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What makes a word a slur? — language: a feminist guide

I would find this post a lot more engaging if the author left comments open, so that people could have a respectful debate. It wasn’t a case of closing comments after a disrepectful debate – there’s just no comments at all.

It’s a good article on dissecting when is a term a slur or a descriptive term, but I do disagree with the author’s conclusions.

Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, or TERFs, are a distinct group of people (and frequently intersect as Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminists or SWERFs.) These are people who believe that feminism is only for women, and ‘woman’ is defined by biology; or have a belief that there is no form of sex work that can be consensual because any form of sex work is inherently violent.

I strongly disagree with both propositions.

Put it this way: the people who get offended about the term TERF or SWERF are people being described as TERF or SWERF. Other feminists, and people who do not identify as feminists, don’t find the terms offensive – they find the term descriptive, as it conveniently summarises a wide spectrum of arguments that typify some parts of radical feminism.

Do we define a description as a slur simply because the person to whom that description applies doesn’t like being described in that way? Does this mean that when we describe Eddie McGuire as a person who habitually says or does things that are racist or misogynist, that we’re offending McGuire and his fans by calling him racist or misogynist? Because that is more or less the equivalent to “TERFs don’t like being called TERFs so therefore it’s a slur.”

So… worth reading, but respectfully: no.

Content note: this post contains examples of offensive slur-terms. Last week, the British edition of Glamour magazine published a column in which Juno Dawson used the term ‘TERF’ to describe feminists (the example she named was Germaine Greer) who ‘steadfastly believe that me—and other trans women—are not women’. When some readers complained about the use […]

via What makes a word a slur? — language: a feminist guide