Defending the use of labels (aka adjectives)

10464169_10201853698937124_3923966816234564280_nI really feel like I shouldn’t have to justify this, but since it’s such a common argument that we-who-choose-to-use-labels come across on the internet, I figured it deserved some actual attention. Quick note: the labels that usually come under fire are ones specifically geared to describe gender and/or orientation.

It goes like this: “I don’t get why people are so obsessed with using all these labels. Why can’t you just be, like, a human being? Aren’t you just creating more division by making up all these categories? Blah blah blah, special snowflake, blah.” (I was going to add more to that, but it kinda sounds like that to me after a while. You get the point.)

Well, to start, it shouldn’t matter to you what language people use to describe themselves. If someone asks you to use certain pronouns or something, respect that. Apart from that, your involvement is not needed.

Here’s the main thing. To quote Anita Sarkeesian: “I know it sounds super basic — Comm Studies 101 – but having the language to name things in the world is really powerful.” Sarkeesian is talking about naming certain tropes in media, but it seemed like a statement which perfectly matches this argument. [Read more…]

Favorite Words

Lux, here!

I figured I could ease into blogging here by starting with random thoughts about language before hitting the big super complex gender stuff that’s also been floating around my brain. It’s an adventure!

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Lots of people have a favorite color, favorite song, favorite season, favorite holiday, etc. Being a nerd of many trades, I have a soft spot for words, syntax, and language in general. My favorite English words (being my native tongue) are: spontaneity, clever, and exacerbate.

Recently, I noticed I had the word “ameliorate” popping up in my head. The more I mulled it over and thought about the definition–laughing at myself because it’s the opposite of “exacerbate”–I realized that I like this word as much as the others and can consider it one of my favorites.

There’s not really a set standard for why anything becomes my “favorite” something. For words, it’s often a combination of liking the definition, the way the word expresses the definition, and the way the word sounds/feels phonetically. Oh, and there’s almost always a sentimental reason as well.

Spontaneity is my top favorite because it literally means “randomness”. It’s just a fancy-pants noun for “random”, which is an adjective I took to heart during some of my most formative personality-building years. It sounds awesome and it’s cool to say.

Clever is one of my favorites, to be completely honest, partially because the Doctor uses the term a lot. He says things are “brilliant” too, but it just doesn’t ring the same way for me. I’ve also been complimented as being “clever” and felt very flattered, so that probably factors in.

Exacerbate is on the list because it’s incredibly amusing to me. I first heard it on Shaun of the Dead, then almost immediately again while reading the book Eragon by Christopher Paolini. (Fucking excellent book series, if you don’t mind my saying.) I guess it just tickles me that a succinct word exists to describe making things worse.

Ameliorate mostly just sounds really cool and rolls off the tongue well. Plus, it ties in with the amusement from the previous word.

Am I just super weird for having favorite words? What are some of yours, if you have any? I’m normally not great at being active in the comment community, but I will try to do better so LET ‘ER RIP.