I was asked on Quora what I thought about common gender based slurs. Here is my answer.
What is your opinion on slurs like feminazi & autism being used harmful & the future consequences of that use? It have turned into a normal way of describing negatively & conversations quickly turns into hate on females & mental ill. It bothers me. I learned to not get emotionally affected, but i don’t wish others to “just learn to get less offended”. If we all do so, that could have negative outcome as well.
While there are women who use feminism as a tool to silence others. There are also people who use feminazi to silence women whose opinion they don’t like.
I think the problem is the silencing of dissent and our collective total unwillingness to listen to differing opinions.
We all do this because – at the end of the day – there is no polite way to say – not only do I not agree with you – I think your opinion is bat sh crazy!
Dr. Lieberman at MIT did a study on verbal bullying and found that 95% of verbal bullying was about 6 things (gender, attractiveness, intelligence, religion, race and ethnicity). What bullies do when they use terms in a denigrating way is to label the other person as other. As soon as someone is considered, not of our tribe but of the other tribe, their opinions no longer need to be considered as that person is no longer considered fully human – they are other.
In this context – I really dislike the use of these terms because it’s a way to avoid having important conversations and it’s a way to avoid learning. Are there people who use feminism as a weapon? Absolutely. But it is possible to acknowledge that without using slurs or using those slurs to silence women whose opinion certain people don’t want to hear.
This gets into the free speech issues we are having as a society. The reality is – we aren’t going to stop individuals who are angry at women using the slur to justify not listening to women who are being hurt. And we aren’t going to be able to stop women who use feminism as a weapon from doing so. But, we can view people who use these techniques and this sort of language to communicate their fears, insecurities and anger as what they are – people who are fearful, insecure and angry.