Tim is going to read that title and laugh and then throw it in my face that I finally admitted it. But, really, I hate being wrong. And I hate it especially when that wrongness hurts someone else.
There is a lot to be said about language, and, most importantly about language, in my humble opinion, is the fact that it has such power to motivate, inspire, direct, and – yes – hurt people. As an English major, a writer, and a blogger, I feel I’ve been entrusted with this power and I must wield it carefully.
Honestly, there are a lot of things I avoid saying on here because I fear offending someone, or I am afraid I’ll say it the wrong way. I feel comfortable blogging about women’s rights because, hey, I am a woman, so if I say something about feminism and women’s rights, it must be OK, right? But what if I say something wrong about something I don’t really have any experience with, or what if I say something offensive or use an offensive word and don’t realize it? The truth is that I should know better, but I do slip up. Or sometimes I don’t know better, and people assume that since I write in this civil rights blogosphere that I should, and get angry with me when I had no clue a term or phrase was offensive.
This is also very often the reason I avoid commenting on blogs. The pressure to “say it right” in someone else’s sphere is so intense sometimes that it’s difficult to formulate a complete thought, let alone a coherent comment that doesn’t derail the discussion. So, often, I don’t comment at all.
I guess I’m sharing this because it’s been bothering me lately. I feel like the purpose of the feminist blogosphere should be to educate, and in order to educate people, one should be insistent that we “say it right” but, also, should be a patient teacher. I feel like we should be able to say what we have to say and, if something is said in an offensive way, we should trust that those offended will come to us privately and explain to us why we should edit what we wrote or change our writing practices in the future. And, on the other side, the people who wrote the offensive word or phrase should be open to the criticism and try their best to change.