What’s in a word?


I’ve been called pretty much every name in the book, but the only thing that ever really got to me was being called a misogynist.

I was telling a story to some people about a trip to a friend’s cottage. I said I thought my buddy’s female cousin was hot until she packed a lip of chew.

A girl in the room instantly labelled me a misogynist.

The definition of misogyny is the dislike or hatred of women because they’re women. If the fact that I find girls unattractive for chewing tobacco can be considered misogynistic, then I don’t think we have a clear understanding of the word.

We throw around buzzwords — misogyny, racism, sexism and homophobia — without actually taking the time to consider the situation.

For example, it’s not misogyny to judge a girl’s attractiveness; it’s human nature and it can be shallow, but it’s not misogynistic.

I’ve been called sexist for arguing that I’d never hit a woman because they’re someone’s sister or daughter, and one day, could be somebody’s mother.

I look at violence towards women from a man’s perspective, because I’m a guy. Calling me sexist for trying to personalize a serious issue is a tactic that doesn’t help foster any sense of communication.

Misogyny is a horrible thing, but when we misuse it and other words, we cheapen what they actually mean and make it impossible to discuss them in their proper context.

I think this tossing around of words is especially true at Queen’s. The student body gets easily offended, and is prone to condemning the actions of others without actually taking the time to assess why something is or isn’t wrong to say.

Facebook posts are a great example of this. Posts on pages like Overhead at Queen’s often devolve into an unnecessary cesspool of arguments regarding these topics.

One example is how many students condemned a risqué “Dads, winter isn’t the only thing coming” sign during frosh week in 2013, instead of taking it as the joke it was intended to be.

We’ve become the student body that has cried misogyny or racism. When the time comes for Queen’s students to actually talk about these issues critically, we won’t be able to be-cause we’ve stripped them of all meaning.

Take a second to think next time you want to call someone a misogynist or sexist or racist. Your words carry a heavy weight — make sure you’re using them right.

Sean is the Journal’s Sports Editor. He’s a third-year English major.

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