I thought’ I’d make a post on bad words. Not the f-word kind, but on real foul language. Those who know me may already have heard my Saussurean perspective on language–That is, language as a set of signs (visual and phonetic symbols) that are empty until we organize them in meaningful ways. Actually, this isn’t just a casual perspective, but my belief because it follows logic–words are only seen as “bad” when we (society) decide on their connotations. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “bad” word. There are words. Words are either economical (productive) or destructive.
This is my list of destructive words–again, not the kind that make delicate ears blush but the kind whose very manifestations are like festering sores.
1. Natural: I cannot emphasize how much I detest this word and all its variants. This word has been used historically to justify the subjugation of other people. For example, at one point Black bodies–because they were larger and stronger than the bodies of white colonizers–were considered to be “naturally” designed for labor (enslavement). Nowadays, few people make essentializing claims between races, though I have heard a few that have left me wide-eyed: X* people are “naturally” corrupt; B-women are “naturally” hornier than C-women; Y people are “naturally” cleaner than Z people. I mean, we all joke around privately and are probably guilty of using stereotypes for a good laugh– but the disturbing part is when a person makes these statements wholeheartedly believing them.
Most recently, it is the gender/sex “natural” statements that irk me.
Women are “naturally” more emotional than men; Men are “naturally” more sexual than women; Men are “naturally” more rational than women; Women are “naturally” more talkative than men; Women are “naturally” more nurturing than men; Men are “naturally” made for the public sphere and women for the domestic sphere.
No, No, No, No and No.
Get your science straight, people! Men and women are both equally capable to being caring, nurturing, sexual and rational human beings; equally capable of sharing tasks and responsibilities. Honestly, I could care less how people/couples choose to organize their lives–whatever works for them. But please leave archaic “nature” arguments where they belong: in medieval science books.
2.Impossible. Yes, it is possible. We should never blame the things around us for our failures. It is up to us to work hard to achieve our goals; to possess the things we want; to make things happen. Yes, sometimes things are out of our control. If a blind man says he cannot see, it would be cruel to tell him he isn’t trying hard enough. There are some things that are out of our control. The problem is that we often pretend that situations are out of our grip when they are not. As a believing Muslim, I pray to God and I ask for help, but I will never ask God for something for which I am not prepared to meet Him halfway. I do believe that if I try my best, God will do the rest–and that is why I believe that nothing is impossible. 17 years ago, my father had his left leg amputated. Although wheelchair bound, I never heard my father say it was impossible to walk, work, drive, and do other things he wanted to do. The odds were against him, but he still made things happen. Why should we ever use our weaknesses as excuses to let ourselves and others down?
More Foul Language Is Coming Soon!
Feel free to add your own “bad” words to this list in the comment box below!