Censoring Our Minds and The Power of Naming

Censoring Our Minds and The Power of Naming

Bev Jo

The words we use may seem trivial, but actually they affect how we think and appear, and can make us recognizable as trustworthy or not. They show how we identify and who we ally with.  And they always reveal class background.

Since we are usually taught to be someone other than who we later decide we want to be, it’s essential that our language reflects who we are, and not who we were raised to be, unless we do want to identify with the culture around us that is often hostile to us. The important thing is to be conscious about the words we use, not to sound silly or pretentious, but just to be accurate, and especially not to offend those we have more privilege than and, therefore, power over. (And to be clear about who does have the power since “reverse discrimination” does not exist.)

One of the most important things is who we identify with. I’m still surprised when US Lesbians and other women who are marginalized say “we” when they mean the US government. I’m guessing women from other countries are less likely to do this since there is so much pressure in the US to fit in. When friends say, for instance, “when we invaded Iraq…”, I answer that I didn’t invade anyone. Everyone I know was opposed to it, so why identify with that criminal invasion? I’ve been told that of course “we” did since we are responsible for our government, which of course we can’t control, but I think the real reason for the universal “we” is about wanting to identify with those in power. It’s become trendy and acceptable. But I object. I certainly do not want to be included in that “we.”

Once, when communities were more politicized and aware, there was a focus on changing offensive mainstream and media words (such as long-accepted racist, sexist, ableist, etc. terms) and replacing them with words that were not insulting. Then those who objected to losing their power as oppressors and had enjoyed name-calling and feeling superior played the reverse reality game, pretending they were being the ones who were unfairly treated. They ridiculed this attempt at justice as being “Politically Correct,” while they bragged they were “Politically Incorrect.” This became as acceptable as another offensive term, “Oppression Olympics,” which again pretends that the oppressed have more power than their oppressors. This is exactly the kind of whining the White Supremacists, Nazis, and Klan, as well as the “Men’s Rights Activists” do.

Another way that those in power weaken language is by altering terms slightly or using euphemisms. The media used to describe something racist as “racist,” but now it’s more often called “racial,” like a “racial incident.” Suddenly there is no attacker or victim since “racial” means nothing. Notice how often the meaning of words is gutted. Certainly it erases Lesbians to change what had been called “Lesbian and gay” (ignoring that Lesbians usually are not connected to gay men or gay culture) to “LGBTQI,” which includes heterosexual men and everyone else, erases Lesbians. (I recently saw women say that Lesbians choose to be part of that group, when we were added against our will.)

We need to have honest language to stop injustice and oppression. Words have tremendous power and reflect our culture, class, race, sex, love choices (as opposed to “sexual orientation”), and so much else about us. The mainstream culture and media push class-privileged and academic terms as the norm, though they are full of euphemisms and outright lies, or maybe because they are. This is deliberate to drive out the most class-oppressed women, which most often includes women oppressed in other ways.

Meanwhile, the middle classes are trained to police class oppressed women, to try to make their values ours, to make us be ashamed of our own languages and cultures, and to aspire to their vapid, shallow, cold culture (which often appropriates from cultures of other peoples around the world in an effort to be less bland.)

If we say no to the propaganda, we can say the truth. But how does it feel to do that?  Do you feel like you are betraying someone or stepping out of your place?  Even though some words are used inter-changeably, how does it affect you to try to use the most accurate words? If you are afraid, why?  We are so policed in patriarchy. Let’s not self-police.

I remember when I realized that what the US media called “conservative” was a euphemism for right wing/Nazi. “Conservative” was not about being cautious, as opposed to radical — it was a wink to the Nazis and Klan and anyone fighting against equality for the oppressed, from voting rights to decent jobs or places to live. It was a ploy to get people to think the conservative/republicans/Nazis were adhering to “all-American values,” so even many of the most oppressed immigrants who want to assimilate vote republican (like my mother’s poverty class Guamanian husband did).

There is nothing “conservative” about US Nazi extremism. Trump did the wink to his Nazis, and those who were hiding their viciousness now have become more open. Only the privileged liberals who said “give him a chance” were oblivious because they could afford to be above it all. Even some republicans noticed, like the writer who said that her adopted son from Ethiopia had been happy for six years in his school, but, as soon as Trump was elected, he was subjected to daily open racist taunts.

“Right Wing,” which people often shorten to “the Right,” also implies “correct.”  Anyone opposed to them is usually called “Left Wing,” which excludes Radical Lesbian Feminists, Dyke Separatists, and everyone else who are opposed to Nazis, but also are aware of how female and Lesbian-hating most of the Left is.  “Alt-right” is even more confusing. “White Supremacists” and “White Nationalists” are not strong enough terms, while “Neo-Nazis” is not adequate because the current US Nazis are anything but “neo.” They deliberately include symbols and language and salutes from past Nazis.

Is it too frightening or powerful to name this enemy for who he is?  Doesn’t it give us more power to say it?

The Nazi/Klan culture is not new. They have always been here, in the guise of “patriots,” “pioneers,” “settlers,” etc. In spite of the myth of the US being “The Land of the Free,” it was clearly built on genocide and slavery. Some try to continue that evil tradition when they desecrate and steal First Nations’ land and imprison poor People of Color in order to provide slave labor for corporations. (The grotesque call from some “liberals” to keep the monuments to slavery as being part of “our” history should think about why they consider racism to be their history to be venerated, and instead work to try to protect the history of First Nations’ sacred places from being destroyed.)

There are no monuments to Hitler or Nazi symbols allowed in Germany now without punishment. But when we say that, apologists for racists ask what about the memorial at Auschwitz (which, by the way, is not in Germany), even though it’s clear it’s to remember those murdered and, unlike statues of Confederate generals, not a monument to the murderers. Also, the Auschwitz memorial is proof against the Nazis who deny the Holocaust.

Making up euphemisms for our enemies, like calling out against “hate” while not naming the hater, is very much middle class culture and trying to make “nice” while ignoring reality, and ultimately ignoring who is the most harmed. It may seem passive, but it’s a very active betrayal of the most oppressed who are the most harmed. Who would not be against “hate,” though isn’t hating those who want to kill you a reasonable, protective response? Class-privileged Euro-descent women seem to be in the forefront of saying that Nazis need to be forgiven and even sponsored/donated to if they “repent.” The talk about their “pain” and “oppression” ignores the significant power they have to terrorize and kill, not to mention that now they are now openly in control of part of the US government. One woman in a liberal radio interview talked about why imprisoning Nazis won’t necessarily get them to change, as if murderers should not be in prison. Who cares about changing them?  I do not think such dangerous, violent men, like racists and rapists, will change (notice I didn’t say “can”), so my concern is simply to stop them for harming more people, animals, the earth, etc., (it is all connected), in whatever way that can be done. They will continue unless stopped. Our concern should be for their past and future victims. Meanwhile, those who are being harmed do not get equal media time.

How on earth did some privileged women get in the position of trying to explain and protect our worst enemies? Does it even occur to them who they are helping? A very class-privileged Lesbian UC Berkeley professor from Germany tried to explain to some of us why we should not be mad at the people who voted for Trump because she went to interview them and said “they were in so much pain!” “They even lost their houses!” I answered her that some of us never had houses to lose, but it’s odd she didn’t interview the poor and working class people who were the majority who voted and campaigned for Hillary. Or why those she met had blamed democrats and ignored that it was the previous right wing Bush government who had destroyed the economy. I grew up around people like the Trump voters so know their illogic well, but her privilege makes her the “expert” on class.

She’s the same person who the year before, when I said it was unaffordable to live in the Bay Area, told me that the poor should just “leave.” I guess her compassion is only for men?  She also ignored why those voters knew that a publicly sociopathic racist, female-hating billionaire who wouldn’t even pay people who worked for him would not help the working classes or poor. Of course the truth is that the majority of who voted for Trump were class-privileged white men and they want to be like him, racism and all. Meanwhile, it’s not a mistake that the media keeps blaming the working classes and ignores naming the group who most voted for Hillary, which were African-descent women and Lesbians of all races.

Contrast the middle-class/rich white women feeling sorry for Nazis with poverty class Heather Heyer and her mother, who had/has the good common sense of most class-oppressed women, willing to die to protect and defend others.

What Does Not Dare Be Spoken

Not once in all the discussions about the US Nazis have I heard anyone say, even in passing, that almost all the Nazis, including in the government, are men. The videos of the class-privileged preppie Euro-descent men marching, chanting racism and attacking protesters, could not be more clear. The Nazis of the past also were predominately men, while women’s place was to reproduce. (You’d think motherhood being proselytized as the main goal of women in all male religions and cultures would be enough reason for aware women and feminists to say no. Some women who are fighting oppression, like the women Kurdish freedom fighters, refuse to marry or reproduce.)

In spite of all the time wasted by men discussing how to stop violence, including possible impending nuclear war, they will rarely say that none of this would be happening without men. Even the Nazis in the US government who almost destroyed our health care were stopped by three republican women crossing over.

We are forbidden to say what was once common knowledge, which is that without males there would be almost no more rape, war, destruction of the earth, or violence.
 Most of the few women who do participate in violence are joining with their men. I believe that if all the media representations of violence and all males were gone, women would also be less violent, though it’s usually women who try to repair the harm that men have done. https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/chapteronethe-crimes-of-mankind/

However, do be aware that statistics are rapidly changing because men claiming to be women are now included in statistics on female violence, although they are as violent as other het men and not remotely like real women. We have no say in this. Imagine any other oppressed people suddenly having their worst oppressor added to statistics on their rate of violence (not to mention being in charge of many of their advocacy and social organizations).

The irony is that almost everything of value in patriarchy is attributed to males, but how dangerous they are is ignored. We are all taught that “man” and “mankind” represents females too, but why not use the word “people,” except of course when referring to “man killing the earth,” which is accurate.

Even though most females have experienced male violence, most worship maleness. One example is the words men love that equate their testicles with courage. (People used to say “guts” or “nerve.”) “Balls,” “cojones,” etc. are not only all over the media but are also used by women who posture in pretending to be tough. It’s ridiculous, considering how fragile and vulnerable testicles actually are. Sometimes women are included, like when a particular gutsy woman is said to really have “balls.” Do they really think men and boys are more courageous than girls and women? (I will never forget the true story of a teenaged girl swimming in a lake who was attacked by an alligator. The boys got out of the water and ran, but a fourteen year old girl who didn’t know the victim saved her.)  Trying to make an insulting “feminist” correction by using “ovaries” instead does not help. Do the speakers/writers really think that women whose ovaries have been removed are less courageous?  Do we have to prove it in a duel of some sort?

Erasing Reality with Trendy Words and Euphemisms

Radical Lesbian Feminism means exploring everything for the real meaning and not just accepting popular terms that harm us. Trendy terms are usually innately oppressive. The question to ask is, who does our choice of words support?  There is a huge class divide in who uses what terms, where those who are comfortable and well rewarded by patriarchy are much more accepting of what they are told to think. It is so strong with some that they would rather leave our movement than give up even a tiny amount of their privilege. (And I’m talking about their sense of superiority, not their precious money.) I believe this is about the power they feel from identifying with men in power.

I think there should be an agreement among Radical Lesbian Feminists that certain words should not be used when there is an equally valid word to use instead. Instead of the pretentious, pompous word “wealthy,” why not use the word which is perhaps too vulgar for the delicate sensibilities of the rich — “rich.” Knowing the rich prefer “wealthy,” why do some RLF or anyone who cares about equality, continue to use it?  Yet, in many RF groups, it continues. One way to decide which words are best is to think about which words our enemies use and police us to use. Note the class-based use of two similar words, like “lawyer” versus “attorney.” No matter how often we might choose “lawyer,” when dealing with the privileged, we are corrected to “attorney.” Same with “physician” versus “doctor.”

Some of the most aggravating words are those that are supposed to represent the opposite of what they mean. “Pioneer,” used to denote courageous, innovative explorers, actually describes the racist Euro-descent invaders in the US who murdered First Nations people in order to steal their land and resources. It’s too contaminated for us as Radical Feminists to use for describing our own innovators, and is often applied to those who have mainstream fame but are not really Radical Feminists.

“Settlers” is similar, but has become an in-group, almost cult term by some groups who pretend to be against racism, and it’s similar to “pioneer” in implying that the invaders are using the land, as if the First Nations people didn’t. It gives an assumption of ownership that is just wrong. I have heard men say that the Europeans had the right to the land because the “Indians” weren’t “using” it. So where did the food plants that were cultivated and transformed by people in the Americas over thousands of years originate, many of which are now staples across the earth? Some are deeply associated with European and Asian countries, such as tomatoes, corn, cocoa, potatoes, peppers, peanuts, and avocados. Corn does not even still exist in her wild form. Potatoes were developed into hundreds of varieties, which protects against famine when one form gets blight. The “Three Sisters” of First Nations North American culture were squash, beans, and corn grown together, with the corn providing poles for the beans to climb.

“Civilization” or “the civilized” is another in-group term used by those who are against “civilization” since that’s the mindset that’s destroying the world, but the problem is that it’s been used against Indigenous peoples who are termed “savages” in comparison. If you look up the antonyms for “civilized,” that reveals the problem. And then were the nations and cities in Mexico and the Andes that were larger than London or Paris at the same time, with magnificent pyramids and other stone structures, not “civilized” (in the negative meaning)?

Please Stop Saying “America”

This one is maddening since almost everyone uses it, though what could be more colonialist, imperialist, and racist than giving the Unites States the name “America,” at the expense of the 54 other countries in South, North, and Central America and the Caribbean that have equal rights to  it?  Hasn’t the US stolen and appropriated enough already? “The US” is as easy to say, but “America” is grandiose and popular. It’s the same with “American.” Chrystos suggest “Usian,” because of how the US uses people.

It Sounds Like a Bad Movie

I do not understand why people use “western” to refer to the culture, politics, etc. of Europe and US. If it’s the geological location, then what about Japan, which has certainly taken a lot of cultural influence from “Western” countries, but could not be more Eastern? What about Australia, or what about the cultures in North and South and Central America, which are not European-influenced?

I also do not understand the British colonialist term used by almost everyone in the US, which is the “Middle East.” I know where the “Far East” is supposed to be, but if the end of Western Asia is “Middle,” then where is Western Asia?

A word I never heard before the US invaded Iraq was “Insurgents.” We could figure out from the context that they were the people fighting the invaders, but why the bizarre term? The definition from various sources seem to be about people fighting “lawful government,” so was it a way of the US claiming they were the lawful government of a country they invaded for no reason other than to steal oil? The trumped up reason for the invasion was the supposed connection with 9/11, though that had nothing to do with Iraq. And then there were the non-existent “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” which is ironical when the US has more than any country in the world, and the US had been supplying Iraq with military weapons for years.

The reason there are so many problems with countries in that part of Western Asia is because England, France, etc. had invaded, colonized, and carved up different nations, ethnic groups and cultures to fit into artificial new borders the Europeans invented, instead of letting the people determine their own countries. Some people, like the Kurds, are still without a country and still fighting to have one. The US wanted the oil, but like in Viet Nam and Afghanistan, also took over from previous European colonial invaders.

So the people trying to defend Iraq could have been called “freedom fighters” or the “Iraqi Army” or other names reflecting that they were fighting the invading, mercenary US. But we can’t have that on the news here. So they invented an odd term that almost no one ever had heard of and the media dutifully all used it, without explanation: Insurgents. That could more easily been applied to the original US that was the thirteen colonies fighting their “lawful government,” but instead, they are “patriots.”

And Then, the Most Aggravating of All…

This one we really are not supposed to talk or even think about. How dare we? I don’t think I have ever seen such fear from women about using the “wrong” terms, complete with abject submissive genuflection, and still have no idea why. I haven’t seen anything like this since being in catholic school as a little girl and someone forgot their chapel veil. (Girls in church had to have our heads covered because we were deemed inferior to males, even though the boys were constantly aggressive, threatening, and obscene in school. The disaster was solved by instead wearing a piece of tissue paper or napkin.) I wish this current situation could be so easily solved.

Of course, I’m talking about the bizarre myth of “transgender,” where the most aggressive, dangerous, and obscene males insist they are women and become enraged when women, and especially Lesbians, say no to them. How dare we define ourselves? How dare we be wary when men demand sexual access to us, though most of us have been sexually assaulted by males, and all of us have been sexually harassed?

How on earth are men women? No, they did not grow up feeling they were girls. That is simply a lie. Just ask them what it means to be female and hear how male they are. Their level of shallowness and lack of understanding is astounding. Their liking dresses, high heels, and makeup makes them “real” women?  Are we not women then? None of that crap is intrinsically female. It’s male, invented by men for the subjugation of girls and women. (I remember a man who had recently left his wife and kids to become a “Lesbian” saying how he had no idea how to look like a Lesbian. He’d gone to a women’s studies class dressed in feminine drag, which was probably his “Lesbian” porn fantasy, and the Lesbian professor and students taught him how to look like a Lesbian.) Sexual fetish and obsession with autogynephilia (being aroused when in “feminine” drag and then wanking off) is the opposite of female, yet is what most M2Ts (male to transexxual) do. These men telling us we must accept their “lady peens” certainly does not convince us.

Meanwhile, in my local Lesbian community, which I helped create, I have given up on going to some “women only” events because of not wanting to see the man who stalked me into the community in 1971, or hear him “sing” off key horrific female-hating crap about “bitches” while some Lesbians cheer. One of the last holdouts, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, which will not allow in Lesbians under 59 unless they are with a lover over that age, told us that “trans-lesbians” are coming to their retreat and we are not allowed to discuss it. Knowing there is a pool where the OLOC tradition is to wear no clothes, means we would have to deal with seeing naked men and being seen by them. Also, considering that the sliding scale is still unaffordable, we can’t go anyway, while the men who have far more access to money than Old Lesbians do, get to go.

And what’s with the hatred of and erasure of Butches? The trans cult (my invented term, by the way) never remotely supported Butches, though the assumption is that we are some kind of “transgender.” The reality is that most women who claim to be men/”transmen” are Fem and many are het/bisexual who want sexual access to gay men. It’s very hard to find photos or videos of F2Ts who are Butch, though some men claim to be Butch Lesbians and at least one is on the board of Butch Voices, and even has a video and photos of his prick being wanked off.

Can we also just eliminate “masculine of center” as a euphemism for Butch or even Dyke Fem?  The norm then remains false “feminine” as center, as if any other female animals play male-identified feminine games? This is used not only by self-hating Butches (“masculine” means male, and males as a group are the enemies of Lesbians and women) but by Fems who posture as Butch stereotypes.

Anyway, of course I hate terms that lie, including “transwomen” and “transmen,” “trans-racial” (racist Rachel Dolezal), “trans-paraplegic” (able-bodied Mr. Chloe Jennings-White, who also claims to be a Lesbian, and who has been in documentaries and magazines as a “woman” using disabled services while pretending to be paraplegic). Trans simply does not exist. They are female-hating fantasies. I can hear the gasps of horror. How dare I?  Yet how dare I not?  These men and their women enablers are destroying what women have fought over for decades. Even girls’ and women’s sports are being overtaken by males. Even public restrooms aren’t safe. (Don’t bother to repeat the lie that no girl or woman has ever been attacked in a women’s restroom. Just read GenderTrender – all of it.)   https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/

Gallus Mag said: I don’t think it’s actually about the language. If it was, they wouldn’t go on and on about it. It’s about monitoring and controlling women who speak publicly. They are asking for a show of submission to their male dominance. If there was a reasonable ground for complaint (ie. if there was never an appropriate context to use any descriptive nouns for people: Lesbians, Blacks, Jews, Diabetics, Blondes, Gays, etc) then it wouldn’t function as a mechanism of domination and control. The awkwardness and non-sensical nature of the demand is a feature, not a bug. https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/transgenders-the-true-enemy-of-women-is-amy-siskind/#comment-84832

No other oppressed people but Lesbians and women, are expected to accept our oppressors as us or to allow them into power positions in our community. The Black community is inspirational in how they dealt with Rachel Dolezal. And Black Lesbians have often been more courageous in fighting the trans cult. We also don’t see the disabled community worshipping the “trans-paraplegic” man.

So what is wrong with so many women who are terrified to “mis-gender” men and women, but especially men? I think it’s because of the power that men have, since everyone really does know that “transwomen” are men. Do they not care that many of these men have become counsellors for pre-teenaged Lesbian girls at “LGBTQI” centers (another terms I hate that erases Lesbians) and then sexually prey on them?  Do they not wonder about how many of these men who refuse to take no for an answer have a history of sexually assaulting girls and women? Do they not care about what we are losing?  Isn’t this taking class-privileged do-gooding to a whole new level of masochism? (I wish it did only hurt the women genuflecting to the men. Unfortunately, it hurts all girls and women.) I say to them: Please stop speaking for us when we say no. Even if some can’t, WE can tell the difference between male and female, and Lesbian and man.

Molding Young Minds

Training females to betray our own kind starts in families, schools, and religions. Accept the lies and repeat them in order to be rewarded, and then police other girls to “get it right too.” Racially-oppressed and class-oppressed girls are the most policed, while the white class-privileged girls are the most rewarded for transmitting and enforcing propaganda.

“The birds and the bees,” as a smug euphemism for fucking/reproduction is one of the most dishonest promotions of heterosexism. “Everyone does it.”  Well, no they don’t. Reproduction in many animals is rape, which is why males have structures or secretions to trap or drug females. Many male mammals kill babies and females while trying to rape the females. But male spiders, salamanders, and males of many other species also rape. Some species have become parthenogenic to stop this horror. Ironically, honeybees, and all ant species have developed the safest strategy for controlling dangerous males. They do not fuck or reproduce except for one female who has one experience with a male from which she keeps reproducing countless daughters over years, and that sisterhood keeps the bee community going. Every once in a while, she decides to produce a group of females and males to start a new hive. But those males leave the hive and often live only a day. So all the honeybees we are ever likely to see are female. The same with ants, who create incredibly complex societies which include domesticated animals and agriculture.

Another soul-destroying lesson for little girls is to be taught to call all animals “he,” unless we know their sex. Even when I lead nature hikes with Lesbians to see wild animals, I get corrected/policed/questioned about why I call everyone but the most obvious males “she.” (Some of this policing is about class.) They have to keep us in line. Some are incredulous about how many animals of some species are female and ask “where are the men spiders”? (The answer is that female spiders choose to produce very few males and they often are much smaller and look very different from the females, and, in web-building species, most males do not build webs.)

This is not trivial. Who is brave enough to call animals “she”?

The men who make television nature documentaries try to show how wise they are, but after the animal they’ve been calling “he” turns out to be female, most start calling her “it.” This is amazing, but common. Again, what does that do to girls, now reduced to being “it?” No wonder some girls starting wishing they were boys, to be treated more equally. (Call a man posing as a woman “it” and see how long you stay alive.”)

Language is the learning ground for racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and of course, female-hating and Lesbian-hating. Pretentiousness/classism is behind some of it. If someone uses phrases in writing they would never speak, assume privilege. “Falling on deaf ears,” “being blind to,” “crippled by,” “it’s a cancer/cancerous,” are classic pompous examples, and then there are the spoken words like “that’s lame,” “weak argument,” “stupid,” “crazy,” etc.

Racist words/terms include “dark” when meaning negative, “denigrate,” “undeveloped nations” (unpolluted/unruined nations?), “primitive,” “savage,” and words that sexualize women and racially oppressed people.

A few ageist terms are “dinosaur,” “retro,” calling adults “kids” if they are younger than you. (That extends indefinitely when the victim has refused to “grow up” by refusing to marry or reproduce. I’ve been called a “kid” even in my fifties.)  And then well-meaning young feminists call us “crones” against our will.

Nature-hating terms include “animal” as an insult, “invasive plant” or “invasive animal” (when no one is more invasive and harmful than humans), “untamed,” “humane/inhumane” (no one is more “inhumane” than humans), “under-utilized,” “natural resource,” “sustainable resources,” (because all is to be taken, stolen, used, damaged, and discarded to suit man’s needs). Men’s fear of nature often means trying to make the earth look as lifeless and regimented and as unnatural as possible, which includes using poisons that harm all life. Who on earth decided that we should use plants, like grasses, that must be constantly tortured and cut to maintain a particular height to create lawns, and then continue digging out or poisoning other plants that try to grow in that earth?  Humans forget that plants think and feel and have intricate connections with animals and other plants. https://milliontrees.me/2017/02/01/the-forest-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts/

Sexist and heterosexist terms: lady, which is also classist and used to police girls to be constrained and prissy “proper young ladies.” It’s also used by men to flatter old women, by calling them “young ladies,” where they are expected to giggle in response. (I hate it more than I can say.)  Using “virgin” as a put-down that means inexperienced — this is an ongoing joke even used for Lesbians who had never been to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival – “a Festie virgin.”

Why do feminists use male-worshipping terms like “Seminal,” defined as 1.“influential, formative, groundbreaking, pioneering, original, innovative, major, important, containing or contributing the seeds of later development, creative, original, a seminal book;  2. of, relating to or denoting semen. “Ovular” is used by “feminist” academics to replace “seminar” but is offensive for the same reason substituting “ovaries” is.

“Nailed” and “killed” are both euphemisms for succeeding, but also for fucking, raping, murder, as in “I killed it!” and “I nailed it!” Twelve year old Vili Fualaau bragged to his male friends that he was going to fuck their teacher “I’m going to nail her!” He did and she went to prison.

“Sexual Orientation” has become absolutely mainstream, including as a protected category, which erases what it replaced – our pride in our choice to love our own kind. Who does it serve for women to push the patriarchal and gay male agenda that Lesbians were “born this way,” ignoring the Lesbian Feminists of the past who proudly said we choose to love women? The offensive, trivializing term “sexual orientation,” which is applied to Lesbians, but never to het women, makes Lesbians once again be just about “sex,” ignoring the enormous price Lesbians pay for choosing to love women and saying no to men. That is exactly the heart/mind/body/spirit disconnect that women who choose men have learned from their men, while choosing to love our own kind threatens patriarchy at its core.

There are endless academic terms and words that are not needed for any reason other than to assert class dominance and make class-oppressed Lesbians and women think they are not smart or good enough to write articles or books. We have lost countless Radical Lesbian Feminists because of this classism. It’s extremely effective both for the privileged to pose as superior and to segregate more oppressed women. No woman should ever feel she is not good enough because she does not know academic mindfuck terms like “praxis,” “hegemony,” “deconstruct,” etc. I even know a middle class RLF who questioned her intelligence because she could not understand a lauded RLF book. I forced myself to read it and there was not one thing in it worth reading that had not been previously written by writers that author knew and did not acknowledge. (Even the title was plagiarized!) I hate to think of how many women that book badly affected. If a word is not immediately clear, then why use it except to wield privilege? Besides being unreadable and elitist and exclusionary, academentia is incredibly tedious and boring.

We could continue this by making a discussion if other women want to add ideas and terms to be examined….


About Bev Jo

I’ve been a Lesbian from my earliest memories and am proud to be a Lesbian. Lesbians are my people and my blood. My life’s work has defending Lesbians and our culture and existence against those who oppress us. Working-class, ex-catholic, mostly European-descent (with some First Nations, probably Shawnee, ancestry), from poverty class culture. I’m a Lifelong Lesbian, born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950. I became lovers with my first lover in 1968, became part of a Lesbian community in 1970, and became a Dyke Separatist in 1972. I helped create Radical Lesbian Feminist and Separatist community and worked on some of the earliest Lesbian Feminist projects, such as the Lesbian Feminist Conference in Berkeley in 1972, the newspaper “Dykes and Gorgons” in 1973, the women’s bookstore, Lesbian coffeehouse, and taught self defense to women and girls for ten years. I’ve been published in journals and anthologies, including “For Lesbians Only,” “Finding the Lesbians,” “Lesbian Friendships,” “Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes Aujourd’hui,” “Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen,” the Journal for Lesbian Studies, Lesbian Ethics, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia, and Rain and Thunder. With Linda Strega and Ruston, I co-wrote our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only” in 1990. Our book and my more recent articles have been updated at my blog https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/ I’ve been disabled since 1981 with ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) I love nature and plants and animals — and especially the animals who are feared and hated and killed by people who don’t even know them, just as Lesbians are. I’ve learned to love rats especially, who I do not consider inferior to humans. I’m a spiritual atheist, but I’ve found out that there is definitely life after death because a little rat returned from the dead for three days to comfort us. These hated little animals are so kind and loving, and willing to die for someone they love. I say, in our fight to protect the earth — distrust all “truths” we are taught by patriarchy. The true truth is often the opposite.
This entry was posted in classism, Dyke, Feminism, language, Lesbian, Lesbian culture, Lesbian Feminism, Uncategorized, Words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Censoring Our Minds and The Power of Naming

  1. nuclearnight says:

    Reblogged this on The Arctic Feminist and commented:
    Bev Jo breaks down the meaning behind commonly used phrases and words that keep us in line with bourgeois values. An excellent read and full of things to consider.


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