Archive for the ‘Towards A Gender-Neutral Ethics’ Category

Commitment-Phobia Or Independence?

The common practice of treating “commitment phobia” as a personality disorder of men alone fails to consider the rationality of declining to enter into a disadvantageous contract. When early feminists declined to subject themselves to the oppression of patriarchal marriage, were they called commitment-phobics? By the men they refused to marry, probably. Well, then. All […]

Billie Liar And Alfhild

A poster for the film Billy Liar shows three women saying “Liar!” to one man. Now turn it around: can we imagine a film poster with three men reproaching a woman with the word “Liar!”? I think not, such would be the scale of feminist protest. In accordance with the great Silencing Technique of making […]

Truth In Proverbs

It is an old Scots proverb, as it had been a Latin one earlier, that “A standing prick has no conscience”. This is a great and thumping truth. But why do we never encounter the same sentiment in the female, as for instance “A wet pussy has no conscience”? Could this be because such a […]

“She” As Generic Pronoun

Over the last couple of decades we have been taught to write “he or she”, together with “chairperson” and the rest of the gender-neutral nouns. So far so good, and there never was any good reason for sticking a gendered English suffix onto Latin words like “actor” anyway. Many people are experimenting with writing “she […]

On Balls And Metaphors

A generation or so ago there was a controversy about whether women could be Rhodes Scholars. For Cecil Rhodes’ will explicitly demands “manliness” in a candidate. Admission of women to the programme thus required that this word be reinterpreted away from biological masculinity. Reactionaries mocked, but the manoeuvre was justified. What Rhodes really wanted was […]

The Supplier Meeting

Meetings are always going to be dominated by the strongest personality around the table. When that personality is a man, the women all complain about male chauvinism, machismo and testosterone poisoning. When the strongest personality is a woman, they call her dominance the voice of feminine reason and objectivity. Once upon a time I read […]

Animal Terminology

It was once a cliché in the liberal strata of some societies that “bitch” was merely male language for the “strong woman”, and so a “bitch” was a good thing to be. Other feminists have asserted that we may not use the words “bitch” or “bitchy” at all, ever – not even to describe the […]

The Zoology Of Bitches And Honeys

The attempt to prevent us calling women who behave in a certain way “bitchy” becomes of great interest as soon as we realise that bitchiness is a status-signalling mechanism. It is a dominance ritual for female society in the same way as combat, real or implied, is a dominance ritual for male society. Attractive young […]

Purging Newspeak

We are firmly directed never henceforth to use female-gendered terms of disapprobation such as Shrew, Harridan and Harpy, as the individuals hitherto maligned under such rubrics are now properly termed “Strong”, “Sassy”, “Independent” and so forth. Are we then allowed to use previously male terms for women whose behaviour we find highly distasteful, such as […]

In Dispraise Of Flightiness

We have heard a lot about gendered language in the last few decades, and it is beyond doubt that in many areas two sets of words do exist, one to describe males and the other to describe females doing the same things. Traditionally, for example, one had the dichotomy of male “swordsman” and female “slut”; […]