The Subjectivity of Shaming

“There are three types of truth: your truth, my truth, and the truth.”

(Apologies for the large number of questions I pose in this piece.)

enhanced-buzz-25910-1355782584-1

From Nice Guys of OKCupid

Ever since I read Clementine Ford’s piece on The Daily Life (cracking start to the year by the way) I’ve been pondering on this shaming business. For those of you who are into the whole brevity thing, the skinny of the piece is that it is a brief exploration of the Nice Guys of OKCupid tumblr that has recently been put out to pasture. She does a really good job of personifying these Nice Guys (as opposed to some commentators who like to view offensive men not as actually human beings with thoughts and emotions, but rather more akin to single-celled gametes blindly trying to bump uglies in a petrie dish), and it was that that especially got me thinking. Continue reading

Advertisements

What’s in a word?

I was listening to a years-old Big Ideas the other day, featuring Sheila Jeffreys, radical feminist, professor, and author, and Robbie Swan, founder of the Eros Association, officer of the political Australian Sex Party, and pornography producer.

Predictably, the debate was quite robust. Robust in an intelligent way, not the “robust” debates of parliament that George Brandis speaks so fondly of – grown adults, who are presumably smart, guffawing and carrying on like pork-chops. This was a good debate, both sides presenting some good arguments – as well as a healthy amount of bullshit – while remaining largely civil with each other. I had only heard about Jeffreys from reputation – which isn’t the best – and have yet to read any of her work, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear she wasn’t the misandrist radical that she has been made out to be. At any rate, I will find out next year when I take Sexual Politics at Melbourne Uni, a unit she has presided over for as long as I’ve been hearing her name.

All of this is a rather long and digressive way of getting to the fact that during the debate, Jeffreys mentioned the (well-worn) fact that the word “pornography” comes from the Greek meaning “writing about prostitutes”. (Except, to be accurate, what she actually said was that it meant “writing about whores”, which I think was her way of surreptitiously making everything seem that little bit more negative.)

I had read this before, but thought little of the fact. Etymology interests me in so far that it maps the incredible evolution that language takes. But I don’t feel like there needs to be any great connection between a word’s origin and its common usage today, nor how that word is understood and interpreted by those who utter it. Continue reading