Categories
Gender/ sexuality Relationships/Friendship

Male/ female relationships after #MeToo and appropriate language

In light of the #MeToo movement and the proposed ‘sex ban’ by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, debates have been sparked over appropriate contact with colleagues. More specifically, the relations between men and women and how (or I guess, whether) platonic affection can be expressed between male and female colleagues.

This question was sparked in me last week when ai was listening to 2GB. Herald Sun columnist and Macquarie Radio presenter, Andrew Bolt was talking to The Australian’s Chris Kenny about Rita Panahi, who also writes for the Herald Sun. During the segment, Bolt stopped himself from referring to Panahi as ‘gorgeous’. His reason was caution and a warning from his wife.

To be honest, this is a bit sad. Nothing creepy was intended. Bolt (and Kenny) was trying to use ‘gorgeous to praise Panahi as a person and colleague. And she is gorgeous!

There are some words that probably should be said with care  and be used in certain contexts. ‘Sexy’ is probably one of them. Reserve that for partners and close friends that you know won’t take it the wrong way.

’Darl’/ ‘darling’ ‘sweetheart/ ‘sweetie’, go by the person. I personally love it when someone calls me ‘darling’. I always have. Makes me feel cared for, I guess.  ‘Sweetheart’ or ‘honey’ are probaly best left for loved ones and partners. It’s probably seen as inappropriate in some contexts, especially work.

 

 I think it’s sad that we’ve gotten to this point. Unfortunately, I think the Left have taken us, ironically, where the Right did fifteen or twenty years ago. Male/ female relationsships are automatically sexualised. Men are treated with suspicion and treated as they are sex maniacs just ready to jump every woman they see. The Right use to control women in a similar way; treating them as temptresses that can’t be trusted.

Enough!

No, not all men are creeps. Male and female friendships  can and should be able to flourish without fear and without an erotic cloud over their heads. Men and women should be able to be affectionate, say ‘I love you’, ‘beautiful’, etc, without any party being accused of being ‘creepy and the like. Again, I must empasise it’s context and intent. If you are close friends with someone, regardless of gender, and the person is OK with it, I think words they’re fine.

 

However, while we live in the times we do, there are other adjectives you can use. Here are a few (some of which are my favourtes).

Groovy

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(From GIF Keyboard)

Bees knees 

(Kath and Kim, anyone?)

Awesome or ‘awesome sauce’

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(Any Friends fans?)

Cool!

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We should tackle abuse and harassment. No doubt about it. And you should only say and do what people are comfortable with. But let’s not make a battle against harassment and abuse become a movement that silences or demonises people that shouldn’t be.

What terms of endearment or friendship do you like? Are there certain words you only accept from certain people? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
books Pop Culture

How BuzzFeed copy editor made me excited about writing

I have been reading the book A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in our Buzzfeed Age by Buzzfeed’s Copy Editor, Emmy Favilla. While it took me a while to read it (an understatement, to tell you the truth), I loved it. It made me even more excited about getting into the field of professional writing.

The book went through some history of the English language and what linguists had to say. Then it focused on how rapidly language is changing, especially in the age of the internet and social media (I thought about writing ‘Internet’, just then. That was one of the debates Favilla wrote about in the book. I’ll stick with ‘i’, I think).

Basically, there are a few rules, only preferences. Sure it has to make sense and no writer should be making typos right, left or centre if they’re serious and not a maniac (myself included). Consistency is key.

Of course, there are social norms one should consider, like inclusive language. I think Favilla went into overkill with this. Here’s the thing: I believe that if someone requests to be preferred to by a specific pronoun, including “they” or “ze”, by all means refer to the person by that pronoun. I don’t think you necessarily have to ‘eliminate’ gender altogether. If you really don’t know, then, if you can ask. In  a rare case, use gender neutral, but I don’t think you need to go overboard with it.

Another pet peeve I discovered I have while reading the book is drawn out sentences. I  realised this at the start. Hey, that’s fine for Favilla, I’m not knocking that. I just prefer shorter sentences— less than twenty – five words preferably. Definitely no more than thirty.

That aside, it was exciting to read about the evolution of the English language. I loved reading about the emoticons, and how far back they went, (right back to the 1980’s, apparently). Also, there’s debate about whether one of Abraham Lincoln’s written speeches included typos or a deliberate emoticon. In regard to emojis, I nominate the Ancient Egyptians as being the first to use them. 😛

Screenshot: Things have gone full circle over the past 4,000 years.

 

While language, particularly grammar has become a lot more relaxed over the years, Favila emphasised the need for the need for inclusive language and the importance in using appropriate terms for one’ gender or racial identity (particularly indigenous groups around the world). I’ll put my two cents in when it comes to gender: I believe you should refer to someone by the pronouns that a person prefers (including ‘they’ and ‘ze’/ ‘zir’).  Should it be something that a writer or anyone else needs to tie themselves in knots over with everyone they meet? No. I fear that we are making things too complicated. Be courteous. If you are asked to refer to someone using certain pronouns, use them. If not, my guess is what you see is what you get.

Another thing I found fascinating was the differences in British/ Australian and American English. Of course, there’s colour/ color, favour/ favor and Imperial vs Metric measurements (miles vs kilometres, etc). However, I didn’t know that the US has slightly different use of swear words and their offense levels than the UK and Australia. Who knew? (P.S. I’m not giving any examples here. Google them for yourself if you want to know).

A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age was a great read and offered great insights in the English language. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in language or it’s evolution.

Have you read A World Without Whom: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age? What did you think? Leave your thoughts below.

 

Categories
Culture Retail and Marketing

Amazon US pays no tax. Where is their competition

Last month, Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski exposed that the online store Amazon had not paid federal taxes in 2017. He also condemned how workers are treated.

I’ve bought CDs and books from Amazon. However, I haven’t for quite a few years. I think it’s appalling what Kulinski exposed about the company. I feel quite bad for praising them for attempting to set up store houses across Australia last year.

Here’s the thing: where is Amazon’s competition? What drew me to Amazon about eight or so years ago, (maybe longer), is that I was able to buy CDs that I couldn’t find in store. I was looking for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts CDs specifically at the time. Found three on Amazon. All my Christmases had come at once!

Top: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits, bottom left: Alice Cooper's Alice Goes to Hell and bottom right: Joan Jett and the Blackearts' Sinner
These albums I got from Amazon a few years ago. The Joan Jett ones I looked for ages in stores but couldn’t find them.
Left: Joan Jett "Bad Reputation", Right: Suzi Quatro Rock Hard
Two more albums from Amazon. Again, not available in traditional stores around me at the time (or now, for that matter).

A few weeks ago, I found Arch Enemy’s latest CD, Will to Power in Sanity in Lavington, New South Wales.  None of their earlier albums were there.

What about online? I looked at JB – HiFi online store. Only Will to Power and their 2016 Wacken album, As the Stages Burn was advertised. Sanity’s online store do have War Eternal on sale. Two Joan Jett CDs, are available on JB HiFi; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ Greatest Hits  and Up Your Alley, which is good, but what about Bad ReputationSinnner?

Rightly or wrongly, this is where Amazon has the upper hand, at least for CD sales.

So, what can be done? First, the US and Australian governments should crackdown on tax evasion, any employee exploitation and lack of satisfactory work conditions. From a consumer standpoint, there needs to be much better competition in both online and traditional stores. Stores should offer earlier popular albums from artists and bands as well as their latest. Also, a plea for stores (both online and traditional), please don’t exclude artists. Offer a whole range. Us Joan Jett fans are out there! Do the same for your online sales.

 

I guess people may think it doesn’t matter now that most music can be downloaded from iTunes or heard on Spotify. But, there have been news reports that even vinyl has made a comeback over the past couple of years. I’ve seen vinyl of contemporary albums being sold in JB – HiFi. But, again, the selection I saw was limited.

While I’m a bit of an iPad addict and was a chronic downloader of music when I first got it, I’ve started to miss listening to CDs. I also miss the anticipation of listening to a brand new one. I used to love getting CDs for Christmas, too. I used to almost flog the life out of them. I’d like to do that again someday. But I want to be able to do so ethically, knowing that the purchase doesn’t contribute to tax evasion or exploitation of workers. I also would also prefer not having to go from store to store finding the ones I want.

Do you buy CDs or vinyl or download your music on iTunes or another (legal) site? Let me know in the comments below.