Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merriam Websters Word of the Year


Merriam-Webster Dictionary's "Word of the Year. "

Do you know what the word is? I will give you a clue. It is not covfefe. That is not a word, just a lazy tweet. Another clue is that it starts with an "F."  It is not a swear word.

Before I reveal this important word, I want to discuss a conversation my husband and I had on the recent reveal of all the men in power that have sexually assaulted, molested and/or scare-threatened women while the men were running businesses, making movies, drafting legislation, running cooking shows, managing restaurants, attending military shows, etc.   We were talking about why men in power do this?  (The real question is why are there more men than women in power, but this post is not about that.)


My husband seemed to think it was a deep biological need.  There is a biological programming for males to extend their gene pool for survival.  I claimed it had to do with a hatred and sometimes fear of women and a need to reassure that oneself was still in power.

Now that I have dwelled on it, I think we are both right.  Have you ever had the opportunity to watch an elk herd get organized in late fall?  I have.  The younger females drift over to the better looking younger elk males and give each other the tentative eye.  This lasts about 10 minutes and then the major elk, the older one with the big shoulders and rack and bigger, well you know, comes around and paws the ground and demands the females get back in their place with serious threats.  He will run off the younger elk and then strut his stuff and herd his harem roughly to the other side of the meadow.

There is a deep biological need to continue one's gene line.  Male lions rape and kill for sexual reproduction and otters attack females for the same.  This is found throughout the animal kingdom.

But humans are sentient, living an intelligent and civilized life; and hopefully, we have moved beyond those physical power plays and forcing themselves on others, at least most people have.  So those who molest are throwbacks to an earlier time.  They have failed to evolve, or they have a deep-seated mental illness.

For those males who bemoan today going to the holiday parties worrying about how to behave, I have little sympathy.  Treat each woman as if she was your mother or sister or daughter and you will do just fine.  If you feel you need to hug someone, ask them first!  If you are under the mistletoe, act embarrassed and walk away.  If you drink too much call a cab and go home.  NEVER tell off-color jokes, ever!  Compliment a woman on her dress only if you regularly compliment a guy on his tie.

I am not sympathetic to these creeps as I have been a woman always ducking that snake at the holiday party, always looking over my shoulder when alone at night, always dreading the boss who told dirty jokes, feeling belittled when denigrated by gender at a meeting.  I managed that for years, so now men can manage the other better type of behavior!

Oh, the word --- feminist.

21 comments:

  1. My son-in-law said in one of many conversations over Thanksgiving that it's not hard to not grope a woman. It takes effort to do it. I see it as not about seduction at all. It's aggressive and has no intent to want the woman other than to demean her. A grope is not a simple pat on the rear. It's invasive. The woman who said Larry King did it to her said it left bruises. That is not about expecting that woman will then want the guy.

    I think this country needs to have a serious conversation about what abusive behavior is versus out of line or inappropriate. Right now if a man looks too long at a woman someone is claiming it could be harassment. I think we need to define it before demanding to kick out a Senator or ruin someone's reputation. Clearly when it's at a Bill Cosby end, it's criminal and hence should be grounds for removal. If it threatens a woman's job if she doesn't fall in line, that's a good civil lawsuit if nothing more. What behavior goes over the line.

    I have never liked the idea of being a feminist. Maybe that needs reinterpreting for what it means. I suspect it'll take that to get a lot of us who are old enough to remember the last aggressive wave of it that put down any woman who stayed home to raise kids. What does being a feminist even mean for today?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me it means equality and being treated fairly like a human. That is all.

      Delete
    2. Then i agree totally. And not having to watch a nude movie producer to get a job. Yuck and it's happened obviously way too often.

      Delete
  2. Couldn't agree more. Hope your holidays are fun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, that's it. Those manners and kindness your mom taught you do matter. I really like that song, we are human after all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Respect for all, generally covers how we all should behave. Do men and women admire others who they see as physically beautiful from afar... of course. It is normal to appreciate beauty. The behaviour we have heard about through several news outlets covers the inappropriate through to criminal. However, the pendulum does swing end to end and ones behaviour with friends, acquaintances and colleagues each has its own code of conduct.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is a great word which garnered negativity in the recent past from men and some women. It is good to see it up for discussion again.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yay! I have always loved that word and now I can wear it again, holding my head high. I also am thrilled over last night's election returns. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a deep subject, and it all comes down to do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was certain the new word or phrase would be "fake news."

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have not experienced what you have in the business world. It is different in the world of elementary education. But I certainly understand where you are coming from, and I appreciate your words here.
    I was disappointed in the word of the year choice, however. I prefer the non-gender term "persist".

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have always chafed against the restrictions that were imposed on women when I was growing up and proudly claim the word feminist and it pisses me off that some women denigrate us and what we have accomplished but enjoy the fruits of our fight. as for sexual harassment/aggression/predation as the words imply there are many degrees. I don't get offended when a man tells me I look good. I've been known to tell a man he looks handsome. what's wrong with accepting a compliment. a pat on the butt is inappropriate and far different from being groped. all inappropriate behavior is not the same. there is the line of criminality that gets crossed. rude crude behavior...pats on butts and lewd 'jokes' should be dealt with immediately by calling them out. actual physical groping or forcing of any sexual conduct needs to be prosecuted but our society falls flat in that regard because men are far and wide still the ones in authority and they are loathe to punish other men for sexual misconduct. is it a biological need for them as your husband thinks and if so wouldn't women have the same biological need or is it just learned behavior, the patriarchy and religion, which teaches us that women are not equal and are there to take care of and support men. this is why feminism is so important. to show and to teach that women are equal and deserve the same respect that men expect for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bravo post!
    Creeps are creeps no matter what generation. Yet, I feel some of the bad behavior is
    From what has been accepted in the past, grew up that way feeling it's ok to treat women with disrespect. #Metoo is an iceberg. I hope the heart of the issue wiil stay on course to change behavior, and not become one of witch hunt mentality fueled by bitterness.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have paid much attention to specifics, but I read a piece on Weinstein today. What a creep!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for this very real and uplifting post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When men comment on what I wear I tell them I don't dress to impress them!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm old enough to have been raised to think men were allowed certain liberties- that's just "how men were" - but that women should never, ever be "provocative." But, I was instinctually repulsed by men who made improper or lewd comments, or grabbed, patted, or otherwise touched me in suggestive ways and I had no trouble calling them out loudly and publicly. That habit made me unpopular with both men and women! I was let go from a couple of jobs because of my outspokenness as a teen. Later in life, when I really needed the jobs I had as a single mother of four, I was forced to be more circumspect. Now I wish I'd risked those jobs in order to call out the men who felt they could take advantage without reprisal.

      Delete
  16. Lots of time and energy spent by women disavowing being feminists for the simple reason they defined it differently from one another. That’s why I hate labels when people so readily misuse them, or fail to define their meaning before condemning the term or others who adopt it. Feminist is such a classic example — so simple with a meaning as you describe and one every woman should be proud to identify with being.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm glad it wasn't "fake news!"

    ReplyDelete

Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.