Closets!’” College English (November 1974): 385-39l.

Sawyer, Ethel. “Study of a Public Lesbian Community.” Masters Thesis, Washington University. St. Louis, Missouri. 1965 .

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anonymous asked:

What does EHW stand for?

LOL. I get asked this a lot. Ok. Lemme break it down…
EHW stands for “Ebro Horny Worshippers” which is basically anyone that is passionately (unhealthily?) obsessed with anything/everything Evelyne Brochu. If you consider Brochuddism your religion and you’re a staunch defender of Dr. Delphine Cormier (aka Delphine Defense Squad), you are already part of the team (cult?). It was originally used as a pejorative against outspoken (raging?) Ebro fans during the hellscape of the 2015 fandom wars. As happens so often in life, the (unintentionally hilarious) slur was reclaimed and worn as a badge of honor by a (ever-growing) group of Ebro fans ever since.**
See here for the genesis of EHW.
This moment in Clone Club history brought to you by Geekspiralling and @dark-delphine ‘s (always entertaining) S3/S4 mailbags. 

**Writing all of this explanation out makes it all seem sooooo stupid and ridiculous (which it is!) but so goes life in OB fandom.