As if there aren’t enough important issues for women to be dealing with, it seems some women are going in search of slights. Previously, I wrote about a young lady in a tizzy about the word too, after somehow getting it into her head that it was an insult to women:
In my experience, I rarely hear too thrown around about men. You hear someone say, “He’s short,” but you seldom hear “too short.” I hear women and men alike each day describing women as too something. But what does it really mean when you call a woman too? I asked myself, “too what?” I have determined that too means you’re calling a woman too far away from your idyllic vision of what a woman should be.
Yeah okay, you can read my response here… anyway, now we have Jessica Ensley who refers to herself as a “feminist extraordinaire” telling us in a post on RHReality Check, that “…Gendered Language Teaches Us Women Are Objects To Be Controlled“. She writes:
The practice of using feminine pronouns (often in a sexually suggestive way) to refer to things such as tools, cars, and even boats is fairly common—so common that many people do not stop to question what they are actually saying, which is that women are objects. This underlying message in our language is reflective of how our society treats women…
… The words we use to describe objects helps us to understand how we actually feel about them. I grew up around men who loved fast cars. They liked to fix them up and race them at a local track. It wasn’t uncommon to hear “I’ve got to polish her up,” and, “Look at how beautiful she is; she’s just begging to be taken for a spin.” Not only were they talking about an inanimate object as being female, but they talked about the car as if it were something to have sex with. The car, like a woman, is something to be owned and controlled by men. The car (woman) has no autonomy. It (she) does not get to decide what happens to it (her).
There was a television show dedicated to “pimping your ride.” At car shows where people go to buy, sell or oogle (sic) at various vehicles, women are shown standing in front of them with barely any clothes as if they are another pretty car to buy and own…
… Our language clearly reflects a larger issue. Women are seen as objects to be controlled, bought, driven, or used. While this reclaiming of our bodies must be fought on multiple fronts, we also should push back to make our language more inclusive…
Seriously, is any woman losing sleep this? I’ve used male and female pronouns my whole life. I call my truck “her” and “she” with never a thought of “owning women”. I often refer to trees I plant as he, which doesn’t imply men that are dumb as a stump, either. Ms. Ensley continues:
Gendering objects not only harmfully impacts cisgender women, but also transgender and gender-nonconforming people, individuals with a gender identity and expression that fits outside of the gender binary. Yet we live in a world where people assume objects, from modes of transportation to pets, work within a gender binary, thus reinforcing it.
Sorry, but I’m calling bullshit. We cannot run around editing the English language to remove words we’ve trumped up phony grievances with. Men call cars “her or she” because cars are sexy to guys (and quite a few women, too); if anything, it’s meant as a compliment. Who cares? Who has time to spend parsing every little word or phrase people use? We live in a world with hers and shes, and hims and hes; equality does not require androgyny in language or people.
On a final note, I’ve mentioned before that we’re only seen as objects if that’s how we put ourselves out there, so blame your fellow women for that. The truth is, there will always be women like those car models, who are glad to be treated as second class citizens if there’s enough money involved.