We all have words we love and words we hate. On this episode of Popaganda, we dig into those words we just can't stand, from "moist" to "exotic." In addition to ragging on words submitted by readers and friends, we discuss language with New York Times Magazine columnist Lizzie Skurnick, Northeastern Professor Sarah Jackson, and political cartoonist Matt Bors.
Ahem. I mean "Hello, distinguished readers of the Bitch community. Pleased to make your acquaintance. How do you do?" My name is Caitlin and this is my new blogging series, "Tales From The Crip." I hope you enjoy it and that we can be friends. Or at the very least, be frenemies who engage in some stimulating conversations.
Swedes are tossing out their "His n' Hers" bath towels in favor of language that's a little more inclusive.
Earlier this month Sweden's online National Encyclopedia adopted the gender-neutral pronoun "hen" in addition to "he" [han] and "she" [hon]. Post-media explosion, the controversy extends beyond the Swedish-speaking world.
Slate reports that Sweden's linguists caught their first whiff of gender neutral language in the mid-1960s. In 1994, linguist Hans Karlgren proposed using hen as a personal pronoun to replace the awkward "he or she" that clutters formal writing.
But Karlgren's strictly practical view of having a word that "enables us to speak of a person without specifying their gender" has been taken up by a political movement.
We've got a discussion in the works on our Facebook page about the phrase "how's it hanging?" that I thought I'd bring to the blog as well. What's the deal with how's it hanging? (Asked in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice, of course.) Is it sexist? Does it refer to a dangling penis, or is it just a way to say hey? And what other slang terms are we using that are secretly SEXUAL? It's open thread time!
Ableism is a central concept in disability rights. The term was originally popularized by Thomas Hehir, a special education scholar who defined it as "'the devaluation of disability' that 'results in societal attitudes that uncritically assert that it is better for a child to walk than roll, speak than sign, read print than read Braille, spell independently than use a spell-check, and hang out with nondisabled kids as opposed to other disabled kids.'" There are many varied manifestations of ingrained ableism in contemporary society and pop culture, but I see it most often in uncritical use of language based on ableist assumptions - even by speakers or authors who are progressive and who are against ableism as a concept.