No, this isn't THAT post, so if that's all you're waiting for, just pack up your popcorn and move on!
No, what's on my mind now is a trend among young women that truly bothers me. After decades, well, actually centuries, of fighting for equality with men, I've been noticing young women doing something that really troubles me. I hear women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s (definitely should know better) calling each other names that are icky. Now, they will tell you when they call a friend "Bitch" that it is just a joke, it's not "that kind" of bitch, it doesn't mean what you think it does, etc. Maybe. Words morph over time, I agree. Still, it bothers me.
Now I've recently heard them calling each other "Hooker." I've heard it or read it on FB several times in recent weeks or months. Today I saw it again. "Happy Birthday, Hooker," one said to the other. Yes, it was light-hearted and the two I'm referring to are good friends. But why call a friend by a demeaning name, a name that if a man spoke, they would probably be incensed and wonder why he had the nerve?
"Skank" is another of those names. OK, I know I'm nearly 68,
and things are changing around me faster than I would like. I try to
adapt to my environment and be aware and involved of current trends. But you call me "Skank," and fur will fly!
I understand that within groups there are certain cultural phrases that are used, and if people use it privately, well, it is sad, but I can't argue with that. But when it is publicly expressed, it's almost like a set up, like, "C'mon say it! I dare you!" to people outside the protection of that group. I don't like that. Bill Cosby has denounced such language over and over again. Again, I just don't understand how a group sees fit to tag each other with slang titles that lower self image.
I wasn't a bra-burner, although I'm the right age for that. But I have long and quietly worked for equal rights for women, for culturally segregated groups, for many misunderstood collectives*, and it just seems so wrong to me that we would purposely and light-heartedly issue put downs like this.
Call me old fashioned. I'm OK with that, particularly in this situation. I hope we can all reach out to young women and encourage a language of love and support, leading by our own examples.
* Following Katrina I had many disheartening discussions with people who just didn't get why "those people" would want to go back to New Orleans. If you understand human nature to resist change, you know that they wanted to go back because, good or bad, that wa the only home many of them knew. If you've ever had a circumstance in which you felt trapped by poverty, you understand that you are sometimes helpless to grasp that a change might be better. I could go on, but that's a whole post i itself.