word destruction

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I’ve been using a shampoo that includes a “New Hydra-Plex Formula” according to the label. This could result in my head looking like a hydra of the anemone type or the Greek mythological type. Either one will make for an interesting cranium topping. Consider yourself warned.

While on this subject, I want to make clear once again that “shampoo” is one of the worst words in the English language, being composed of “sham” and “poo.”

Another word that I hate is “tummy” when referencing the stomachs of adult women. I frequently see this in advertisements. It’s rarely applied to men, but women are expected to be childlike instead of mature humans. What about “panties”? It’s a diminutive baby-talk word reserved for women’s clothes, like “onesies” are reserved for babies. That may sound trivial, but kids and teens get this stuff drilled into their heads.

Arrgh. One more before my hydra-head explodes. This is not a particular word, but word usage. There are still news outlets that will describe a politician, doctor, teacher, etc., as a “tall, red-headed, mother of three,” if a woman, but a man will rarely get a mention of hair color or children. Why? Or someone will be described as a “woman plumber,” for example, due to the sheer novelty and amazement that a woman is a plumber, I guess, even if gender is not at all germane to the story. I said I’d stop earlier. Hydra tentacles are flying into the air!

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5 thoughts on “word destruction

  1. Language and its connotations offer real insight into what the majority of people really think… no matter how they are pressed to think otherwise. Usually it’s because the person’s experiences don’t reflect what they are being ‘pressed’ to think. For example, women’s undergarments are on the whole much more ‘flimsy’, and it is still odd to run into a woman plumber. Even if you were to somehow make it a law that the word panties was to be outlawed – my money would be on women’s underwear still looking about the same, because women on the whole like them that way.

    • dangblog

      Thanks for the opportunity to talk more about underwear! I’m trying to follow your comments and getting lost. You seem to think I’m arguing for undergarments to be constructed differently. No. I’m only talking about names that irritate me. Whether they look “flimsy” has little bearing on my point. For example, I think boxer shorts are flimsier than briefs, but we don’t call them “boxies.” On the other hand, “onsies” are extremely durable, but they get the cutesy name. You see? It’s the name, not the physical construction.

      As to the “woman plumber” subject, maybe a different slant on this would make it clearer. A similar usage would be a newspaper story that says, “Mr. Smith made an appointment with his doctor, who is a Muslim.” Unless religion has some bearing on the story being told, why insert this detail? Doesn’t belong in the story. Neither does “woman plumber.” It’s bad writing.

  2. Well… here’s my pushback. In our modern world where the ‘butterfly effect’ reigns, everything is important. You are saying it’s bad writing when it’s off point. I’m saying “Who’s point?” According to the experience (reality), the sex of the plumber is significant because that’s what it was. You are demanding tighter editorial constraints.
    P.S. I would really like to see the woman plummer and the panties if you could include photos… please?

  3. Aside from the P.S., I have no idea what you’re saying. I try to be as clear as I can, but you come back with vague stuff that reminds me of your “cat’s cradle of truth.”

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