*Blog Series: Words Matter (Post 3)
Adults get very emotional about language: tone, intention, attitude, inflection, even method of communication (email, text, phone, meeting, tweet, etc.) and the mode of delivery (in a group, in a comment field on social media, in private, reply all, etc.) Who's included or not included to hear (or know) what's being said can also have an impact . . . but, regardless of the actual language spoken, it is often the words themselves that carry the true power.
As I mentioned in Post #1 in this blog series, "jargon junk" is what colors the words - albeit, favorably or unfavorably - giving them power or minimizing the power they already have.
In this blog-post, I simply want to do my part as a community member, a Eurekan, a human resources professional, and a kind-hearted human being to simply share this information with you.
It is 2023 and times are different. The words we use are different. How people speak to each other now is different.
This isn't rose-colored. This is real life. Evolution and change is real and expected, yet, people continue to resist and hold on to what's safe, what's known, what's always been understood and what we continue to believe.
I truly hope that, like me, you learn something from this information. In the depths of my research, I certainly did.
"People often disrespect others when they don't fully understand. I hope that this blog-series, WORDS MATTER, fosters both understanding and respect for all."
Misogyny refers to the deep-rooted prejudice, discrimination, or hatred directed towards women or girls. This term highlights the significance of acknowledging and addressing gender-based inequalities, promoting equality, and creating a more inclusive society for all genders.
Prejudice against women has been assumed as a cultural norm on a global scale throughout history but often not been recognized. In my life's work, and in my life, I seek to end misogyny and fight for gender justice and equality for all.
Undertaking an activity for a practical purpose or end goal, rather than for its own intrinsic value.
Instrumentalism pertains to the view that individuals or groups are valued primarily for their usefulness or the benefits they provide, rather than for their inherent worth as human beings. Recognizing the concept of instrumentalism allows us to question societal norms and challenge the objectification of individuals solely based on their utility.
As an example, framing work towards women’s economic justice through the lens that it will lead to wider economic growth is often presented to the private sector as the ‘business case’ for undertaking it. I recall multiple times in my career as an HR professional where I've been asked to create a business case for framing a program to promote "Women in Leadership" to promote how focused the company is on women's issues, needs and even, "the glass ceiling."
I believe that programs of this nature risk undermining women’s agency and the social justice approach. It is better to frame women’s economic justice and sustainable business practices as mutually supportive, rather than that they will definitively lead to business profitability or that this is the primary goal.
It's a much better approach for company's to train professionals better. Teach them the value of fully unbiased interviews and focus on the person's talent and capabilities and not their gender.
Gone are the days of referring to someone as a spokesman.
Instead, a spokesperson is someone (any gender) who represents or speaks on behalf of a group, organization, or cause. This term emphasizes the importance of having individuals who can effectively communicate the values, perspectives, and needs of a particular group, providing them with a voice and a platform to be heard.
A spokesperson could be of any gender. We should avoid language that implies that men are the default human.
Deadnaming refers to the act of using someone's birth or previous name, particularly in the context of transgender individuals. This term highlights the significance of respecting a person's chosen name and identity, as deadnaming can be invalidating and perpetuate discrimination against transgender individuals.
One of the most public transgender celebrities is Caitlyn Jenner. The reason I chose Caitlyn as an example for this powerful word - deadnaming - is because this particular human being lived an early life-chapter as Bruce Jenner and now as Caitlyn Jenner. Both Jenners are very famous and highly identifiable to nearly everyone because of the intense visibility in the media.
If you met Caitlyn in person and walked up and said, "Hello, it's nice to meet you, Bruce" you just disrespected Caitlyn by using the deadname.
By understanding and using these terms, we can foster conversations that promote equality, respect, and empathy, ultimately working towards a more inclusive and harmonious society for all individuals, regardless of gender, identity, or background.
There is so much more to cover in this blog-series, so please check back for Post #4 - our final post in this series.
In Post #1, we focused on LGBTQIA+ and in Post #2, we focused on people with disabilities and of different ages, In Post #3, we gave the spotlight to women and transgender people.
When I think of other powerful words that need more understanding by many, words like: cis-normative, pro-choice, illegal migrants, and so much more come to mind and will receive their attention in the final post (#4) of this blog-series.
Social change by its very nature is disruptive. Please join me in this journey as we seek to learn and understand things better in order to properly disrupt the comfort of the status quo in the hope of dismantling oppressive structures that do not create pathways to equality.
Learning new (disruptive) information can be a very challenging process but it is necessary to understand how power works within and beyond our words.
Words matter and I will personally forever endeavor to seek out ways where I can improve and harness the language I use in more productive, effective, empathetic ways when connecting with other human beings. Doing so is an expression of love. ❤️