I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

8 April, 2014 Musing Musers 44 comments

Hey everybody! How are you fine people doing today?

​I want to take a momentary break from reviewing and bookish shenanigans to talk about words. Specifically commonly used words that are also slurs.

Trigger warning: I’m talking about slurs so assume this post will be full of words you may find offensive. I’m using them in a way I hope is constructive, educational and will ultimately make us all (slightly) better people. However, if you can’t handle that, you may want to click out of this window and go look up kitten videos or whatever floats your boat. You have been warned.

You keep using that word

The intention of this post is not to rehash and complain about known problem words (I mean, we all know that if you call someone retarded/faggot/cunt you’re probably going to cause a problem, right?) Same goes for profanity. I understand that some people find it offensive, but being crass is not the same as being hurtful. Also, have you been to this blog before? I don’t want to speak for my co-bloggers but, while I do try and keep my language mostly clean on the public interwebz, fuck and co are words I hold near and dear to my heart and no amount of telling me swearing is classless and unladylike (barf) will convince me to give it up. /sidebar rant.

​I would also like to point out that this post is coming from a fairly American-centric position because, hey! I’m American. I have been informed that depending on what language you speak, there can be different connotations to words, for example different words for crazy can be directly referential to mental illness, but also sometimes not. I can’t give you my opinion on this because, despite my best efforts, my brain appears incapable of learning non-English, but I figured it was worth throwing that out there.

​ANYWAY. I’m talking about the insidious little words that lurk in many of our vocabularies simply because maybe we’ve never considered how they could be offensive. I’m talking about the crazies, the insanes, the lames, the dumbs, the blind and deafs, the cocksuckers, the buttmunchs, the twats etc. I’m intentionally sidestepping racial ones because that is an entire post in its own right and it’s one I feel I’m no way qualified to handle.

​Before we go any further, let me make it clear that I am not coming from a place of enlightened lecturism. Those words I mentioned? I’ve used them (if you go back through my previous reviews I’m sure you’ll find some of them). Hell, I still say crazy and stupid and idiot because they’re so deeply ingrained in my vocabulary it’ll take awhile to completely excise them. ​Up until about two years ago, the term ‘ableist’ wasn’t on my radar because I have been fortunate enough to not have to deal with these kinds of issues myself or in my family. What I’m trying to say is I am admittedly ignorant but I want to learn and I’m asking you to teach me.

Now, maybe this is incredibly presumptuous of me, but it seems fairly unlikely that I’m alone in this. It also seems like it’s one of those things that people don’t like to admit ignorance about and let me stress that I completely get this. It also seems like it’s something that people have the attitude that ‘you should know better’ which is both not necessarily true and also shames people into keeping their mouths shut therefore bypassing an opportunity to learn a thing. I think that we can all benefit from an open and educational discussion and hey, maybe we’ll grow a little as people.

For any of you that don’t know, a pejorative slur is a word or grammatical form of expression that expresses contempt, criticism, hostility, disregard and/or disrespect. This is the point at which I planned to list a number of common ones but it turns out the internet has done my homework for me and I also don’t want this post to have a five digit word count. This site has a really great post on ableist slurs and benign alternatives and Wikipedia has helpfully collected lists of LGBT slang terms and ethnic/religious/regional slurs. Obligatory disclaimer about them not being comprehensive, but you have to start somewhere.

It should be mentioned that many words have dual meanings (as Wikipedia points out, the term ‘hacker’ is both a term for computer criminals and people who are good with computers) and it can also be argued that the meaning of words can grow and evolve through common usage (seriously, what does ‘literally’ even mean anymore?). What it comes down to is it’s up to you what you should or shouldn’t say. I’m not the boss of you, do what you want.

However, I am a huge believer in making informed decisions and I think it’s important to at least know what you’re doing so you can figure out where your lines are. Personally, if I’m going to piss someone off, I want it to be intentional, like me saying ‘you’re an asshole and I want to smash your face in’ not unintentional like saying ‘ohemgee that shit was craaaazy’ without realizing that by describing a wild night as crazy, I am diminishing the importance for people with real mental issues.

A common argument that comes up is ‘well, x has come to mean y and if I can’t say x, then what am I supposed to say when I mean y?’ I understand this thinking, I’ve been there, but I also think it can be kind of lazy, especially among the bookish/writing community. We’re creative word people, we can’t come up with something better? What if next time you find yourself thinking ‘but I just don’t know what else to say’ try asking yourself what it is exactly you’re describing and use that word instead? Instead of using bipolar as a catchall term for being moody and/or indecisive, maybe try saying moody and/or indecisive. Want to call someone a moron? Try twit or, if you’re feeling more colorful, an inane fuckhead or douchecanoe. (I suppose I could say something about considering whether or not you actually need to insult another individual but let’s be real, sometimes people piss you off and you want to express that). The point is, there’s an entire universe of words out there and that only includes the ones that have already been invented.

Honestly, it’s a can of worms. Once you start thinking about it, you (and by you I mean me, but roll with it) start to question so many phrases that seem innocuous and it’s a little mind-boggling how many of them have shitty origins. But hey, I like a challenge. I’m not saying I will never say anything offensive again because that’s ridiculously unlikely. I’m sure there are loads of words I haven’t even begun to consider the problematicness of, but the point is, I’m going to try. How you feel is up to you. I’m sidestepping the ‘is everything a bad word/are we getting too PC’ debate because I constantly flipflop on how I feel about that and it’s not really my call on whether or not people should or shouldn’t be offended by certain words. The reality is they are and all we can do is decide how we’re going to react to that.

So now I open the floor to you, gentle reader. What do you think? What are some words that bug you and why? What are your alternatives? What did you eat for lunch yesterday? (I don’t know, just say something so I don’t feel like an asshole shouting into the void).

Meg Morley

Meg Morley

Co-bloggery at Cuddlebuggery
Meg is an all-around book nerd who just really wants to talk about books, preferably with other people but by herself will do. Find her on Goodreads.

44 Responses to “I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means”

  1. Anya

    I’m right there with you Meg. I didn’t know about ableism until this whole blog world happened and mostly due to Foz Meadows’ blog. My current project is the word lame, but now I’m thinking maybe crazy would be a better one for me to focus on since I might use that more.

    Lame is one that I keep going back and forth on since I can’t remember a time I’ve ever heard it applied to a person. It generally seems to be a term used for horses these days. Obviously it has a negative history, but since it seems to have less of a negative connotation in today’s words, it’s difficult for me to wrap my own brain around it, let alone convince other people that it could be hurtful. Thoughts?

    • Meg Morley

      It’s funny you mention lame, that was the word that originally got me thinking about my words and their unintended impact. I also used to throw it around with complete abandon and eventually I was called out for using it. I was mortified and initially really defensive because I seriously never once thought of it as having anything to do with a person’s abilities, it was more an easy way of saying ‘boring and/or falling flat.’ It’s one of those gray area words that you’ll find equally convincing arguments for and against using it and what it really comes down to is, like I said in the post, it’s up to you. Basically, even if its generally accepted meaning has moved far from its origin, it’s still hurtful to people and you can’t change that so you have to decide if you can live with it. (Sorry, that wasn’t totally helpful was it?)

      • Anya

        (What, you can’t give me detailed instructions for living my life perfectly?? I object! 😉 )

        Interesting! So the person who called you out, did they explain why they were personally insulted or they just thought it could be insulting? I guess I want to hear the argument for why it is still insulting to people with a physical disability, even though it almost feels like it should be obvious? As I mentioned in a comment further down, I think I struggle with this one since I have joint/spine problems that cause me to limp frequently and I’ve never felt that the word lame applied to me (since I’m not a horse), nor am insulted by it. I realize that just because one person isn’t insulted by something, doesn’t mean no one else is, but I think that that is where that particularly confusion arises for me.

        • Meg Morley

          (I’m soooorry! *weeps*)

          I was called out by a forum mod in zero-slur tolerance forum, so their reasoning was basically ‘you can’t say that here’ which is legit and my bad, but not exactly helpful from an educational perspective. I think it’s the same as all the rest of the gray area words, it comes from a bad place and it’s up to you whether or not it’s moved far enough away from said place for you to feel comfortable using it. However if you do use it, you do so with the understanding that while it may not bother you, it might bother someone else.

          • Beth W

            Damn, that’s a really good one. I use lame, so I’m guilty of that (but I can’t recall using it to apply to any living thing). However, I’m also lamed by bad knees. Maybe it has to do with the subtext of lame meaning ‘unable to operate as normal’? We need a better word for situations that are boring wastes of time, or jokes that fall flat. Something snazzy and one-word. Hrm……

  2. Angie F.

    I completely agree! I’ve tried to be more careful with my words, but it’s hard, since they’ve been used in a certain way for sooo long. Like Anya above, “lame” is one of those words I just can’t seem to get out of the habit of saving. I really don’t hear anyone using it as it was originally meant to be used (probably because a lot of people simply don’t know), but I am using it incorrectly, so I should stop. Of course, there’s plenty more, but I am trying.

    However, the thing that bothers me the most is when people use OCD as an equivalent for organized or liking things in a certain way. And actually, I’ve never seen it used more than in the book community. It seems like everyone is “OCD about book covers and matching series.” Um, no you’re not! As someone who has OCD, and grew up with a parent who has it so bad that they wouldn’t leave the house for 12 years, I know what it’s like. You are not “OCD about” something, you have OCD or you don’t. Yes, what triggers it is different for everyone, but it’s not something you pick and choose. Wanting all of your books cover to look the same while they collect dust on your shelf is not the same as having an anxiety attack because one of your “quirks” has been triggered.
    Angie F. recently posted…Review: The Here and Now by Ann BrasharesMy Profile

    • Meg Morley

      OCD is a big one and I know I’ve been guilty of using it in the past. Mara Wilson wrote a really fantastic article on Cracked about OCD that does a really good job of pointing out the myriad of ways people are misusing it and educating the general public about real OCD, all wrapped in a snappy, humorous…shell? I don’t know, that sentence ran away from me. ANYWAY, Have you seen it? It’s a good article: http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-no-one-tells-you-about-having-ocd/ (sorry I can’t figure out how to make it an actual link, apparently the internet and I aren’t friends today)

  3. Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss.

    I hate it when people misuse ‘compulsion’ and ‘OCD’ when they’re really talking about habits or voluntary interests. I have a compulsive disorder called trichotillomania, which is a fancy way to describe compulsively pulling my hair out. It’s not something I choose to do. It’s like a sneeze. I can hold it off for a while, but the discomfort is just going to build until I explode. The misuse of ‘compulsion’ bugged me so much I ended up writing a post about it, and people were actually really supportive. I think most people know how to do the right thing once you call attention to a bad habit, because bad habits can fly under the radar of our self-awareness so easily.
    Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss. recently posted…ARC Review: Unspeakable by Caroline PignatMy Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Compulsion and OCD definitely go on the commonly misused list. I’m glad the community was so supportive of your post! I think you’re 100% right, these words are tossed around so casually, many people don’t stop and think about what they actually mean and how they can affect others. That was really the underlying point of this post, to sort of say ‘yo, everybody, make sure you realize what you’re saying.’

  4. Ilex

    @ Anya

    Lame is a really tricky one, isn’t it? I let a character think it in my most recent novel, but I really sweated over using the word. Like you, though, I never think of it as being applied to people as, for example, “that limping person is lame” — the word holds a totally different meaning for me if I say, “That joke was lame!” And I don’t think it’s being used a slur on any playground in the US with any association with its original meaning, unlike “retarded” or that’s so gay. But still … a very hard judgement call.

    • Anya

      Right?? I also feel conflicted because I have various joint and spine problems that frequently cause me to limp and I don’t feel like the word lame would apply to me even though technically it would. I’d like to think our culture has moved beyond thinking badly about a person with a limp since it’s so common these days, but maybe I’m in a nice bubble in my community?

      • Ilex

        I sure hope people have moved past thinking “loser” or “klutz” or whatever when they see someone limping — because a limp is hardly some kind of personal flaw. Goodness knows I’ve spent enough time hobbling due to badly stubbed toes and sports injuries that all I feel is sympathy for anyone else doing it. 🙂

        And as you point out, it could be due to a chronic condition like JRA or scoliosis — but I don’t think of anyone suffering from those as being “lame”, either. It’s just not a word I would ever apply to a person, unless I was writing something set before the twentieth century.

  5. Ilex

    Meg: I’d include “douche” anything under words that should be avoided. It’s a word that’s strictly associated with females and female body parts and the idea that said parts are “dirty” or “gross.” (I object to using male body parts and/or functions as insults, too.)

    But yeah, this is a conversation we should all be keeping in mind. Thanks for your thoughtful post here.

    • Meg Morley

      Ahh, good point. I guess I’ve been generally okay with douche because it’s an inanimate object with a nicer ring to it then the more gender-neutral ‘enema’ but I see where you’re coming from and I hadn’t really thought about it (aaaaaand I’ve circled around to the whole point of this, learning!) Thanks for bringing it up.

      • Ilex

        “Enema” is definitely a less-wieldy term! I’ve tried substituting it when I see “douche” used, and it feels awkward. But maybe if it was the term we were all used to, it would sound less weird. Words are funny things that way.

        • Beth W

          My boyfriend and I have had a similar discussion about the word ‘cunt’ (which is almost exclusively used as an insult), as opposed to the gender-neutral ‘asshole’. And why is it harsher to say someone is a ‘cunt’, than to say they are a ‘dick’? (and not at all uncommon to say someone is ‘fat’, but to never say someone is ‘blood’, ‘neck’, or ‘foot’)

          Language is a prickly thing…

          • Ilex

            Mini-lecture: The difference between “dick” and “cunt” is that generally, a penis has been a symbol of power, and a vulva has been a symbol of no-power. The c-word carries a whole extra layer of misogyny and the idea that women should be ashamed to be female (similar to how the n-word is perceived as showing hatred for all black people), whereas “dick” doesn’t have that weight — it applies to one guy at a time, not the entire male half of humanity, and pointing out that a person has a penis is still as much a compliment as an insult. If we ever reach a day when women are truly seen as just people, then “cunt” may lose its power. But I don’t think we’re there yet.

            Asshole, though, is an excellent gender-neutral insult. 🙂

  6. TwiLyghtSansSparkles

    Fundie. It’s a slur, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter how you feel about evangelicals; fundie is a pejorative term. For that matter, fundamentalist and evangelical have gained some negative connotations too. Just call them by their denominational name (Baptist, Pentecostal, Reformed, etc.).

    • Meg Morley

      Very true! I’m curious about your point re: fundamentalist and evangelical, specifically the latter. I was under the impression that Evangelical was a specific offshoot of the Protestant movement, is that incorrect? What would be a more accurate alternative for that term? (Honestly asking, I don’t know too much about it).

      • TwiLyghtSansSparkles

        Well, like a lot of words, “fundamentalist” and “evangelical” started out as descriptive terms. A fundamentalist was (and still is, by definition alone) a Christian who believed in the “fundamentals” of the Bible—sin, grace, salvation, etc.—without any “earthly” added rules, like “vote for this political party” or “don’t ever go out drinking.” Similarly, “evangelical” used to mean a Christian who believed (or belonged to a church that believed) in the importance of evangelism.

        Lately, though, the words have gotten negative connotations. Both have come to mean, in the public consciousness, a Christian who wants the rest of the world to follow the same constrictive rules they follow (no drinking, no swearing, no R-rated movies (except Passion of the Christ) no attractive clothing, no “unholy” books, etc.). I’ve noticed that “fundamentalist” especially has come to mean a person whose favorite hobby is telling gays and lesbians that they’re on the express train to hell. And honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find a fundamentalist believer who would look a gay couple in the eye and say “God hates you.”

        • Beth W

          As someone who has been point-blank told that the Christian god hates me because I’m not Christian, I’ve actively used the term Fundamentalist Christian (because there are fundamentalists of all creeds) to apply to those who are aggressively judgmental against those who differ from their faith. And yes, it’s a negative connotation. Is that an inaccurate or inappropriate term in that instance? Is there a better term for folks who are evangelical, literalist (but only as it applies to their idealogy), judgmental, and outspoken about it?

          On a related spoke of the wheel, my b/f’s grandparents belong to an Evangelical church, and it’s Pentacostal (which is an offshoot of Protestant, right?). But I always understood evangelical to be “deliberately reaching out to non-Christians, unasked, to educate/persuade them to your faith”, which would include (in my personal experience) Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Are those also offshoots of Protestantism, or am I misunderstanding evangelicalism?

          • TwiLyghtSansSparkles

            “[A]m I misunderstanding evangelicalism?”

            In a word: yes.

            Let me start off by sincerely apologizing for having been told God hates you. I know the Internet isn’t exactly conducive to sincerity (it’s hard to make words on a screen sound sincere) but please believe me when I say that those people were wrong. God does not hate you. He doesn’t hate anyone, and saying he does won’t make it true.

            Now, a little backtracking is in order. The conservative Christian worldview—the one that holds homosexuality is a sin—is not based in the assumption that a belief in God makes one better than one who does not believe. Or rather, it shouldn’t. There ARE people who hold that view, and I am quite confident in saying they are wrong. There are right and wrong ways to interpret the Bible, and to walk away assuming that because you believe in God you are qualified to say who God does and doesn’t hate is wrong. The interpretation I have been taught, and the one most conservative Christians I know subscribe to, is that every sin—be it pride or sexual sin—is wrong.

            Do all Christians embrace this view? No. Those who told you God hates you obviously did not, and they were wrong for it. They were, as the old parable goes, pointing out the speck in your eye while ignoring the log in their own. Jesus had a special name for that sort of believer: hypocrites. The Pharisees to which Jesus referred ignored their own sin to point out the sins of another—not for that person’s benefit, but to stroke their own ego.

            You mentioned evangelism as something negative. Some people DO turn it into a “Your god sucks and so do you!” shouting match. Their method stems from pride, and it does more harm than good. However, the purpose of evangelism—the reason so many Christians practice it—stems from the belief that sin is inherently harmful. The example I’ve heard, and you’ve probably heard it too, is that of the bus: “If you saw someone standing in the middle of the street and you knew a bus was coming, would you try to get them out of the way? Or would you let them stand there?” Penn Jillette put it another way: “How much do you have to hate someone NOT to proselytize?” Christians believe the bus is coming, and they want to get as many people out of the way as possible. That does not in any way excuse those who scream and shout and say God hates the people who don’t move.

            Once again, I truly am sorry that believers told you God hates you. If I could hug you, I would, but it’s kind of hard to hug through a computer screen. God doesn’t hate you. He MADE you. Every person in the world is a masterpiece, and you’re one of them. And I believe it pains God to see one of his creations tearing another one down in his name. That isn’t right, and it’s not what Jesus died for.

          • Kat Kennedy

            Agree Beth. A Fundamental Christian is not a pejorative, it’s a classification. One that helps me avoid jerkoffs.

            “Hi! I’m a fundamental Christian!”

            *Kat slams door*

          • Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

            Personally, I avoid terms like “fundamentalist Christians” not because I think it poorly labels Fundamentalists – but because I think it gives Christians who are NOT fundamentalists but, nevetherless, have some deeply prejudiced views or support institutions and denominations that are championing bigotry (such as the Catholic or Anglican church) too much of a pass – it gives them an out to say “no not me… that’s those awful fundies!”

            But, yes, if there’s a negative connotation to the words “fundamentalist” then I think the blame lands squarely on those who identify by those terms.

  7. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    Very insightful post Meg! I do try to think about the word I use in a review or when I talk, because the last thing I want is saying something that might be hurtful for someone else.

    The thing that is bothering me, which is why I’ve written a post about is, is ‘bullying.’ People use this term so easily and they don’t seem to realize how much worse real bullying is. Seeing how people compare a negative review to bullying makes me sad, because it diminishes the real meaning of the word. Bullying had (and has) a huge impact on my life, so seeing it tossed around so easily.. I don’t like it.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Fairytale News 34. Early reviews.My Profile

    • Meg Morley

      Thanks! I loved your post on bullying, it was really well-done and completely necessary. I agree, I think too many people are starting to use ‘bullying’ as a magic word that will make people who are doing things they don’t like stop, which, no. That kind of misuse dilutes conversation around the real issue and is ultimately damaging to everyone.

      • Beth W

        Yes. This. When people refer to someone who expresses a belief contrary to theirs a “bully”, I want to scream. Is it ignorance of the meaning? Or lazy thinking? Or a desire to use a buzz-word to provoke reaction (and sympathy for them)?

    • Wendy

      That’s a great point! My 2nd grader’s school has taught the kids a pretty specific definition of bullying, and I’ve heard her actually talk herself through the checklist–“It was on purpose, and it happened repeatedly, and they were trying to make me feel bad, and they didn’t stop when I asked, so it was bullying and I can ask an adult for help.” As opposed to, you know, “Jimmy is LOOKING at me!”

  8. Wandering Meander

    This is such an interesting post. I know I’m guilty of this as well, and though I periodically say something to provoke reaction, I rarely mean to cut down groups of people.
    Somehow this reminds me of a (paraphrased) quote by, um, someone. “As a writer, your words are your paint. Use all the colors.” Meaning, of course, to use the five dollar words when the situation calls for it.

    Lots to think about…

  9. Natalie M.

    I think it honestly depends on the person’s character. I’m physically disabled and wheelchair-bound due to myopathy, but I don’t have a problem with people calling me out on it. I know some disabled folk don’t like having the word ‘handicapable’ applied to them, but I personally have no problem with it and think it’s sort of cute. But I do admit that sometimes jokes can go too far.

  10. Lea

    Great topic and really well written. I have been called out for using a word that I know longer use and shouldn’t have to begin with. I think how you brought attention to it was kind, yet completely thought provoking – I am pondering “stupid” and “dumb” and “crazy/insane” and how I feel about them as slurs. And where to draw the line, everyone can be offended by being called something, I’m not sure when it becomes a slur and when it is just something that may have a negative connotation and if those are the same thing? Anyway, I appreciate the way you brought up this topic and wanted to let you know.
    Lea recently posted…Blogs I Love & What’s To ComeMy Profile

  11. Kate Copeseeley

    First of all, I love it when you guys do this type of post. Also, I think, if we are honest, we are ALL learning what things may be triggers for others. I didn’t even know what CIS meant until like a week ago. I agree with you, as long as we are all open and willing to learn, it will be okay. (Or so my optimistic little heart would suppose.)

    Also, have you seen this website? Really makes you think about the words you say or the actions you take.
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  12. Linda H Carson

    The changing connotation of the word “gay” had an amusing (to me) impact on my grandmother. Since she was a little girl, my grandmother, Grace, went by the nickname Gaye. In the late 1980’s she started introducing herself to people as “I’m Gaye – with an ‘e'”. In the last few years she has reverted to calling herself Grace, even though she hates the name. I find it slightly sad that a 97 year old is worried that people will be confused about her sexuality.
    Linda H Carson recently posted…Defining and Understanding Dystopian NovelsMy Profile

  13. Beth W

    Being aware of the language you’re using is HUGE, so thanks for posting this. That’s not to say we should walk on eggshells every time we talk/type for fear of offending someone, somewhere, someday. But lazy thinkers tend to come off as one-track, stupid, or generally negative (even if they aren’t) when that’s the language they use. I much prefer cuss words to catch-all slang (“that’s gay” or everything is “awesome”) because at least there’s a wider range.

    Stigmas are stickier (i.e. is it more acceptable to call something crazy, when it’s actually chaotic+indecisive+annoying? Or should we always be as specific and detailed- and long-winded- as possible?) But when in doubt, I try to find a synonym for the word my brain wants to use by default.
    Beth W recently posted…Studio Gear Hydrating CC Cream Review + DiscountMy Profile

  14. Kelly

    The older I get, the more I realize how many words I was use (am using) in every day conversations that could be offensive to someone.

    I was a huger user of “that’s retarded” or “that’s gay” to describe something I found downright ridiculous or silly, and for the longest time I didn’t understand how using it in that sense could be offensive to someone else. I’ve grown up a lot (I think) but I still catch myself using words that have a history associated with something else – like lame.

    Thanks for the reminder to be a little more judicious in my word choices.
    Kelly recently posted…Book Review: Through the Ever NightMy Profile

  15. Kanika Kalra

    Okay, so, I’m obviously reading this kind of late, but I’m going to go ahead and comment anyway.
    One word that comes to mind instantly is ‘gay’. As in, ‘that dress is so gay,’ or ‘OMG, you are so gay!’ This word is used a lot. Atleast, I’ve been hearing it quite a lot these days. People use it for describing something too corny, or too girlish, but I think this is one word we should be cautious about using. Obviously, there are people who will argue that they don’t mean it to be offensive. And I get that, so, I agree with you, it’s really up to us to decide whether we can deal with it.
    I, atleast, try to avoid using the word. Instead, I might say, ‘corny’, ‘cutesy’, ‘mushy’, or simply ‘feminine’, depending upon the context.
    What d’you think?

    P.S.: I had a grilled cheese-capsicum sandwich for breakfast. 😉

  16. Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

    It is an ongoing source of endless grey hairs to realise how many people will have the vapours if you say “fuck” or “shit” but then will happily throw around “cocksucker” and “lame” without a single eyeblink. I think the whole conversation on profanity needs to move away from “obscenity” and towards “harmful” – marginalisation and dehumanising.
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