The language trap [short version]


The term ‘language trap’ and the concept behind it has been used many times in the last few decades with specific —but not sole— reference to gender and language studies, for example Dale Spender (1980), Deborah Cameron (1985, 1990) and Robin Lakoff (1975, 2004). For the purposes of this evaluation, a language trap shall be taken to mean:

the existence within language of conventions, expectancies and etiquette which serve to maintain the status of women as subservient and inferior to men and to maintain contemporary society’s patriarchal power structure.

The argument here is that, in the way language is used by and about women, they are still the victims of a language trap. Through language, women are objectified, commodified, infantilised and marginalised. Language, like the society it reflects, changes very slowly over time. The work of feminists in the 1970s is on the one hand still being undertaken and on the other hand is being undone. From close analysis, it can be seen that women are still currently the victims of a language trap. This is not to say however that the trap is inescapable and indeed it is evident that change toward equality is underfoot.

The full version of this essay is on the portfolio page, here.

Equality Bill beeswax & Pope Benedict


In response to the BBC News article on Pope Benedict’s attack of the UK government over Equality Bill…

Just a few things,

1) “The taxpayer in this country is going to be faced with a bill of some £20m for the visit of the Pope – a visit in which he has already indicated he will attack equal rights and promote discrimination.”

Fantastic! Who agreed to pay for this hate peddler? Do only Catholics have to pay for this visit?

2) Religious leaders have voiced concern that the Equality Bill could force churches to employ sexually active gay people and transsexuals when hiring staff other than priests or ministers.

The question here is why would actively gay people want to be employed by organisations that don’t agree with them?

3) Peter Tatchell said the Pope’s comments were a “coded attack on the legal rights granted to women and gay people… His ill-informed claim that our equality laws undermine religious freedom suggests that he supports the right of churches to discriminate in accordance with their religious ethos… He seems to be defending discrimination by religious institutions and demanding that they should be above the law.”

But Catholic MP Ann Widdecombe said: “This isn’t a debate about homosexuality, this is a debate about religious freedom.”

Now, if this was coming from a Islāmic voice, how would we feel about that?

4) Widdecombe goes on to say  “If a faith teaches, as major faiths do, that something is wrong, then quite clearly you cannot have somebody who believes that it’s right actually occupying a very senior position… That we have accepted as natural justice for a very long time.”

The counter here is threefold:

the first is as above in point 2)

the second is a disagreement with the ‘inclusive ‘we” of her statement (although it’s acknowledged that this may have been taken out of context)

the third is ‘natural justice’ – what is this natural justice? Darwinism? God’s Law? Accepted for a long time? Hmm, the Luddites spring to mind. That said, faith is faith, you believe or you don’t. Surely there are enough fragments and divisions of the church by now to accommodate all – gays included. Perhaps gays shouldn’t attempt to force the ‘anti-gay’ divisions of the church to accept them and find a division that does and the Pope who is “not getting into party politics” –or the running of a(nother) country?– should do as he claims.

Neologisms & alternate word definitions


The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

Most used websites


My most used websites are:

Facebook

Wikipedia

YouTube

Google

WordPress

Twitter

Flickr

These websites contribute to both my dedication to and my distraction from assignments.

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