Thursday, September 18, 2014

The shame of manguage

During last Thursday night's telecast of the Steelers-Ravens game, CBS sportscaster James Brown addressed the NFL's recent scandal in handling Ray Rice's domestic-violence video. And by "addressed," I mean, "crushed it." Slate has it here.

What I like most about JB's short piece (and there's so much to like) is that he touched on how men often use feminine language to convey weakness and intimidation. I remember hating this as early as high school, where seemingly every tough guy would tell you not to be a pussy or a bitch, or not to get your panties in a bunch. Or they'd urge you not to throw like a girl. Considering that my cousin was one of the top softball pitchers in the state, I could only dream of throwing like her.

Still, sometimes I'd catch myself using that language. It didn't come as easily to me as those who thought nothing of plastering it on their pickup trucks, but it would creep out from time to time, subconsciously.

But the wrongness of it really hit home for me in college, when I knew a guy whose highest form of insult was, "You're worse than a woman." Most of my best friends at the time were women, so I'd think, "What's wrong with being a woman?"

I never have gotten my answer. Even if you go with the stereotype of women as overly emotional and irrational, well, that's nonsensical because plenty of men fit that description. Including the ones who say things like that. And definitely any "man" who acts like Ray Rice.

No comments: