Friday fluff: The forbidden tongue

Apparently, Randy Michaels, the CEO of Tribune Co. here in Chicago, has issued a list to the reporters on WGN, our local public radio station, containing words and phrases they must no longer speak on air. These are not dirty words, a la George Carlin, but words that sound like “newsspeak” (according to WGN news director Charlie Meyerson, who passed along the list to the article’s author). Presumably, this means sounding too much like a cliched newscaster and is not to be confused with cracking down on thoughtcrime. Some of the phrases listed probably do deserve to be retired as outworn cliches: giving 110%; mother of all (anything); senseless murder. Some of them, though, seem designed to make a reporter’s life a lot more difficult: how are you supposed to report one of those senseless murders without using the word “alleged”?

All this makes me feel a little dictatorial myself. I propose that we make a list of words and phrases that should be verboten in reporting about women’s issues, starting with the phrase “women’s issues.” Here’s a few to start our list:

  • Sex and The City references
  • reference to shoes when the article is not about shoes
  • spinster

What would you add?

268 thoughts on “Friday fluff: The forbidden tongue

  1. Unless you’re writing an article about the latest advances in holographs, the phrase “real women” needs to go away.

  2. – Supermom
    — describing the appearance/attractiveness of women in articles about their careers (with a few obvious exceptions such as an analysis of how women are treated in the workplace based on appearance/dress/makeup.)
    — “girl” used on any women over the age of 18 (unless self-referential)

    That list is…impressive. Is he banning just the use of the word “pedestrian” to mean “boring”? If not, how else is one supposed to refer to foot-travelers?

  3. Anything that mentions hormones as if they only exist in one half of the population for one week in four, instead of pumping around every human being’s body all the damn time.

  4. Gal. I really just dislike the word, and want it to end. Like the term gal-pal.

    Any mention to her relationship status unless it is appropriate. I loathe reading or hearing “Succesful (single/married/divorced) woman Jane Doe” Why is her relationship status relevant to her having a rocking career, or being a criminal, or winning the lottory, or wevs?

    The term housewife. Kind of odd, since HouseWife is the hw in hw2k, but in news reporting, stay at home, work at home, student, etc moms being referred to as housewives rubs me the wrong way.

  5. Anything having to do with evolutionary psych. You now, stuff about how men are *programmed* to fuck every woman and how women are *programmed* to want babies. That shit is just plain sexist and heteronormative, and justifies rape culture.

  6. (brand brand new here, just found your blog this week and have been staying up very late at night to read old entries and comments. I *definitely* have disordered eating, and have had binge cycles mixed with calorie restriction diets for about 15 years, and up until this week thought that hating my body and judging my intake of “good” vs. “bad” foods was completely normal. thank the gods for this site, you have no idea!! and now that the introduction is over, here’s my input on the actual topic!)

    How about getting rid of any “women can’t be tech-y or hook up the TV” “jokes”. Because, come on.

  7. Relegating stories of violence and abuse to the Style sections.
    Referring to said violence and abuse with any of the following phrases: “sex with” “stormy relationship” “sexual relations” “domestic dispute” “turbulent romance” “seduction/seducing” .
    Describing such incidents in the past-perfect to dilute that there was a (male) agent who committed acts of violence and/or abuse.

    Sorry, that wasn’t very fluffy.

    More fluffy:
    “boyfriend” will no longer be used as an adjective to describe loose-fit cuts.

  8. -Anything that implies women expect men to provide them with gifts, meals, etc, in exchange for which women will offer men sex.

    In the wake of (unless it’s a boating story) is my favorite item on that list.

  9. Here’s a list off the top of my head:

    1) Soccer Mom
    2) I’m a mom
    3) Mom Jeans
    4) The phrase “tip(ped/ping) the scales” (Never! Again!)
    5) Matronly to describe frumpy/excessively demure clothing. Or at all, really.
    6) Bingo Wings
    7) Cankles
    8) Muffin Top
    9) Camel Toe (6-9 are disgusting. though when a man has camel toe, I Love to point it out…hm.)
    10) Ach! I can’t make it to 10!

  10. I wouldn’t ban words, but I would ban journalists from always describing a women’s appearance and weight even when it has nothing to do with the article’s point. It’s not only distracting, but also limiting and confines us to nothing but a shape that does or does not meet approval. If a woman were defusing a bomb that threatened the safety of the world, it would still say “Her dark hair shone as she struggled, and as her matronly arms fought against the clock, her short compact frame was tense with focus.” It really pisses me off.
    I’d also like journalists to stop reporting in minute details exactly what the women they are interviewing eat and drink during an interview. “Helena Bonham Carter paused to take a sip of apple juice , and had also ordered a Skinny Latte.” It makes me think that most women journalists are utterly neurotic, as they can focus on crap like that and only half catch what a woman is actually saying. GGAAHHHH!!!
    Also, (excuse me while I rant), I think there is way too much focus on if a woman has had children or not. A woman may have singlehandedly achieved greatness, but might still be referred to as “childless.” And the great achievement will be weighed up against that status.It’s as though the jornalist is saying “Ah well, I could have climbed Everest in a pair of heels and a Diving Suit if I didnt have children,” or the reverse.

  11. Rebecca, I have never heard of Bingo Wings* before, but it makes me think of eating chicken wings at bingo, which actually sounds kind of awesome. Add a beer to that and I’m in!

    *I’m assuming it means something to do with upper arms, though. boo!

  12. I’ve thought of a word Iwould ban. I would ban “ballooning”, or “ballooned” when referering to someone’s weight gain , especially when it’s a tiny weight gain, which it ALWAYS is. A celebrity might have “ballooned up to 140lbs.”, this is shite of the highest order, and must piss all the readers off.

  13. DRST – THAT was the one I was blanking on! ARRGGGHHH I hatehatehate “attempted sex”. Unless, of course it is being accurately used in communication to/from a qualified person regarding a point of actual sexual confusion or dysfunction.

  14. Camel toe alternative that is particularly descriptive on males = Moose knuckle

    I’d ban that thing where they list everyone’s age in parenteses after their name when age has no relevance to the story. They only ever provide a “huh” moment that doesn’t actually have to do with the story, especially when it comes to celebrities.

  15. Any generalizations about women and sex, unless they are talking sociologically (“women tend to be conditioned to be less vocal about sex and are therefore not always in touch with their own prefs,” for example). Hell, any generalization ever.

  16. paintmonkey, I totally agree with you about the unnecessary description of the anatomy of women in articles/news pieces. I always see it in articles on celebrities. In an article on a female celeb, her physical body is always mentioned (“Female Celeb A’s diminutive frame, waif-like body, luscious curves, etc., etc., etc.”) and I mean publications like Rolling Stone, not just “lady” mags like Cosmo, whereas the anatomy of male celebs is rarely/never mentioned. Reporters may comment on a famous man’s hair or perhaps on what he’s wearing although neither happens very often.

    Writing about a female celeb’s body can’t be to give readers a more descriptive mental image of the article’s subject, we already know what these people look like, they’re celebrities! Not to mention the fact that articles on celebrities always include photos of their subjects. Gosh I wonder why then reporters would take the trouble to mention these women’s bodies? Hmm….

  17. Paintmonkey, YES!! I read something the other day where they were talking about an actress who is doing one of the weightloss shows, and how she ‘ballooned up to(some weight)” which was a whopping 15 pounds from where she was ten uears ago.
    umm….no
    Fifteen pounds over ten years hardly constitutes ballooning
    no….people gain weight, over time, they do not inflate like a baloon, as made evidenced by out not flying around a room, deflating, and making a phphphphpllllbbbbtttt noise when poked with a pin.

  18. I can’t wrap my mind around how “some” could be used to mean “about.”

    All those articles about how women can’t find a man to marry because there aren’t enough men in college/women are too picky/men are immature boy-children who flee commitment/women have the wrong priorities/men can’t handle women with jobs or interests/women are too uppity probably can’t be saved with any kind of phrasing.
    Ditto the articles about how there aren’t enough white babies.

    I suggest that all such articles be replaced with a giant “OH NOEZ!” in 72 point font or more, with the author choosing between a blinking effect or a rainbow marquis.

    I’d also get rid of the phrase “half her size!” referring to weight loss. And “sensible diet” which is hopelessly vague, and implies an insensible or nonsensical diet. (A diet of cabbage, thumbtacks, and whipped cream? Of inspiration, beef stir fry, and adverbs? Of samwishes and mumblegrumble?).

  19. A diet of cabbage, thumbtacks, and whipped cream?

    Dearest Puffalo – You made my entire day with your Nonsensical Diet (including thumbtacks!). Thank you.

  20. A diet of cabbage, thumbtacks, and whipped cream? Of inspiration, beef stir fry, and adverbs? Of samwishes and mumblegrumble?

    All of this fulfills my daily requirement of awesome.

  21. I can’t wrap my mind around how “some” could be used to mean “about.”

    I assume as in, “Some 200 protesters gathered on the mall today…” Took me a minute, though.

  22. Feisty, spunky, plucky, and all other words that are really more appropriate for describing Yorkshire Terriers.

    While we’ve already agreed that irrelevant physical descriptions are out, I’d like to especially ban hair colours as nouns. For example, “The feisty redhead.”

    And while we’re at it, let’s also get rid of shrill and strident.

  23. Please ban Paris, Heidi, Lindsay and Brittany.
    We are all dumber for having any of that business listed as ‘news coverage’.
    They are a large part of my defection to BBC World News.

  24. Oh, and another one related to fat but also used disproportionately if not exclusively about women…can we not hear about how someone “turned” to junk food, or “comforted herself with food” etc. after a breakup, death in the family, or job setback (and is now OMGFATZ). Food keeps us alive, people! I don’t read weight-loss articles or magazines anymore but I’m surprised how much this one sneaks into articles that aren’t supposed to be about that.

  25. Rebecca’s list pretty much covered everything for me! I would add the phrase ‘sexual assault’. Why not just call it rape…since that’s what it is? Oh and all of the motherfucking commercials that equate meat with manliness and meat eating women as sexpot ‘real women’.
    My final complaint is less TV related but no less irritating. I want it to end, like, NOW. If I have to deal with one more person referring to a group collectively as ‘guys’ I might hurt them. It happens all the time at restaurants. That pisses me off to no end. I am a woman. My partner is a woman. My friends are mostly women. And my parents and grandparents deserve more respect than a whippersnapper talking to them like they’re teenagers. GAH!!!!

  26. To go along with Moosemuse’s baby bump – baby mama/daddy.

    Plus combining names: Brangelina, Bennifer, KStew – is it so hard to say their names?

    Yes, I read too many celebrity gossip sites…

  27. Anything referring to retail therapy.

    Anything referring to how women get “emotional” or “hormonal” and must consume mass quantities of chocolates to make us feel better.

    I would also like ALL of these rules applied to the greeting card industry! Have you ever noticed how hard it is to buy a greeting card for a woman that doesn’t mention shopping, shoes, eating too much or allowing oneself to eat a lot due to a special occasion? I hate that.

  28. 1. Biological clock
    2. “Snagging” or “landing” a man/husband
    3. PMS, because 99% of people don’t use it correctly or even know what it means

  29. ditto to all of the above
    “Mommy Wars”
    Any other attempts to sensationalize an article/gain readership by seemingly pitting groups of women against each other rather than just discuss the issues at hand (e.g. mommy wars, 2008 democratic primaries, discussions of 2nd and 3rd wave feminism)

  30. [Trigger warning]

    Rebecca’s list pretty much covered everything for me! I would add the phrase ’sexual assault’. Why not just call it rape…since that’s what it is?

    I agree, but sometimes I think they try to soften the idea so it’s not as traumatic for victims to hear the word. I also don’t like it when people use “get raped” as a verb with the victim as the subject, rather than giving credit where it’s due, to the rapist. For example, saying that “She got raped by a classmate” or “Even women in burqas still get raped”. I’d rather hear it the other way around like “He raped his classmate” or “Rapists will even target women who wear burqas”. I think people do it the other way around to try to soften the impact, and I respect that when talking about individual cases, and I would never criticize a victim’s choice of describing their own experience. But rape is a terrible crime and I don’t think we should sugar-coat it during general discussions unless we have a good reason to.

  31. I’m so sick of reading “but her greatest (most demanding, most rewarding, etc) role is Mom.” Never again, unless the story is about an actress who is actually playing a character named “Mom” .

    Discussions of what female politicians wear have got to go, too. those make me very stabby.

  32. I would like to never again hear the phrase “problem areas.” Those arms, thighs, etc. are part of my body, not part of my problems!

  33. I also dislike the generalization of woman + stress/hormones = OMG chocolate!

    I would also like to see the term MILF go away. Forever. Along with cougar.

  34. Sarah: Bingo wings: women who work lots lifting saucepans, laundry and children for years develop big muscles on their upper arms, and then when their children are adults and they can stop working so hard and instead go out and play bingo with their friends, the muscles go all floppy. It belittles working class women’s physical labour, as well as older women and women in general.

    In general: Unless a woman’s children are DIRECTLY INVOLVED in her news story, leave them out. So a mother of three did something, or someone did something to a mother of three, like she’s not a person in her own right? Mothers are NOT getting any benefits from the frackin pedestal so stop milking it. Argh.

    My other one is “women’s issues,” of course, as I tweeted yesterday evening…Women’s. Issues. Affect. More than 50%. Of the FUCKING POPULATION. They are NOT TRIVIAL. You fuckers.

  35. Any and all cutesy, infantile terms for character, behavior, anatomy, and biological processes. Which y’all have pretty much covered already, what with ‘muffin top,’ ‘baby bump,’ ‘baby daddy,’ ‘spunky,’ and so on.

    References to the couple as pregnant, when only one partner actually is.

    Use of the term ‘hero’ or ‘heroic’ for people who are not, but are rather responsible, kind, generous, loving, dutiful, stoic, dependable, honest or tough as nails. Because I think all of these, all of the thousand thousand everyday virtues, should be more highly valued than they are, and I know damned well they’re far more common than mainstream media would have us believe.

  36. What each of you has said (hooray, Paintmonkey and macktivist!), and:
    (1) Chick lit
    (2) Chick flick
    (3) “Working” mothers vs ‘SAHM”s
    (4) Celebrity weight loss / gain as super-newsworthy information. IT. IS. NOT.
    (5) How we must shop/cry/eat vast quantities of Ben & Jerry’s/cling to the nearest man for emotional stability
    (6) any “valid” concerns about women in leadership positions, particularly the presidency of the country, BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN WITH MENSTRUAL CYCLES, WHICH WILL CAUSE THEM TO MAKE RASH MILITARY DECISIONS AND OMGZ NEXT THING YA KNOW…NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST! (makes me think of the movie Anchorman– “Bears can smell the menstruation!!!”)
    (7) references to women wanting or needing sex less than men– I have always hated this, I love sex.

  37. Sorry, one more and I will STFU.

    Any description of how a single and/or childless woman “filled her life” or “filled her time” with something other than a husband/babies, implying that her life is really “empty” without a husband and/or babies and whatever she’s doing is a poor substitute.

  38. fatsmartchick: um, because not all sexual assault is rape? Sexual assault applies to all kinds of unconsented-to sexual contact, and while it is somewhat pointless to argue about exactly what people mean by sex and therefore what constitutes rape, there are definitely plenty of cases for which the word “sexual assault” is useful – for example, groping on the subway.

    I have been sexually assaulted. I have not been raped. It is important for me to be able to talk about this.

  39. @Emily I don’t think she was meaning to say that sexual assault does not exist, moreso that the media tends to use sexual assault for most cases, when in some, the word rape would be much more correct for the alleged actions.

    I would like to ban the phrase “suicide bomber”

  40. Any description of how a single and/or childless woman “filled her life” or “filled her time” with something other than a husband/babies, implying that her life is really “empty” without a husband and/or babies and whatever she’s doing is a poor substitute.

    Seriously, though moms themselves would have to take the first step. I hear this more often from other women than I do in the media.

  41. How about the term “Mommy” (and any reference to the “Mommy Wars” at that). Most people reading news stories are not five year olds. I have no issues with my toddler calling me “Mommy” but I’d prefer to be referred to as a “mother” IF IT’S RELEVANT.

  42. Rebecca’s 9) Camel Toe (6-9 are disgusting. though when a man has camel toe, I Love to point it out…hm.)

    Another term for this is “lobster claw.”

  43. “Getting your body back” after pregnancy. Back from whom?

    “Letting yourself go,” unless it’s in a freewheeling Ginger Rogers dance number way.

  44. Everyone’s covered the language very well (especially what catgirl said about the passive voice!!!) so I’d just like to ban newspapers and news organizations from sticking most articles about women in the fucking “Style” section. Yes if it’s about the latest Manolo design, NO NO NO if it’s about women’s actual frickin’ lives.

    And when I want to read about a celebrity, I buy a celebrity rag or go to a celebrity news site. Unless one of them does something actually, you know, newsworthy, leave these people alone. I might want Angelina Jolie to knock on my door wearing nothing but a trench coat, but I respect her right to go about her life and raise her kids in privacy.

  45. “I’m JUST CONCERNED about her HEALTH!!!”

    *stabbity* *stabbity* *stabbity* *stabbity* *stabbity*

  46. I would like to ban articles about women and sex written in a tone which leads the reader to believe that the sex described in the article is amazing, astonishing, astounding, and somehow completely different from the sex everyone else enjoys.

  47. I think most of you have already mentioned most of the things that bother me. What bothers me most is the way a woman’s appearance, marital status, and children or lack of them always takes precedence. They can never just write an article or interview a woman about her achievements the way they do when interviewing men.

    I can’t wait for people to stop saying baby bump and vajayjay. I don’t know how those terms got started but I can’t wait for them to go out of style.

  48. I would ban the compulsory femininity paragraphs in every article about women who have achieve athletically, politically, or corporately. We are told in the second paragraph of each one that some kickass Olympic rifler giggled or made reference to herself as a girly girl or swooned over some Twilight star. Because ladies must be ladies!

  49. How about the old standby “lady-like”. When i hear someone say that I cringe, especially when used to mean not clumsy.

  50. Oh, my , dear, sweet, holy, mother, of, all, creation…..where do I start?
    1. Cougar. I’m in the Certain Age bracket. Puh-LEEZE!!
    2. Gasping at weight gain. Goes double if the subject in question ballooned up to 150.
    3. Over cutesy references to baby bumps et al.
    4. Anything related to “Sex and the City.” That reflects my life the way any mirror reflects a vampire.
    5. And if anyone living in Chicago wants to time out Pat Tomasulo of WGN-TV sports, please do. I caught a secondhand account of him doing a “humor” segment where he was walking up to people and asking them questions such as “How have erectile dysfunction drugs impacted your life?” and walking up to a woman who according to the DH was not of Hollywood standards and asking when the baby was due. (I didn’t see this personally–you know the kitten frosting for the baby flavored donuts is a bit complicated ;)

  51. Anything referring to weight loss where they describe the amount of weight lost with respect to the number/age of other human being(s) it would constitute. As in, “Due to hard work and willpower, X lost 160 pounds — that’s enough to be a whole other person!” That phrasing has always struck me as really weird.

    I also really, really love the Nonsensical Diet.

  52. Also, leaping on Fran’s bandwagon –

    Not only do they balloon, they balloon up to a whopping X# of pounds.

    I ask you, fellow Shapelings –

    at what point does a number begin to “whop”?

  53. [Not using the phrase “attempted sex”] Unless, of course it is being accurately used in communication to/from a qualified person regarding a point of actual sexual confusion or dysfunction.

    Can it also be used if both people involved wanted there to be sex, but were interrupted, particularly in some bizarre or humorous fashion? (I know, this is less news and more Cosmo, unless a trip to the hospital results.)

    As in “There was attempted sex but no actual sex–something about a cat jumping on the bed and digging claws into your bare butt is kind of a mood-killer.”

  54. I’m with Coco, Puffalo just did what I thought was impossible today, made me laugh through my tears. Thank you!

    Thumbtacks indeed…everyone knows their called pushpins, LOL.

  55. Thanks for the link, Sweet Machine!

    My vote’s for “having it all”, which is an attempt to convince middle class women that the combination of fulfilling, reasonably paid employment AND some semblance of family life is a hopelessly optimistic pipe-dream from marshmallow sparkle planet, rather than what middle class men have always had and still mostly expect. While distracting us from the fact that non-middle-class people aren’t allowed either.

  56. Any article on “spicing up” your sex life that reminds a woman that she’s responsible for the “spice” going out of the relationship in the first place, and contains a list of ways that she should change herself/her sexuality to bring the “spark” back to her relationship. Oh, wait, that’s ALL articles about spicing up your sex life. Blergh.

  57. AnotherKate: wholeheartedly agree! Stupid articles seriously warped my already screwy view of women and sexuality for a lot of years.

  58. Adding to Ailbhe, I would like women’s husbands to be left out of news stories unless directly related.

  59. About the term “sexual assault:” I actually approve of this one. (I was sexually assaulted. I was not raped, technically. There was no penetration.) Some criminal laws have degrees of sexual assault. I think there’s some value in showing that rape is the same sort of offense as other kinds of sexual assault, that the important distinctions aren’t between penetration and other kinds of violation, but what kind of force, threats, injuries, intimidation, and power dynamics are involved. It makes sense for a news story to say, “so-and-so has been charged with sexually assaulting his estranged wife, and with assaulting her with a deadly weapon.” The legal terms don’t sound soft, to me.

  60. ANY comments whatsoever on the appearance or clothing of female politicians, unless the commenter also describes the suits, ties, shirts and bald spots of every man present.
    Same for the wives of male politicians.

  61. What a bunch of elitest wankery going on here. Let’s get rid of all pop culture and talk about grammar instead. Cause that worked out so well.

    *unmutes SATC season 4 with Sonia Braja going down on Kim Catrell*

  62. I also hate hearing about cellulite. I never read gossip magazines, but it’s impossible to avoid them in the check-out lines at the grocery store. So thin people get cellulite too, so what? Doesn’t this mean we should care less about it because it’s clearly not a moral failing if everyone has it?

    I’m afraid I might offend someone with this one, but I’m also not a big fan of “full-time mom”, like mothers who have careers and jobs stop being mothers whenever they leave the house. Of course, part of the problem is that our society doesn’t respect stay-at-home parents as much as we should, but trying to make one choice sound morally superior only fans the flames of the “mommy wars”.

    And I hate seeing the term “pro-life”, which it makes it seem that people who stand up for reproductive choice somehow hate life, even though we’re the ones who tend to care more about actual, living people. Even worse is when people from that side call us “pro-abortion” like we want to increase abortions or force women to have them, even though abortion is morally neutral to us and we do much more to reduce abortion by preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

  63. Oooh…

    Here’s my list…

    ‘Kid’ — when referring to children (a kid is a baby goat), or any word modified by the word ‘kid’ in front of it, such as ‘kid-friendly’. Even worse are intentional mis-spellings of the plural such as ‘kidz’ in an attempt to be cute.

    ‘Mom’ — Any description of a female who has borne children exlusively as ‘a Mom’ (she could be a CEO, a home-maker, a cop, a sailor, or an Indian chief, but who cares — to some she is only a ‘Mom’ and her life is meaningful only with relationship to the children she has borne).

    ‘Forcible Rape’ — is there any other kind of rape? Date rape still requires force

    ‘Bubble-butt’ — Self-Explanatory

    ‘Baby-Bump’ — If I ran a newspaper I would fire reporters who wrote about ‘baby bumps’.

    ‘Our hearts go out to _________’ — You know what? When someone says that, I start wondering if they do at all. I don’t think so. They just need something to say. They have no imagination and are not able to come up with an appropriate expression of sympathy.

    ‘Mistakes were made’ or other statements in the passive voice — I would outlaw the passive voice completely. Someone made a mistake, the mistakes did not make themselves. This is a sign of total evasion of responsibility.

    ‘Family Values’, ‘Family Friendly’, ‘Family-Oriented’ or pretty much any noun, adjective, or adverb modified by ‘Family’. This no longer has any meaning except for those who claim that progressives are ‘anti-family’.

    ‘Christian __________’ — Same argument as above. It is supposed to distinguish supposed Christians on the right from icky progressive heathens on the left. This does not describe anything real. In fact, real Christians probably barf when they hear those sentences.

    ‘Feminazi’ — Self-Explanatory

    ‘Authoritarian Government’ — They used to say that about Franco, and Stalin, and Idi-Amin. Non-descriptive and darn near meaningless. Say what you mean: antidemocratic, repressive, regressive… The dictionary is FULL of adjectives that are more appropriate.

    Improper use of the subjunctive — Sentences should read ‘if I were in Paris…’ instead of ‘if I WAS in Paris’

    Improper construction of the past tense — It seems like all verbs where the past tense is constructed by adding -ed at the end have been mangled (even on television) by speakers neglecting to add said -ed. Sentences should read ‘He likED chocolate’, not ‘He like chocolate’.

    Improper use of ‘effect’ (noun), ‘effect (verb), affect (noun), and ‘affect’ (verb). Sample of correct usage:
    * ‘the effect of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is…'; ‘
    * ‘those involved in the Civil Rights movement effected change by…’
    * ‘the woman who visited the psychiatrist displayed flat affect’
    * ‘his mother’s illness affected him deeply’

    Whew! My fingers are tired and I still have not exhausted Chapter 1 of ‘What I would ban if I were Queen of the World’.

    Sorry to go on so long! Thank you for allowing us to chime in!

    –Andy Jo–

  64. Omg, I love “mistakes were made”. It’s like my favorite thing to see in an article. Bonus if it’s an unironic quote. Then I know I don’t have to read the whole thing since it’s going to be a bucket of fishheads and lies.

  65. Forgive me if this was already posted, but I also can’t stand “…. for his/her age.” This is not a compliment. “He’s handsome for his age.” or “She’s strong for her age.” Bleh!

  66. Anything which uses the phrase “poliical correctness gone mad”. The Daily Mail, I’m talking to you.

  67. They can give “vetted/vet” a rest. It’s like it went from non usage to over usage when Palin got tapped as the repub running mate. Now people vet everything, from hairdressers to credit card offers.

  68. Sly references to “the elephant in the room” in an article about fatness. Example in today’s front page Salon article about Gabourey Sidibe.

  69. Every story about a notable woman doesn’t have to begin “When Mary was a little girl….” I’ve never seen such a lead in a story about a man, but it’s apparently supposed to make us feel all warm and snuggly about a woman, instead of just focusing on her work and her accomplishments. Like stories about women have to be once-upon-a-time princess stories, but men don’t need that framing?

  70. Wait. Does this mean there will be no more coverage of the mother of all pumpkins on WGN?

    Also, Randy Michaels is a huge tool who had a big ole’ hand in screwing up radio as a local, interesting medium, and covering it all up with Bland Sauce. It will not be all that fun to watch him do similar bad things to WGN and the Tribune.

  71. “Spry” “fiesty” “sharp as a tack” when referring to anyone the reporter belives to be too old to be anything but slow moving, passive, and stunned

  72. A diet of cabbage, thumbtacks, and whipped cream? Of inspiration, beef stir fry, and adverbs? Of samwishes and mumblegrumble?

    But you forgot the styrofoam! And cardboard!

  73. As someone who writes about weddings every week, I would love, love, LOVE an end to ‘Bridezilla’. The term and the TV show, but mostly the term. It’s used as a nasty stick to wield over timid women who just want their own way about one small thing at their own weddings, and it’s used as a magic wand to excuse actively vicious – even abusive – behavior on the part of horrible, horrible women whose soon-to-be spouses really might do better to rethink the whole thing.

    Other wedding-related words and phrases I want to see an end to: ‘it’s my/her day’, ‘Momzilla’, ‘bridal insanity’, ‘every bride dreams of (fill in the blank)’, ‘one perfect day’.

  74. I’d like to see an end to the whole concept of “cat lady”. Yeah, I’m single, and yeah, I have two cats. It’s not a political statement; it doesn’t sum up anything about me at all. Just as “cougar” doesn’t automatically apply to every human female over the age of 30, so “cat lady” doesn’t automatically apply to every female human who keeps a cat.

    And let me clarify that I don’t actually have a problem with “cat lady” or “cougar”, but only with the laziness and imprecision with which they’ve come to be used. Small-minded people who are stupid and sloppy ruin perfectly useful words for the rest of us. STFU, small-minded lazy people!

  75. @BL – I, too, loathe the term “lady-like.” It is often used against a woman when she speaks her mind and doesn’t sugar-coat the message.

  76. I agree with Sweet Machine that “spinster” deserves to be pushing up daisies. I just remember hearing that word when I was a child and it always made me associate it with the old school Mac game Spin Doctor. Which was a good association. But men get “bachelor” and “playboy”, we get “spinster” and “old maid”. I say that’s bullfuck.

    references to women wanting or needing sex less than men– I have always hated this, I love sex. I hear ya loud and clear!!!!! I’m soooo sick of sexually-driven women like us being portrayed as immoral whores, or that we must have problems like nymphomania. Articles pertaining to that need to be done away with.

    What also needs to be done away are just articles belittling female sexuality in general and that further fuel the madonna-whore complex our society has– why being a “pure” girl is so valuable in one article, then all these tips on how to seduce a man are on the next page. Gimme a fucking break.

    With that said, a lot of terms I hate have already been listed– baby bump, curvy, real women, tipping the scales, cankles, vajayjay, supermom (and of course the needless obsession with womens’ appearances and marital and family statuses taking precedence over their fucking accomplishments.)

    Finally…I’m sick of “women’s health” topics just being stripped down to “take x amount of inches off your waist in 5 days” while serious issues like our reproductive rights get cast aside and not as much media attention as sensationalist bullshit.

    /rant

  77. Ah! I remembered one. Any variation on the ‘every woman dreams about her wedding day’ or ‘the most important day of a woman’s life’ or ‘her special day’. I’ll stop there because there’s a shit ton of hateful things I could spew regarding that stupid ass trope.

  78. I wish the media wouldn’t frame every death as tragic. Okay, I’m so sad that Claude Levi Strauss died, but he was like eleventy billion years old. He, himself probably would not have summed up his death that way. Or act as though suddenly if you are killed you have always been “a good caring person who was taking from us too soon.”

    Maybe some people who are killed are exactly those kinds of people, but maybe some are pushy folks who aren’t very nice.

    they can also stop saying, “Here’s what we think we know…” and save themselves a few retractions when it turns out they thought wrong and know nothing.

  79. Male hormones vs Female hormones

    Not just because it reinforces the gender binary, but it’s inaccurate to boot!

  80. Overuse of the term hero not every teacher, soldier, fire fighter and cop is a hero. Plenty are but the term is used so often as to be meaningless.

  81. @AmyHow I read that as “Overuse of the term hetero not every teacher, soldier, fire fighter…” which made me think I wasn’t paying attention to what the news was saying, like, ever.

  82. Ban “soccer mom.” I fucking hate that. There are moms who drive their kids to soccer because how the fuck else are they supposed to get there? They didn’t give birth to (or adopt!) soccers.

  83. I hope this doesn’t post twice – my first version I think was lost, darned tech…

    A new word (to me) is “Po-po” for police and it grates on my nerves each time I hear it.

    Also, I hate the term directed at women: “(don’t) look after themselves” when it’s equated with staying slim and spending money, energy, time on makeup, hair, clothes and accessories and expressed like it’s out “duty” rather than having/holding a job, paying rent, making decisions on how to direct our lives.

  84. I also want to add my voice to the votes for “spunky” and “feisty.” Until they start using them across the board — if they want to call, e.g., the Pope a spunky, feisty fellow who’s remarkably spry for his age, and who, when he was a little boy, had dreams of saying Mass and wearing fabulous shoes — well, that’s okay with me.

  85. I would ban any language that dissapears the rapist from reporting of a rape. I’d also ban any and all references to what a rape victim was wearing, or her attractiveness, or those lovely little slut-shaming quotes the British press likes to collect from acquaintances – “she always was a wild one”, etc.

    Also can we please stop using nouns as verbs? I’m sorry, I don’t care that it is now in common usage, parent is not a verb.

    Oh, and a very specific edict. I never, ever want to hear anything about the lonely tragedy that is Jennifer Aniston’s life even though she has a career and a boyfriend and etc. because OMG don’t you know she wants Brad back? Seriously, any journalist deploying that particular cliche should be zapped with the cattleprod of try harder to find some real celebrity news you lazy git.

  86. Along with bra-burning (Never happened!) and the Great Leg-Shaving debate, how about we never, ever again hear “feminists said women could have it all! But it turns out that’s not true!” Feminists didn’t say that. Capitalism says that, maybe, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

    Actually, I could do without all statements about ‘feminism’ uttered confidently by people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. You know feminism is an actual social movement with actual facts about its history. You don’t get to make up your own facts based on the the fact that some woman somewhere makes more money than you or that you think your sister in law is a bitch.

    Oh, and no more stories about why women stay with their famous politician/athlete husbands who have affairs. It’s none of your fucking business.

    Oh, and no more scare stories about sexting, oral sex, hook up culture, or whatever young women and girls are being accused of. If 18 year olds are old enough to be deemed the epitome of hotness, they’re old enough to make their own sexual decisions.

    I’ll stop there, but, alas, I could go on and on.

  87. How about the old chestnut “ball and chain”? Or the term “pussy-whipped”? Or the phrase “She wears the pants in that family”? or any reference to a woman (gasp!) being in charge?!?!?

    And for the love of all this is sacred….can we PLEASE stop saying “IT IS WHAT IT IS”?????? If I hear that phrase uttered once more by ANYONE…well I just might get my panties in a bunch and pussywhip the fuck out of that person with my ball and chain!!!!!!!!

  88. I’d like to put the kibosh on all the ZOMG, Wimminz often earn more than their MENZ journalism I am beginning to hear/see these days. It’s the ZOMG-ness of it all that makes my knickers start to twist.

  89. Oh, also, can we get rid of any variation upon “many people say”? You’re reporters, people, do your jobs. Which people say this? What are their names? What makes their opinions relevant to this issue?

  90. I second the bit about the couple being pregnant. No, you might both be expecting, as in one woman is pregnant and you are both expecting a baby to result. You are not both pregnant.

  91. A new word (to me) is “Po-po” for police and it grates on my nerves each time I hear it.

    Um, that’s slang and it’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking the words used in media. So stick to what you’ve heard in the media/print journalism. And I’m stopping you there because there’s a very short step from “grates on my nerves” to “why can’t they speak proper English”. And since SP is riddled with grammar snobs I’m not inclined to give ANYONE the benefit of the doubt.

    And I’m doing my mod thing here so I am the law.

  92. Oh and all those teasers like “When we come back… the secret poison you’ve been feeding your children!”

  93. Thank you Regina! I was just going to add “It is what it is” to the list! It seems to be a particular favorite of mansplainers who use it to deflect all sorts of complaints or commiseration.

  94. You know, it’s within my lifetime that a significant number of women actually began to earn more than their men. So I think it’s pretty ZOMG! myself, in a cool way. Economic parity, may it be within reach for all!

    I still remember being in seventh grade and everyone had to stand up and say what they wanted to be when they grew up. Every other girl wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted to be an environmentalist, except I didn’t have a word for it so I went on a ramble that took about three or four minutes. Good thing I was used to being the wierd kid.

    And I’m not that old, only mid forties. Things have changed amazingly.

  95. My apologies! Wrong media… It was stupid of me to include it here, I got caught up with some of terms being posted and threw it in as a stepping stone of sorts. Please don’t read anything into it!

    Feel free not to post this but I wanted to pass it along. Sorry to take your time up – I AM quite embarrased.

  96. Glad to see I’m not the only one annoyed at the use of “Mom” or “Mommy” to describe women who have children. Should that happy day ever come, strangers can call me a mother, but if they call me “Mom” I’m going to send them to their rooms. Also this whole concept that “motherhood is the most important job you will ever have.” God, I hope not. Billions of women have been mothers. I’d like to do something with my life that’s a little more noteworthy than that.

  97. Oh bugger, I forgot my biggest pet peeve:

    “Girl” for anyone over the age of 18. I mean this for journalists, newscasters, sportscasters, and professional people responsible for the media. I was floored by how many female Olympic athletes aged 30 and over were consistently referred to as “girls” this year. I mean, really? You have someone who has worked their whole life to have physical power, skill, and has achieved the pinnacle of their chosen sport, but lets make sure that we diminish all that by referring to them with language that equates them with children.

    Also, it’s only the Ladies Event if the men are competing in the Gentlemen’s Event, otherwise the correct phrasing is Women’s and Men’s. Gawd forbid women zip down a luge track at 85mph without being ladylike.

  98. Anything that is supposedly referring to everyone but it really refers only to men; MissPrism did a rather good post about this recently.

    It would also be quite good to find a “women’s” magazine that wasn’t entirely about celebrities, make-up, heteronormativity and diets. And SHOES!!! And men, naturlich. Two genderqueer friends were looking through one that came free with a newspaper. One said, “That’s exactly the sort of thing that I read and makes me think ‘I’m definitely not a woman’ ” I’m not genderqueer but a quick look through and I saw exactly what they meant. I like clothes and occasionally find some celebrities interesting, but I thought, particularly for this newspaper which is supposedly left-wing, that it was a bit depressing that apparently this is all women’s interests are meant to amount to. This is why I just read Shapely Prose and Shakesville instead :)

  99. Regarding use of nouns as verbs, eh, that’s as old as the English language. What bugs me is when there is a perfectly good verb – with the same nuances – that already exists! I am a bit inclined to give “parent” a break, because it is the gender-neutral equivalent of “father” and “mother” used as verbs (and that usage goes back a looooong way).

    Oh yeah, I’m a systems administrator. I do not “administrate” a goddamned thing.

    And just another vote for “sexual assault”. I was abused by my stepfather, but it wasn’t “rape”. He did, however, use the other orifices available to him. I think “rape” should be removed as a legal term, actually. It technically only refers to PIV sexual assault. So if it was oral, anal or with an object, it’s legally not rape. So, just ditch the term, and have “first degree” and “second degree” and so on. The varieties I mention, should all be “first degree”, IMO.

    Oh, someone waaaaay upthread bitched about Lindsay, Britney et al being ubiquitous in the media. Look, let’s not slag off people who have various life fuck-ups that the media pounce on. If people didn’t buy that shit, there’d be no market for it. Blame the media or the public for their voyeurism, not these less-than-astute young women who haven’t done anything worse than many of us have at various points in our lives.

  100. “Lady Huskies”
    “Lady Grizzlies”
    “Lady Thundercats”

    @snarkysmachine. I’m baffled and intrigued by these terms…I’m wondering if they are either things I don’t know about, animals dressed up and wearing make-up, or really bad euphemisms for “underparts.” I hope it’s the last one. I like the idea of hearing someone say “God, my LadyGrizzly is chafed to hell after that bike ride.”

  101. 1) I can’t justify this as anything other than a simple pet peeve, but the word “youngster” makes me twitch. For a while that seemed like my local news’ favorite word to describe anyone under 18 (seriously… infant-high school).

    2) On a more important note, I could happily go my whole life without hearing again, “New studies suggest that (insert common, everyday activity, emotion or food) might be making you fat.”

    3) Reporters faking sympathy about things they clearly don’t care about. Seems like it’s more respectful to just say the thing happened than it is to banter with your co-anchor about what a shame it is.

  102. They are college basketball teams. Well except the Lady Thundercats. The Huskies are at UCONN and I think the Grizzlies are in Montana. It’s March madness so it seems as though I can’t escape it.

  103. I really really hate the idea that it’s “elitist” to expect people to write with a basic minimum of respect for women as human beings. If someone posted racial slurs here, they’d be banned before you could blink, nobody would say “it’s just slang” or “you’re trying to ban pop culture”.

    To me, this kind of response just feeds into the idea that feminism is some kind of middle-class fad. It’s perfectly possible to use non-standard, slangy, popular language without denigrating women. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy low-brow culture such as celebrity gossip, sports etc without being misogynist (and fat-phobic etc etc) about it. It’s not “elitest wankery” [sic] to criticize pop culture when it is perpetuating sexist and other harmful tropes.

    OK, this comment wasn’t very fluffy. Sorry.

  104. Re: Lady Huskies, Lady Grizzlies, it is particularly strange when the animal is not gender-neutral but in fact male by definition. Real life example: Lady Rams. Wouldn’t they just be Ewes?

  105. I’m still stuck on their not being allowed to say “alleged.” I thought (from some textbook I read ten years ago) that it was a requirement of journalistic ethics and/ or avoidance of slander and libel to say “alleged” when talking about someone who hadn’t been proven guilty. What are journalists supposed to say now?

  106. Anything that is supposedly referring to everyone but it really refers only to men; MissPrism did a rather good post about this recently.

    Yup, that’s why I linked to it in the post itself.

  107. I really really hate the idea that it’s “elitist” to expect people to write with a basic minimum of respect for women as human beings. If someone posted racial slurs here, they’d be banned before you could blink, nobody would say “it’s just slang” or “you’re trying to ban pop culture”.

    Yeah, you apparently don’t realize that a) Snarky’s Machine is funny, and b) Snarky’s Machine is a mod. So you need to back off.

  108. I object to “alleged” because I think it replaced the better sounding “suspected”. It’s an attempt to be objective that doesn’t work because everyone knows it’s just a cover word. I think you could go back to suspected without any great problems.

    I also vote for vajayjay, it’s just clunky and ugly. I read a book recently by Jay Lake and found a new euphemism for vagina/vulva (I wasn’t clear on it from his usage) that I liked, his characters called it a sweetpocket. Um, and I tried another of his books and really disliked it, so don’t taket this as an author recommendation.

    Rarrr! I am a Lady Thundercat! Hear me roar!

  109. @snarkysmachine Um, that’s slang and it’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking the words used in media.

    Thank you! I say po-po instead of police quite often and was incredulous that tv reporters or newspapers were, as well.

  110. Also this whole concept that “motherhood is the most important job you will ever have.” God, I hope not. Billions of women have been mothers. I’d like to do something with my life that’s a little more noteworthy than that.

    Um, for lots of women, they DO identify as a mother, and they DO consider it to be the most important job they’ll ever have in their life. And for many women, it WILL be the most important thing they’ve ever done. Even if it’s not your dream or wish, and you have more important things to do than raise a brilliant, awesome, loving human being, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important concept or aspiration for other people.

    I do agree that it shouldn’t be the reporter making that determination for a woman who happens to be a mother. But if it comes out of her own mouth or is her own belief, that is her reality. I also wish there were more stories about how men identify as fathers. I do see a lot of “So and so, father of 3,” etc. etc. but rarely is there the level of detail or focus on home/family that you see in stories about women who happen to be mothers.

  111. Although I don’t like the word Vajayjay, I do think it would be a good name for a 70’s Disco themed nightclub. Actually, “Vajayjay’s” would be a great disco club name. I can see people striding around to it, sequins flashing, glitterballs swaying. It makes me want to overload the eyeshadow and ease into some rollerboots.

  112. Long time lurker here. First time poster.

    Can I throw the term ” Va-jay jay” into the flusher, please? GAH! It’s called a vagina, folks! If you can’t use the real, grown up word then you have no business playing with it.

    I love reading this site! Thank you so much for being here!

  113. This is great stuff! I’ve been ranting all week about NPR describing Colleen LaRose aka JihadJane as a petite blonde-wha??? What exactly does her height/hair color have to do with anything? Is it all about ” How dare she go against the code of ladyhood for short blonde women?” Bah!

  114. homitsu – it seems as though “Petite Blonde” is the newspaper’s version of “perfect womanhood.” If someone committed the vilest crime on earth they would still be a “murderous petite blonde”, as though it’s a badge of honour. It seems to me that being a white small blonde is the genetic bullseye in the newspaper’s minds. Load of old bollocks….there I’ve said it.

  115. I’m with Snarky’s Machine that we need another way to refer to women’s sports teams, although one of the only examples I remember seeing of someone trying (albeit not very hard) led to a pretty damn weird newspaper headline, the famous “Husky Women Subdue Ducks.” (Translation: The UConn women’s basketball team pulled out a tough win against the UOregon women’s basketball team.)

  116. @littlem: A number begins to “whop” when it arrives in conjunction with deadly cricket-playing robots.

    Just thought I’d clear that up.

  117. I kept hearing “petite blonde” as ZOMG a white person did this! But I can now totally see the how dare a lady do any such thing.

  118. Piffle, I like “alleged” MUCH better than “suspected,” or “accused.” If I’m talking about some guy being arrested or detained, calling him “suspected terrorist” suggests that I share the suspicion. I might have no idea if he really did it, or I might think he was wrongly accused, or that he did something that wasn’t really terrorism. If I say, “accused terrorist so-and-so,” that sounds like he was charged with terrorism, in court. (If he isn’t, it might be considered defamation to say he was.) “Alleged” is a good way to refer to criminal cases that have not been decided yet.

    Cassandra, I don’t have a problem with “parent” as a verb. “Mother” has been a verb for centuries. The idea that caring for children is not specifically women’s work is an admirable idea, even a feminist idea, and I want the language to reflect it.

  119. Some usages on the WGN list are annoying or offensive. Others are verbal filler, the equivalent of “um” for people who have trained themselves not to say “um.” (So it comes out, “At this point in time, the fire department is…” instead of “Um, the fire department is now…” or “[awkward pause] the fire department is…”

    Usage I find offensive and would like to get rid of:

    “Male” or “female” as nouns. I don’t know if it started as an attempt to distinguish gender but not age. “This school is for females” [ie, women and girls] or “The suspect was a tall male in a hooded sweatshirt.” [not knowing if he was a man or a teenaged boy.] To my mind, it has very uncomfortable overtones of “female human or animal, don’t care which.” The way it’s used in police reports tend to have racial overtones that make it worse.

    The use of “because” in reporting crimes. It’s worse for hate crimes and sexual assault, but it’s generally a problem to have the media accept criminals’ reasoning as valid. No, X didn’t kill his wife because he found her committing adultery. He killed his wife because he is possessive and controlling, and has a violent temper. No, Y didn’t attack passers-by because they had the wrong haircuts and jewelry. He attacked them because he was an aggressive bigot. He might have selected targets based on haircuts and jewelry, but that’s different.

  120. “Packing on the pounds” needs to die an unlamented death. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned it before now. Unless they have, and I’m just too barely-awake to see it.

    Also, articles that say stuff like “once Baby has arrived…” and “we know that Kitty will love these special treats…” really get on my nerves. It’s hard for me to articulate why.

    Also, I get so fucking annoyed when people can’t draw the distinction between “vagina” and “vulva” and use the words interchangeably. And yes, this happens in a journalistic context.

  121. I read a book recently by Jay Lake and found a new euphemism for vagina/vulva (I wasn’t clear on it from his usage) that I liked, his characters called it a sweetpocket.

    Yuck. I think I just lost some of my safely guarded sanity points.

  122. The use of “mom” as a name and/or title for someone who is not the speaker’s own mother. (I’m okay with saying, for instance, “Bob’s mom”, but not with the shit I saw the other day on some home makeover show where the host of the show was like “we need to surprise Mom with a new kitchen!” and it was…not her mom. There I am yelling at the screen, “THE WOMAN HAS A NAME FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”)

    Trigger Warning

    ‘Forcible Rape’ — is there any other kind of rape? Date rape still requires force

    When a man raped me, he didn’t have to use force. If I hadn’t been terrified and in shock and had been able to move, he might have, or he might have realized I wasn’t consenting and not raped me. Or he might have threatened to kick me out of his apartment in a strange city with no way home if I didn’t comply. I will never know what could have happened.

    Rape of children sometimes does not require force. Rape of people with disabilities, depending on the disabilities, may not require force. Husbands don’t always use force when they rape their wives, nor boyfriends when they rape their girlfriends.

    Still, I think this term should go away because it’s usually used to imply that rape like what he did to me doesn’t count, or isn’t as bad. Because if he didn’t have to use force, it means she wasn’t fighting back, and she must have secretly wanted it, or something.

  123. Much of the problem in reporting crimes of a “sexual” (snark quotes since these crimes are about power and sex is just the weapon of choice) is there is no consensus among “advocate” groups about how they should be reported. If we report them with the perp as the focus – Perp raped victim – there is murky “innocent until the justice system gets their shit together and sends the motherfucker to jail” water. And given that there is no way to unring the “rapist” bell once it’s been clanged and noting the historical nature of folks – namely men of color being accused and murdered for rapes they did not commit, I am hesitate to change the way in which things are reported.

    That said, since I’m not a journalist or a survivor in that respect, I don’t know how much my perspective is of any use.

    So this is just to say I wouldn’t be quick to assume this is wonky journalism, but an issue of not knowing how to balance the needs of all the groups victimized by the way in which crimes of this nature are reported.

  124. Also, articles that say stuff like “once Baby has arrived…” and “we know that Kitty will love these special treats…” really get on my nerves. It’s hard for me to articulate why.

    Perhaps because it makes it seem like the author is writing for an audience composed of three-year-olds?

  125. I second the request to put “not your granny’s” whatever on the list, and likewise for “not your grandmother’s”, “not your mother’s”, “not your father’s” , and “not your grandfather’s”. The divisions between the generations aren’t that sharp, and older people aren’t that outmoded.

    Any metaphor based on torture, especially “hold feet to the fire”.

    “Cutting the fat” for programs intended to eliminate waste.

  126. Michelle,
    The deadly cricket-paying robots actually went “wop”, without the h. Annoyingly, over on h2g2 the word wop has been banned, because the system the board runs on is shared with 606, the football site, where the wop was being used as a racist insult (for Italians, I think: I’ve never seen the word used in that context myself, so I forget).

    *** Back on topic:

    In my experience reading the local press, men are referred to as “father of three” etc when they’ve been murdered, died in a road accident, or sent to prison. Otherwise, their children go unmentioned. Women’s children are probably mentioned in many more contexts.

    TRiG.

  127. Adrian, I’m totally with you on referring to human beings as “females” or “males,” like they were some other species. Every time I hear someone (usually men, but even some of the sisterhood commit this verbal atrocity) refer to “females,” I picture them as sneering Ferengis.

    I’m not really sure that’s the look they’re going for.

  128. @ catgirl – I also prefer active rather than passive tense when regards to rape, which puts the focus on the criminal, which is where it belongs.

    @CassandraSays – If I have to pretend to feel bad for Jennifer Aniston one more day, I swear… the woman has everything she wants, does anything she wants, looks fantastic, is healthy, is popular with lots of friends, with tons of money, oh, boo hoo poor Jennifer Aniston who got divorced five years ago, what a tragedy. Actually, acting as if divorce is always a tragedy for women in general, whether they are Jennifer Aniston or anyone. When was the last time we were encouraged by journalists to go boo hoo for for a man who got divorced?

    I vote for getting rid of “What your —- won’t tell you,” in regards to doctors, significant others, bosses, children, etc. If they won’t tell ME, why would they tell YOU, magazine? And shouldn’t I be standing up and being a grownup and asking them anyway? Talk about discouraging one’s own internal SLJ.

  129. Amy How: I don’t think it’s an either/or case with “petite blonde” being a racial thing or a gender role thing. It’s referring to an archetype that is both white and lady-like and therefore if not actually a living saint then at least not dangerous.

  130. Aw, I’ve always loved the term “spinster” because I always envisioned myself growing old and independent, which is why I got my first boyfriend (to my great surprise) when I was 28.

    “Playboy” on the other hand, always struck me as a terribly cynical term for a man who constantly deceives women (plays them) and who has never matured (boy).

    Certainly, it seems society has decided the opposite, but that’s because society sucks.

  131. “Had/have sex with” a child, a person in coma or an otherwise incapable of consent person. No, they were not heading to Anderson Cooper’s sting set-up house to “have sex with” a 13 year old, they were heading there to rape a child. And I don’t care which orifice – if any – is under attack, it is rape. The crime is sexual assault, or sexual battery. And let’s add “molest” to the list. I would no more say my child was molested than I’d say my best friend was interfered with. I hate euphemism generally, and consider it evil when applied to criminal acts.

    I prefer “charged with” to alleged or suspected, because it discourages reporters from saying the crime itself is only suspected or alleged. The rape is a fact, who committed the rape is at question. Also, since President Obama has chosen not to restore habeas corpus, I like to know if and when there is a legal basis for an arrest.

  132. How about the old chestnut “ball and chain”? Or the term “pussy-whipped”? Or the phrase “She wears the pants in that family”? or any reference to a woman (gasp!) being in charge?!?!?

    Regina T. Thanks. Yeah. Those and ‘hen-pecked’ and anything else that shames men for having relationships with women where the woman has power.

  133. I second bumerry’s choice of “charged with” as a replacement for “alleged”. It describes the situation much more exactly.

    I would like to get rid of “served” for some government jobs. What a soldier is doing is not the same thing that a senator is doing.

    I’m dubious about the word even for soldiers– it seems to me that it implies what they’re doing must be valuable because it’s pretty likely to be very bad for them.

  134. re: “strident”

    I was thinking this generally referred to women, specifically women who wouldn’t keep their traps shut (I seem to recall some use re: our current Secretary of State while she was a presidential candidate).

    Turns out my white privilege was showing: I found this use today, and was thoroughly appalled:

    As the first white rap group of any importance, the Beastie Boys received the scorn of critics and strident hip-hop musicians…

    UGH. That’s not even half a step from “uppity negroes”. This makes me stabby.

    (Sorry, not so fluffy, and not specifically journalistic media. Just. So. Wrong. And probably not so shocking for those of you without white privilege, which is another reason for the UGH.)

  135. Odd, the person I’ve seen most often described as “strident” (and “shrill”) is Richard Dawkins. But I hang out on Pharyngula and at Greta Christina’s.

    TRiG.

  136. Re: “Lady Sportsters” of whatever type. Yeah, that one irritates me too. Although the local senior women’s hockey team elects to be called the Lady Moose, not the Cow Moose (the senior men’s team being the Bull Moose), and, since ‘senior’ in this case in fact means >65 years old, and since I have a well-conditioned “yes ma’am” reflex (thanks, Grandma J!), they can call themselves whatever the heck they want. Plus they are over 65 and -playing ice hockey.- They could vote and change their name, no one will stop them – they have hockey sticks. So, to some degree, it seems like a trade-off between “annoying derivative name” and “change it if you want to.”

    “Vivacious:” Whenever I see this as a descriptor, I think that the reporter should have considered some more background to rule out stimulant use or mania, or bought a lot less coffee in the interview. I still haven’t seen it used to describe a man. Not even manic Ted Turner, or coked-up Robin Williams back in the day. “Greeting me at the door with sparkling blue eyes, petite, vivacious comedian, Robin Williams, is a kinetic ball of energy, constantly tidying as we move through his beautiful home…” Snork. No.

    The word “pert” applied to body parts.

    I kind of like spinster. Maybe it’s one of those words I’ve ‘taken back?’ It is a word that, at this point in my life, implies strength and power to me – someone who lives alone and is committed to that. I’m not a spinster, but it carries no negative connotation for me. Could be just me?

    “Exciting new fashions.” No. They’re not. Unless it’s wind/waterproof, stretchy, and sheds dog hair, and also serves as an attractive evening gown, and comes in my size, and is at REI on sale with matching Merrells. I might get kind of excited then.

    I 100% agree with comments re: the dilution of the power of Cat Lady. Animal hoarding is a big deal, and having 2 (or 4, or 5) cats does not make someone a hoarder. I know people who joke about being “Cat Ladies” or “Dog Ladies.” Because of my work, I kinda sorta have to follow up on those comments. We then chat about hoarding and I give out some websites. OK, so I don’t get to go to a lot of parties.
    Animal hoarding isn’t limited to women, although it’s a behavior with somewhat higher prevalence in women, but no one ever says, “Oh, are you a Dog Dude?” Instead those are men who are charged with running unsafe/neglectful kennels or other animal operations.)

    Any more stress relief articles that suggest that I need “more me time” which I will meet by “taking bubble baths,” “focusing on my needs,” or “making time to talk with my [inevitably male] partner while the [always assumed] children have just gone to sleep.”
    You know, 1) we’ve actually learned new things (and resurrected some very old knowledge) since 1973, and this is a weird combo of Helen Gurley Brown and Redbook, and yet I just saw it last month while getting my hair cut in some magazine (not Redbook); 2) narcissism is not the answer, actually, although centering and mindfulness may be; 3) really? that’s the best ya got for relationship communication? because my students can do better than that in year one of internship. In fact, I think they got this advice straight out of Mad Men.
    For a while there – not for the last 10y – I found Men’s Health much better in terms of health/wellness advice. Fewer “try scented candles” articles. But they went down the tubes too.

    “Brutal [or senseless] murder.” OK, this is not limited to coverage of women’s issues… except that we get killed too. However. I suggest that homicide in general be considered brutal or senseless (to others than the killer) by default, and that particularly ‘gentle and rational’ homicides should be considered noteworthy and described as such at length by the media. I’m just saying.

  137. Any more stress relief articles that suggest that I need “more me time”

    Which, as I believe I saw pointed out here once a while ago, automatically implies that all your other time belongs to someone else.

    Funny how you never see men urged — nay, encouraged — to find half an hour a day to call their own. (Go on! You deserve a whole 30 minutes!) It’s almost as if all their time is assumed to belong to them.

  138. @Nancy Lebovitz

    “I would like to get rid of “served” for some government jobs. What a soldier is doing is not the same thing that a senator is doing”.

    They’re not doing the same job but they are both public servants. Ideally members of Congress, diplomats, the FBI and even the IRS chose these jobs because they want to serve their country. The truth is that these people could get jobs in the private sector and make a hell of a lot more money. Not that I think making around $200,000 a year is chump change.

  139. @ TRIG

    WOP= without papers. And, yes, its typically used as an ethnic slur against Italian Americans.

  140. @Timothy (TRiG): I went and looked it up, and it is “whop”, at least in the edition I have. Therefore, I stand by my theory about the “whopping X pounds”/killer robot connection.

  141. I’m coming way, way late to the party, but had to say I’m still laughing at puffalo’s “samwishes and mumblegrumble”. That’s exactly what I’m having for lunch.

  142. The suffix -orexia used anywhere outside the phrase “anorexia nervosa”.

    Anything along the lines of “My husband likes my curves, he doesn’t want me to look like a prepubescent boy!”.

    Reference to the “when unhappy, women go home and eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s” meme.

    Reference to the “men: they’re clueless about cooking / cleaning / other basic responsibilities, but we love them anyway!” meme.

  143. Weighing in to agree that “sexual assault” is correct terminology, and there’s nothing wrong with using a more general term even if there is another word that is more specific (e.g. “rape”). It’s not a euphemism, and it’s accurate, even if in some circumstances “rape” would be more precise.

    It technically only refers to PIV sexual assault. So if it was oral, anal or with an object, it’s legally not rape.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that the legal definitions of rape, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, etc. vary quite a bit from state to state. In some states it might be the case that some forms of sexual assault other than PIV are legally considered rapes.

  144. Oh, and no more scare stories about sexting, oral sex, hook up culture, or whatever young women and girls are being accused of. If 18 year olds are old enough to be deemed the epitome of hotness, they’re old enough to make their own sexual decisions.

    Hell yes! I am so sick of these moral panics. Many teens and even preteens experiment with their sexuality. We shouldn’t act shocked when they do the same thing teens have done since the beginning of time. We should care more about helping them be safe and less about trying to stop them completely. So teens have sexual organs and enjoy stimulation of certain body parts, just like almost everyone else. This isn’t breaking news! Having this attitude can affect teens too. I was sexually active by myself from a very young age, and with others since I was 15, and for a long time I thought there was something wrong with me because adults freak out about sexual teenagers (especially women) and why would they freak out about something that is completely normal?

  145. Oo! I got another one! “Pamper yourself”.
    Julie Burchill, who gets right up my nose most of the time, nevertheless deserves credit for taking a well-aimed spit at “pamper yourself” a few years ago. I can’t remember her exact phrasing, but she said something like:
    Pampering yourself used to mean putting your feet up with a box of chocs and watching Lana Turner go to the bad. These days it means “washing”.

  146. I don’t think wop has anything to do with “With Out Papers”. And I’m certain my edition of Hitch Hiker’s spells the word without the h. I’ll look it up when I get home.

    TRiG.

  147. fatsmartchick, in re “serving”: A lot of people are doing work they hope will be useful to a wide range of people, and making less money than they might. Working for a government is not qualitatively different in that sense from a lot of non-profit jobs, and even some for-profit jobs.

    I’ve been annoyed by the substitution of “passed” for “died”. I’m not sure if it’s just that I don’t like euphemisms, or if there’s something else off about it.

    Natural disasters being described as “responsible” for deaths. I would prefer “caused” or “resulted in” or “n people died from the storm”.

  148. I have to say, I’m distraught at the idea of losing “Area residents” (and presumably “area man” and “area woman” as a corollary). How will The Onion cope?

  149. “I don’t think wop has anything to do with “With Out Papers””

    Ah! I forgot the ‘guapo’ explanation for the use of wop.

  150. Re: Lady Huskies, Lady Grizzlies, it is particularly strange when the animal is not gender-neutral but in fact male by definition. Real life example: Lady Rams. Wouldn’t they just be Ewes?

    Yup, that was my high school’s team name. My sister argued that the official mascot should be the Ewes, and thus the guys’ teams would be the Ewes’ Guys.

  151. I like the word “spinster” and sometimes use it to refer to myself. To me, it connotes an image of an independent life, a “room of one’s own” and cats. Sounds good to me.

    I would like to see less of:

    The word “thick” to describe someone who is fat. I’m not thick–I’m *fat*. Fat is not a dirty word.
    For some reason, other words–rubenesque, full figured, heavy set, stout–don’t bother me. Just “thick.” Hate it.

    Kitten heels–this one is completely irrational. I can’t explain it.

    Babymama or babydaddy

    Anything to do with Sex and the City, full stop. Don’t want to hear anything about Carrie’s fashion choices, cupcakes, vibrators, etc. For the love of God.

  152. “Maybe they should play ball in sensible pumps like those Easy Spirit commercials from the 90s.”

    YES! I remember that!

    All the peeves I can think of have been mentioned. Nice to know I’m not the only one for any of them.

  153. @ Heather – I think there is a place for thick. It doesn’t simply describe someone who is fat so much as a very specific body type. A “thick” person looks different from a “stout” person, who looks different from a “rubenesque” person. Also, I almost never see it used in a negative way, so I am partial to keeping it in the lexicon. I like qualifiers that are more specific, I feel that they are, for the most part, because of their specificity, more humanizing. I self identify as “pudgy,” and I feel that this word gives a much more accurate picture of what I actually look like.

    I’d be very happy to see “overweight” disappear, however, because of the comparative connotations inherent within the term (over what weight?).

  154. The last time I heard ‘thick’ used it was in reference to Rosie Perez and it was in a most appreciative tone. I don’t think people would consider Perez to be fat.

  155. I am trying to get used to “thick” (and yes, I tend to hear it used approvingly, or in self-description). When I was a child in the Cambrian Explosion, it meant “dense,” as in “not the sharpest tack in the drawer.”

  156. In the UK and Ireland, thick means stupid (especially in the phrase As thick as two short planks). In Ireland, thick has the additional meaning of angry (Don’t get thick with me!).

    I’ve never heard it used to describe a body type.

    TRiG.

  157. Here in the US I’ve heard “thick” used to refer to being dense (he’s a bit thick = he’s not getting it) and a shapely female body type. But both are rather slangish, and I’ve never read “thick” used either way in a newspaper article.

  158. @Curveycat: YES! I “look after myself” by not doing things that make me feel like shit. Along those same lines are “she let herself go.” Go where?

  159. Not sure what I think of the words, but I thought ‘thick’ meant a girl who is a little larger than average, not skinny but not fat. And ‘curvy’ meant thin with large breasts and/or hips. How about we just stop commenting on women’s bodies so damn much?

  160. Oooh oooh I know I’m late to the party but I have one!

    Framing career success in terms of “finding true nurturing purpose,” spirituality, “soulfulness” or other pastel-wordy caca.

    For an example, see this linky (but for the love of the FSM do NOT register):

    Go here and bring a unicorn chaser.

    Like, did you know that I lost my job last week BECAUSE IT WAS CODED IN MY DNA? Nope, nothing to do with a corporate acquisition and the fact that they shipped most of their jobs to China and South America. I’m just NOT ABLE TO LET GO of failure, doesn’t have jack shit to do with the fact that 25% of my entire department was eliminated.

    Could you IMAGINE a seriously marketed career workshop for men (the above loathsome example was sent to me by a locally well-known female financial adviser who actually sometimes has a good seminar or two) that read like this?:

    –Channel your inner caveman to become a CEO!
    –Let your True Inner Daddy find you the ideal job!
    –The car that you drive may be the clue to your TRUE PURPOSE!
    –Manly ancestral memories hold the key to your success!

    In a similar vein, I want to permanently BAN any “woman focused financial advice” that has the following advice (all seen by yours truly at one time or another):

    –Stop having your morning latte! It’s a whopping $3/day x 5 days a big $15/week! (yeah, because of getting the kids out of the door and making everyone breakfast you have the TIME to froth your own milk, and the pantyhose that you pretty much usually have to wear to work are FREE and last forever and never tear anyway…yeah…)

    –If you lose your job, the FIRST thing that you should do is cancel extras like “gym memberships” (because we all know that lack of exercise is soooo helpful in maintaining health, both mental and physical–just sit home and stew)

    –Find a cheaper place to get your hair cut (because after years of building a relationship with a stylist, and need to look your best for job interviews, you WANT to throw both options to the wind and risk going into an interview with a shit cut/home-done highlights/etc).

    –Think about a job you can do at home that “uses your Mom skills–like home catering or crafting.” Um, ETSY aside (which I love), most folks don’t have the getup to instantly turn their home/apartment into a professional crafting or cooking space UNLESS they already are doing those things on a professional level in some way. Yes, a female insurance broker is suddenly going to solve all of her financial problems by selling home-made jam off of her front lawn instead of, you know, putting an ad in the local paper that she’s available for consultations. True story: Whem my Dad walked out on my Mom (with 9 year old me and infant brother left behind), Mom believed this line of bullshit for about two seconds, and wanted to do the whole Home Catering Thing. Then when she started to do the paperwork, she realized that it would mean No Pets, including our very beloved basset/beagle mix. She said that the dog had to go, and we both cried so hard…then, thank G-D my Grandma (her Mom) slapped her figuratively upside the head and reminded her that A) she had a valid teaching license in our state (dusty but still valid) and B) SHE HAD A MASTERS FROM FUCKING YALE UNIVERSITY IN A HARD SCIENCE FIELD. In less than two weeks she was in the substitute teaching roster, got hired to a good district, and is now retired with a fucking huge benefits package. Her salary was as high as a mid-level law associate’s by the time she retired, and that was after NOT working in the field until her mid-30’s. Golly, she shoulda stuck to making spinach dip and cheese straws in our kitchen and had our dog euthanized *snark*

    It’s almost as if all these “pinky peachy career sites” WANT women to hold themselves down.

  161. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Onion‘s embrace of that particular cliche is why “area _____” is on the outs. If the role of art is to hold a mirror up to nature, the role of satire is to hold up one of those magnifying vanity mirrors that lets you see what the inside of your nose pores look like.

  162. I remember when people were first freaking out about the recession and the economy, and articles about “recessionistas” and “staycations” and “insourcing” started showing up full of suggestions for cutting back.

    After reading each suggestion I would think “what? people don’t already do that?” Do people really need to be told to paint their own nails and wear the clothes at the back of their closets?

  163. Those articles always make me want to start drinking lattes and smoking so I can quit and save 80 gajillion dollars a year.

  164. I’m just going to cite a comment someone else made on another blog.

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2010/02/22/is-your-pout-plump-enough/#comment-159330

    thebewilderness
    February 23, 2010 at 12:40 am

    There is a beat up 1920s accordion file that exists in every corporate media room in the land that contains file stories that must be updated and published by the sales agents of the patriarchy no more than twelve days apart in a continuing cycle.

    There is one on how women are leaving the workforce in droves in response to the demands of their biological clock.

    One on how eager women are to give up independence for the sake of a fancy wedding.

    One on how being a public meatsock is a career girl’s dream job.

    One on how women are admitting that they can’t “have it all”, whatever the hell that is.

    You know the ones I mean. They publish the same things over and over. Most of them turn out never to have been true, but they just keep recycling the myths.

    I’d like to retire that circular file.

    Also any and all het-norm ev-psych gender-binary studies, body snarking, or picking on children of celebrities or politicians in any way shape or form – OUT!

    And what Corey Feldman said about kicking people when they’re down. No more of that.

  165. Jenonymous — Bravo, that was funny. I’m searching for my inner caveman as we speak.

    Actually, I’d like to see all inner creatures (except my inner snake) leave the parlance, and also the finding them thing. Also the finding yourself thing. I have a friend who keeps saying that he needs to find himself. I have to bite my tongue to not ask him where he last saw himself, and if he’s checked under the couch cushions. He does yoga and once asked me if I’d ‘found’ my ‘pelvic floor.’ That was even worse.

  166. Earlier I had mentioned that the press talking about women who have borne children as ‘moms’ (and nothing else relevant about them) sent me up a tree. Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Courtesy of the ever-entertaining source of dumbth, AOL:

    “A pregnant American mom and two others gunned down in Mexico were “certainly targeted,” the FBI says.

    So… Here’s the deal. Some folks ‘associated’ with the consulate were gunned down. They had lives and did other things with them. They had jobs supporting Americans where they lived. How about a rewrite?

    “…The FBI says that the three consulate employees were targeted, but the reason is not yet clear. One man was [fill in work he did], and the women [_______fill in appropriate statement about their work]. One woman leaves behind _ children and was pregnant at the time of the murder”.

    Of course, that takes up more words and sounds much less sensational.

  167. Puffalo: I remember when people were first freaking out about the recession and the economy, and articles about “recessionistas” and “staycations” and “insourcing” started showing up full of suggestions for cutting back.

    ~Oh yeah, these three NONwords must die and SOON. I don’t know what the heck “insourcing” is, but it’s stabby-making by default. Apparently this is the talking heads’ wailing of “won’t somebody PLEASE think of the broke people!?” (oh right, class privilege. *sigh*)

  168. Grafton–RE Pelvic Floor–oh no he didn’t! Sheesh. Tell him it’s under your pelvic carpeting.

    AndyJo-YES RE the media obsessing over the reproductive status of any woman mentioned in a news story above and beyond anything else that she does. Barf-inducing.

  169. “Stop having your morning latte! It’s a whopping $3/day x 5 days a big $15/week! (yeah, because of getting the kids out of the door and making everyone breakfast you have the TIME to froth your own milk, and the pantyhose that you pretty much usually have to wear to work are FREE and last forever and never tear anyway…yeah…)”

    “If you lose your job, the FIRST thing that you should do is cancel extras like “gym memberships” (because we all know that lack of exercise is soooo helpful in maintaining health, both mental and physical–just sit home and stew)”

    “Find a cheaper place to get your hair cut (because after years of building a relationship with a stylist, and need to look your best for job interviews, you WANT to throw both options to the wind and risk going into an interview with a shit cut/home-done highlights/etc).”

    Actually, I think these are reasonable ideas for anyone of any sex, sexual orientation, race or ethnic group.

    I don’t do it myself, but I do see people standing in line, every morning for the “double chocolate mocha latte frip frap” or whatever it’s called. This is not a necessity–you don’t have to “froth your own milk” because you don’t need it at all. I have sometimes thought about trying one of those, but when I see the cost, I pass and get a cup of tea. I don’t know what your budget is like, but an extra $15/week or ~ $750 dollars a year is considerable for me and many others.

    My experience has been that people do, generally speaking, spend more than necessary on grooming/hair products/makeup. I’ve yet to be convinced that the expensive shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays are that much better than the Pantene stuff you get at the drugstore. Same for most makeup. Chanel can sell $25 bottle of nail polish because it’s got the interlocking CC on the packaging–not because the polish is better than say, OPI, which costs under $10 a bottle.
    Also, if you are unemployed, odds are you aren’t going to be starting a new job soon–you have the time to try a new, less expensive stylist/barber and see how they do. If it is so bad, you can go back to your old one. Probably though, you’ll have found a less expensive place, with results that are acceptable.
    As for gym membership, it’s not either/ or–either you have a gym membership or you’re completely sedentary. There are other, free or cheap ways of getting exercise–walking, running, bike riding, yoga (done at home), aerobics (done at home), etc. If you still have cable–the health channel or fitness channel. If not, the library. They’ve got tons of exercise DVD’s, videotapes and books.

  170. Joining in on hating women who are mothers being called “mom” by the media. “Mom” is what my children call me, to everyone else I have a name and I am a mother. But, I am only a mother if it is relavant to the story.

  171. Heather, I think the problem with the finacial advice the media gives is that it is the same old stuff, over and over. Sure, it’s reasonable advice for the upper-middle class person who hasn’t had to live on a tight budget in years, but for the average working class person it is meaningless.

    Many of the unemployed and/or struggling on a small budget already make their own coffee, don’t pay a gym membership and get their hair cut at Super Cuts. The same goes for all the investment advice. Most people don’t have any extra money to invest. The media reports as if poor and working class people aren’t watching/reading the news at all. They are talked about, but not talked to.

  172. @ Heather – You may be right, people may save money by making these changes in their lives, and I agree with you about OPI being not one iota inferior to Chanel nail polish, but don’t you think, and please think carefully and don’t be getting upset, but don’t you think that, perhaps, articles like these are, well, insults to people’s intelligence? People know what they buy, unless sleep-shopping is a new side-effect caused by Ambien. And also, here is another point, stay calm, that adults, by virtue of being adults, are allowed to spend their money however they want, without being scolded like children or criticized by others? Just me thinking aloud.

  173. I would say that an adult with dependants has a moral duty to spend money/effort/time on those dependants before spending it on fripparies, so, no, they shouldn’t spend money “however they want”, but that’s somewhat incidental to your point.

    TRiG.

  174. In a time when I was poor, those “stop buying lattes and save a fortune!” always made me laugh in a slightly hysterical way. The writers were so obviously in a different universe from me. I mean we sort of agreed on the idea that coffee, gym memberships and hair cuts were luxury items, but they wrote as if this were an amazing revelation and not a mundane list of things a lot of people already live without.

  175. Ha, those “money saving” articles are ridiculous, and generally targeted at women which is insulting, or worse POCs. But today after reading about hipsters on food stamps buying organic produce at trader joe’s I just don’t know what to think.

  176. Rejoyce–EXACTLY. I’m newly unemployed after 6 years of a good job, but before that I was piss broke for a few years and struggling with freelancing in a down market. I attended these seminars that basically were 50% “visualize your success!” bullshit and “wear a hairshirt and eat the scum off of your bathroom tile until you have a job” economizing tips. No, I didn’t get $4 lattes every day but I DID keep my head on in one piece by belonging to an affordable gym. I talked my regular hairdresser down to a temporary lower rate, so I looked good at interviews and at client meetings, rather than suddenly going to CrapCuts or cutting my own hair.

    It’s Poverty Theater that these hucksters are selling–not a way to keep from being poor, but acting and STAYING poor. It’s a form of guilt packaged and sold almost exclusively to women, especially women who are parents. “See, we’re living poor, look how virtuous and deserving I am!” It’s the polar opposite of the “You DESERVE success, go for it!” articles aimed at men. For women it’s a lose-lose situation, where anything done for oneself is seen as a sum loss, even if it’s a necessary step for getting back on one’s feet.

    Yes, at one point, I got my grocery bills down to $10/week in order to do the gym, pay my Net access, and stay in decent haircuts. That’s different than not investing in your job hunt.

    What I hate the most about the “anti-latte road to success” hucksters is the overall tone that anything that costs money other than basic food and shelter is wrong. You know, after 6 years, I NEED a new interview suit. I’m NOT getting a thrift store threadbare piece of shit; I’m getting the suit that makes me look and feel good, and you know what? I’m putting it on my credit card. Show up looking like a desperate person and you won’t get called back, guaranteed. I’m not getting a $3K designer suit custom-made from the spun hair of choirboys, but I’m not going to get something that looks and feels cheap either. Being plus-sized I’m already at a disadvantage and I’m not going to cram myself into an ill-fitting piece of shit and try to smile my way through it.

    Also, again, as I originally noted, you won’t see ANY of this hairshirting bullshit aimed at MEN, EVER. Quite the opposite. They’ll tell them to have one or two REALLY good suits on reserve just for interviews, and matching shoes and ties and shirts. Not one line, not one pixel will be wasted telling them to recycle old wardrobe or hand me downs.

    AliBelle–yeah, saw the article on hipsters with food stamps also. OTOH if they qualify, and they really need them, they’ll find out soon enough that they can’t make the money stretch by spending that way. Believe me, where I live, it’s almost impossible to get food stamps–see earlier line RE $10/week on groceries. When their unemployment runs out and Mom and Dad stop sending along allowance, they’ll learn. On the other other hand, these same people probably paid a lot into the tax system, and now they’re collecting on it. That’s why I was so pissed off when my own food stamp application was turned down years ago, and why I am totally unashamed at collecting unemployment now. I paid into the system even when I was barely making it, and now I need it. No shame.

  177. I think a lot of these save money articles are targeted at women because in many families, women are the ones managing the budgets and doing the shopping. Not true of all families, but in most of my heterosexual coupled friends’ families this is the case. (And in my own.) A good friend of mine, who grew up in the 50s, put it this way: Home economics was not about money, but about women making the best use of whatever resources they had at their disposal to actualize the other members of the family. Times have certainly changed (there is no more home ec class, for one thing), but for some of us, they haven’t changed all that much.

  178. My experience has been that people do, generally speaking, spend more than necessary on grooming/hair products/makeup. I’ve yet to be convinced that the expensive shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays are that much better than the Pantene stuff you get at the drugstore. Same for most makeup. Chanel can sell $25 bottle of nail polish because it’s got the interlocking CC on the packaging–not because the polish is better than say, OPI, which costs under $10 a bottle.

    I don’t know about that. Foundation for my skin that doesn’t turn to chalk costs at least 20 bucks a bottle. And other cosmetics suited for my skin also aren’t cheap. And until recently, I couldn’t even get anything in MY STATE. And by recently I mean in the last 18 months.

    Black girl hair care for those of us who do natural is really expensive. And do not mention the gas I need to burn driving to a hairdresser who can actually DO MY HAIR. We’re talking Canada or Albany, both of which are quite a haul from me.

    And these aren’t even luxe items, they are HAVE TOs. If I want to get a job or an apartment or anything else I need to conform (in many cases) to standards of beauty and “professional” attire which involve purchasing products and upkeep, not required of white people

    So let’s not universalize or judge folks who do spend 25 bucks on nail polish (uh, guess what it’s not all created equal). Generally speaking, the only kind of cosmetics pigmented enough for my skin tone involves a trip to the department store and not Rite Aid.

    Yeah, but that’s privilege for you. Be real careful about trying to applying your experience to everyone else’s.

  179. “I paid into the system even when I was barely making it, and now I need it. No shame.”

    Beautifully said.

  180. @Hsofia, that to me almost makes it more offensive.

    You’ve gotten the kids to school, cleaned the bathroom and got dinner planned, can you have a latte? Fuck no! Can you go get your hair done so that you get to feel special and sexy? Are you kidding me, might as well burn that money! Can you go work out which actually gives you more energy, improves your sex drive and keeps you healthy? Not unless you were wealthy enough to have a complete home gym to begin with!

    How many articles do you see saying “Help Your Wife’s Budget With These Simple Money Tips!”? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one that says men shouldn’t go out for a beer, and rightly so because for people who need a lot of social interaction a beer with the buddies can be vital. Amazingly the same principle applies to the lattes and the gym.

    If they were useful and reasonable tips it would be great, but they’re shitty tips packaged in a shitty way. I prefer the ones stumbleupon keeps showing me that are things like “20 uses for that leftover foil!”

  181. RE Hipsters and food stamps – I actually don’t really see the need for judgment here. I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s on a budget (though not with food stamps) and find that if I am careful in what I buy, I can get the same quantities of food as I could for the same money at Safeway. Of course, this is a function of my privilege – I have access to those stores, I have the time to shop carefully at them and compare prices, I have the time to prepare what I buy, and I have the space and resources to do so. BUT none of those privileges are necessarily the kind that should disqualify one from food stamps. If someone is stuck in a chronic underemployment situation (the kind many people of all education levels are in these days), they may have that kind of time and access as well without negating their need for food stamps at that particular point in their lives.

  182. (Also, there’s a certain irony in complaining that people are buying too high quality food with food stamps after years of general societal panic about “THOSE WELFARE MOTHERS ARE JUST BUYING CHIPS AND SODA WITH MY TAX DOLLARS!!!1!” Seems like a lose/lose situation for food stamp recipients. Though I guess there’s always the classic “They can eat non-organic beans and rice for every meal for only 47 cents!”)

  183. @Alibelle – I’m not saying the content isn’t offensive, but that women are still often the ones trying to figure out how to make the money stretch. Whether that should or should not be the case is another question altogether.

    In general, magazines and newspapers have determined that their readership is the middle classes so why would they have money saving advice for those in poverty? They probably think they are serving the poor through their Sunday coupons. Fortunately, lots of low income folks are chronicling their money saving techniques in blogs and in newsletters – for free. I belong to a group of parents who regularly share resources with each other. Sometimes it’s helping each other move, or making meals for each other, providing respite care, sharing passes to events/sites, recipes, cleaning tips, freecycling, cutting each other in on wholesale opportunities, etc. This is how cash-strapped people have always functioned – by helping each other! Wow, what a concept.

    But there is no real incentive for mainstream magazines or newspapers to encourage this type of cooperation and resource sharing. Surely there is an irony to paying $4.99 for a Real Simple magazine issue that declares it will tell me to live better “on a budget.” If having a budget is a novelty for your readers, I don’t need to be reading your budget advice.

    Craigslist has probably done more to help broke people make the connections they need than the New York Times or NPR.

  184. @LilahMorgan – One of my siblings spends $50 for groceries for 8 weeks. He also shares meals with friends and family whenever possible. I went grocery shopping with him a few times, and I was humbled by what he did not buy. I would suggest spaghetti sauce and noodles, and he’d say “No, spaghetti sauce is too expensive.” Eggs, too. He eats oatmeal, rice, beans, peanut butter, ramen, tuna, and as much fresh fruit as he can afford. I’ve had to eat that way, too, when broke. When you’re broke, you don’t have a lot of choices. You may not get to eat what you want, but at least you get to eat. If someone wants to buy cake or orange juice, that is their prerogative and I won’t judge them for it. But I’ve been on food stamps before and to my mind, it makes sense to make the food money stretch as much as you can.

  185. “@ Heather – You may be right, people may save money by making these changes in their lives, and I agree with you about OPI being not one iota inferior to Chanel nail polish, but don’t you think, and please think carefully and don’t be getting upset, but don’t you think that, perhaps, articles like these are, well, insults to people’s intelligence? ”

    Yes, I can see how they would be insulting to people’s intelligence. I think my perspective may be skewed by the fact that I live in San Francisco. I sometimes lose sight of how different this place is from other places.

    While that advice is probably not useful for many in the U.S., in this city, it’s probably on target. Many, many people seem (or at least act as if) they are unable to differentiate between a want and a need.
    I live in the Castro and you’d be hard pressed to find many people in this neighborhood who don’t see a gym membership as a necessity. And it isn’t because they think they can’t get exercise other ways. I’ve heard many times that the Gold’s gym in the Castro is the center of gay life in S.F. More specifically, the steamroom there. :-)

    So yes, I was wrong. That sort of advice has nothing to do with the lives that most people in this country lead. My perspective is shaped by where I live and the company I keep. And I don’t think either of those is average for most women my age in this country.

    “People know what they buy, unless sleep-shopping is a new side-effect caused by Ambien. ”

    I know you were joking, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I recently was prescribed Ambien, and the possible side effects are–if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought it was something out of the Onion. Driving, having sex, sending e-mails and eating are some of the things people have done and had no memory of while using Ambien. Doing some on-line shopping? I’d be surprised if that hasn’t happened yet.

  186. Heather: you’re really NOT getting it.

    While that advice is probably not useful for many in the U.S., in this city, it’s probably on target. Many, many people seem (or at least act as if) they are unable to differentiate between a want and a need.

    Wtf? There are no people of color in SF? Where are you hanging out. Please reread my previous response to you, since it seems as though you IGNORED it the first time. You’re off the mark here and you’re engaged in universalizing YOUR experiences despite being given CLEAR evidence that it is not true.

    So yes, I was wrong. That sort of advice has nothing to do with the lives that most people in this country lead. My perspective is shaped by where I live and the company I keep. And I don’t think either of those is average for most women my age in this country.

    So let me guess, they are all white?

  187. You may not get to eat what you want, but at least you get to eat. If someone wants to buy cake or orange juice, that is their prerogative and I won’t judge them for it. But I’ve been on food stamps before and to my mind, it makes sense to make the food money stretch as much as you can.

    Well, I’m not disagreeing per se, but I’d say it makes sense to stretch the money as far as you need it to stretch. If you can stretch it to buying cake or orange juice without sacrificing nutrition, why not? I think we can use stuff like that to say that maybe the government food stamps guidelines need to be revised (which I don’t know enough to have an opinion on), but why judge the individuals involved if there’s no deceit involved in how they qualify (which the article didn’t have any suggestion of)?

  188. “I don’t know about that. Foundation for my skin that doesn’t turn to chalk costs at least 20 bucks a bottle. And other cosmetics suited for my skin also aren’t cheap. And until recently, I couldn’t even get anything in MY STATE. And by recently I mean in the last 18 months.”

    “Black girl hair care for those of us who do natural is really expensive. And do not mention the gas I need to burn driving to a hairdresser who can actually DO MY HAIR. We’re talking Canada or Albany, both of which are quite a haul from me.

    “And these aren’t even luxe items, they are HAVE TOs. If I want to get a job or an apartment or anything else I need to conform (in many cases) to standards of beauty and “professional” attire which involve purchasing products and upkeep, not required of white people.

    Yeah, but that’s privilege for you. Be real careful about trying to applying your experience to everyone else’s.”

    I can’t believe I made such a big mistake. I should have thought of this. Why? Because I’m black; I know exactly what you’re talking about.

    I know that it’s hard to find the right cosmetics in the drugstore. I suppose because I don’t use makeup often, it didn’t occur to me. One $16 pot of concealer lasts me 4 months.
    I still use the same lipstick, eye shadow, blush, etc. that a makeup artist friend got me from MAC several years ago–he got a 40% discount, so it didn’t cost me any more than the stuff from Walgreens.

    I wear my hair natural and have for years. I was lucky enough to stumble onto forums about natural hair, where women had tried so many different things, and provided recipes for making my own stuff, cheaply. So I don’t have the expenses many black women do. Where do you live that you can’t find what you need in the whole state? That’s got to be distressing.

    You were talking about another kind of privilege, but I suppose it is a privilege that, even though I’m black, I don’t have to do the kind of things many other black women do.

  189. @LilahMorgan – but why judge the individuals involved if there’s no deceit involved in how they qualify (which the article didn’t have any suggestion of)?

    I am pretty clear about not judging people for the food they buy. It’s none of my business. There’s nothing wrong with buying cake or orange juice (I just had both this morning). You had commented on “beans and rice” for cheap as if it were silly advice. I don’t think it is. If you don’t have much money and you are trying to feed yourself (and your family), beans and rice makes more sense than cake and OJ in that, dollar for dollar, it will make more meals.

  190. Oh no, I don’t think it’s silly advice either, in theory. I just have seen a lot of discussions that devolve into “I don’t know why people are complaining about food costs. Poor people can just make a huge pot of beans and rice each day and feed themselves for pennies!” Which, obviously, ignores a number of realities and is kind of nasty and dehumanizing. So, good advice for someone looking for advice to feed themselves frugally; bad social policy argument, I guess.

  191. @Heather

    Oh thank god. I thought that’s what was going on, but YOU DIDN’T SAY SO. I have to do that mod thing and tease shit out. Whew.

    Thanks and my bad.

    okay, so what stuff are you using on your hair? I use Carol’s Daughter mostly because it doesn’t involve getting into a car and driving anywhere since I can order online.

  192. @LilahMorgan – agreed.
    @Heather – I haven’t been to a salon in two years. I’ve not had a relaxer for almost ten years and it sucks that I seem to be the most qualified person in a 200 mile radius to do my hair. Thank goodness for the internet … I was surprised to discover that there are now a ton of YouTube videos of black women doing stuff to their hair. Times sure have changed. I don’t mess with my hair much, and I keep it low cost with basically olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, henna, a few conditioners, and water.

  193. Oooh. I need to check those out. hsofia, it seems we’re in the same boat, distance wise. Though it’s only been about three years au natural. It’s so fun, but lots of work to keep it looking the way I like it.

  194. @snarkysmachine – In my experience, black women like to change it up quite a bit. I complained once about being bored with my hair in a room full of white friends and they were like, ARE YOU KIDDING? I look at photos of myself over the last ten years and there are so many different styles, lengths, textures, whereas most of my white friends have had two or three styles – bob, really short, or long (worn in ponytail or just straight). I don’t know what that’s all about, but my black friends and I just aren’t satisfied with a single ‘do. And I’m not even a hair diva; I refuse to spend more than 15 minutes a day on my hair – most days I don’t spend more than a minute on it.

    A lot of my mom and dad friends are taking their tykes off for their first and second haircuts, and I’m just like, uhh, no. My daughter’s hair isn’t at all textured like mine, but it is very curly and I’ve looked at every photo of every place that specializes in cutting children’s hair within a 50 mile radius, and can you believe that not ONE website has even ONE photo of the stylists working with a curly haired kid? Not even a white, curly haired kid! I guess curly haired people don’t need to get their hair cut; it just breaks off on its own at straight, 1/8 inch intervals every two months. WTF? Now I finally get why there is a “mixed chicks” hair products line.

  195. OK, I’m way late and this may now be kind of OT, but another word that bugs me is”snapped” to describe a woman who had any type of major emotional or physical outburst. No, I don’t want to hear it even if she killed someone (particularly if that someone was a male partner who had been abusive to her for years). Do men ever “snap?” I guess they have their own cliches, like “he was such a nice quiet guy,” but I don’t think they “snap” – probably because it’s often also stated or implied that the woman “snapped” because of her hormones. And of course, as noted above, men don’t have those.

  196. @Jenonymous – “Tell him it’s under your pelvic carpeting.”

    LOL!!! But women aren’t supposed to HAVE pelvic carpeting. It’s all been waxed smooth, and then vajazzled.

  197. @anotherkate – there’s a whole tv series called Snapped! (About women who have “snapped.”) I always took it to be that women are supposed to be loving, nice, and nurturing – and when they kill their boyfriend/children/mother, it can only be because they’ve “snapped!” I agree with you; this word needs to be retired in the media.

    My on-topic contribution to this thread: “Armed shooter.” Because … what the fuck other type of shooter is there?

  198. “My on-topic contribution to this thread: “Armed shooter.” Because … what the fuck other type of shooter is there?”

    I don’t know, but my instant reaction is that somehow they use their toes to shoot their guns. To assume the use of hands is a form of ableism, isn’t it?

  199. “Oh thank god. I thought that’s what was going on, but YOU DIDN’T SAY SO. I have to do that mod thing and tease shit out. Whew.

    Thanks and my bad.”

    No not at all. I felt pretty stupid when I realized I had left out some pertinent details. :-)

    “okay, so what stuff are you using on your hair? I use Carol’s Daughter mostly because it doesn’t involve getting into a car and driving anywhere since I can order online.”

    What I’m using now–a mixture of different brands. Pantene shampoo. Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner. When I twist my hair, I use either Kinky Curling Custard, or Miss Jessie’s unscented curly pudding. I was lucky to get a sort of sampler of Miss Jessie’s stuff, because otherwise I never would have tried it. Their prices are kind of high.

    The deep conditioner was, literally, the *best* conditioner I’ve used in my life. Seriously. But once the samples were gone, I couldn’t bring myself to pay $48!!! for the regular size. I’m told that’s for the huge size they use in hair salons, but I still couldn’t do it.

    Carol’s Daughter–I use one of their moisturizers (for hair, not skin), but I can’t recall which one now. I want to say one with lemongrass, but I could be wrong.

    I’m going to have to look into some new stuff soon. I got the Kinky Curling Custard, Mixed Chicks conditioner, and Miss Jessie’s when I was in New York for Christmas. There’s a natural salon here that sells Miss Jessie’s, but the others I’ve never seen for sale here. I think I’ll look into Carol’s Daughter again–they do have those here, at Sephora.

    I read nappturality.com–the ladies there are amazing. Quite a few have come up with their own recipes for curly pudding, moisturizer, etc.

  200. @Twistie – Hmm. I don’t think it’s ableism because “armed” refers to the firearm, not to the limb.

  201. “@Twistie – Hmm. I don’t think it’s ableism because “armed” refers to the firearm, not to the limb.”

    @hsofia: Yeah, the bit that got left off that was the smiley to let everyone know I was just being a brat. I’ll try to remember that next time.

  202. On black people’s hair: I had no idea that it’s sheer luck that we live in an area (of the UK) with a high density of hairdressers specifically for black people’s hair – there are both black men’s and black women’s places just down the road from me, two of each that I can think of offhand. And it’s not a very black area, either – black people are definitely an “ethnic minority” here, as are Indian and Pakistani people, though not quite as small a group as East Asian.

    That’s quite an eye-opener to me. I assume other areas of the UK have none at all, where before now I was assuming we were typical here…

  203. Ailbhe, that was one thing I noticed when I visited! It was wonderful. There were lots of different choices in terms what kinds of things you wanted to do. It was the first place I found a salon specializing in cultivating unprocessed hair (I should stop saying “natural” since it denotes judgment) but I was still too scared to do it at the time.

  204. The words “sassy” and “sass” can go. And disparaging remarks about teenage girls as the lowest and most emptyheaded forms of life. Along with any gratuitous reference to girglymcgirlgirl cocktails like cosmopolitans and mimosas, referring to women as “girls”, all that fucking “wars” crap (as mentioned above), the assumption that women only work for pin money and shoes, and any and all witty references to chicks smelling like fish, hurr hurr.

    Oh, and “panties”. Just because.

  205. I’ve been annoyed by the substitution of “passed” for “died”. I’m not sure if it’s just that I don’t like euphemisms, or if there’s something else off about it.

    Can’t speak for you, but for me it’s because “passed” is also a term for urination and defecation.

  206. Also: I get pissed off about financial advice articles for unemployed women because I don’t do any of that shit anyway. Any of it. At all. I don’t have a daily (or monthly or yearly) latte, I don’t get my hair done (ever), I don’t go out with my friends (at all), and I spend weeks figuring out if I can afford to go to the thrift store to buy new clothes. I remember when I was engaged and someone on my wedding planning community posted a list of ways to save extra cash for the wedding and it was all shit like, stop going to the movies, get Netflix instead. Don’t go out to dinner, invite friends over and cook for them! All shit I couldn’t afford to do replaced with slightly cheaper shit I couldn’t afford to do.

    To be perfectly honest, I’m all depressed now because I’m hearing that if I don’t do this expensive shit that I literally do not have the money for (no not even a $10 haircut), I will never get a job. And that means I’m stuck in this shitty situation for the rest of my life.

  207. snarksymachine: I didn’t exactly notice it – I moved from Ireland before anyone immigrated into Ireland (EMigration is the fine old Irish tradition, after all), so everyone was white except maybe three black people in the whole country, to London and environs where there was a big mix — so it just made sense to me that there’d be black hairdressers and sari shops and Chinese supermarkets, because there were black people with hair and women wearing saris and East Asian people cooking food.

    I find it really strange that the same isn’t true in the US, since there are, you know, lots of black people there, with hair, and all.

    Around here, black children (especially girls) have the tidiest hair. It’s obviously a really important thing.

  208. Timothy: Vaginas are dirty. (Sometimes, if there’s an infection, yes, they smell like decaying yuck, but in general, they smell like vaginas. Self-cleaning organ and all that.) If you can convince enough people that vaginas and vulvas are dirty and gross no-one will need to respect them or think they deserve care and attention, which suits the status quo nicely.

  209. I am starting to enjoy making “Mad Libs” with the ridiculous “10 things …” type titles, by adding “in bed” at the end. I’m sure someone else has already played out this joke, but it totally reminds me of how fatuous most of these articles are.

    10 things nobody every tells you in bed
    10 places to find lost hope in bed
    10 things men do to confuse you in bed

    and so forth.

  210. Actually…adding a post while officially everyone is on a break feels like riding a bike around your school playground during the long summer holidays when the school is closed. I did that several times as child, and even had a few free goes on the swings and the climbing frames when no-one was looking. Heaven.

  211. “I find it really strange that the same isn’t true in the US, since there are, you know, lots of black people there, with hair, and all.”

    It depends where in the U.S. you are. Someplace like New York City/Northern New Jersey, where a large percentage of the population is black, you have no problems. (this is where I used to live). Lots of black hairdressers, products for black hair are widely available in most drugstores/supermarkets, etc. But when you go to areas which have a smaller percentage of black people, you don’t have the same options. If only 7% of the population in a place is black (like San Francisco, where I live now) you don’t have as much available. That said, right across the bay in Oakland, there is a much larger black population and of course, so you can walk into any Walgreens for the products you want, and there are many more hairdressers to choose from.

  212. “all witty references to chicks smelling like fish”

    Yes! Those damned feminine hygiene commercials that pray on women’s insecurities about their nether regions smelling bad. THOSE MUST END.

    I get pissed of every time I see them. I don’t understand how they can keep selling that’s unnecessary. They encourage women to do things (like douching or spraying flowery deodorant crap) that ob/gyns say do more harm than good. Hello yeast infection! Come on in!! We’ve got your room all made up for you.

    So I’d like to see a PSA that basically says ‘Ladies if you smell like fish …that’s NOT normal. You need to see a doctor. Please stop wasting your money on companies that clearly HATE women and their cooches.’ Brought to you by the Society for the Prevention of Vagina Torture’.

  213. “I don’t understand how they can keep selling that’s unnecessary.”

    Should have said ‘I don’t understand how they can keep selling stuff that’s not necessary.’

  214. @fatsmartchick: ‘I don’t understand how they can keep selling stuff that’s not necessary.’

    It’s not just the “feminine hygiene” garbage… but that must be quite a racket! I wonder how many of the douches and sprays and other vile products are owned by the same corporations that sell the yeast infection and UTI treatments for the irritations they cause?

  215. @Flightless- lol indeed. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    One of the products called ‘Refresh’ are feminine hygiene wipes. Their purpose? To use after sex, your period, AND DOUCHING. Now, its not even enough to douche. You may still smell!

  216. @fatsmartchick, does “Refresh” come in pine-scented? I’d like to match my kitchen floor and car upholstery.

  217. @ Snarky’s Machine – I LOVE your avatar photograph. You not only look beautiful and charming, but like the true wit you are.

    @ Heather – Ditto about living in New York and having many different kinds of salons in your neighborhood. I live in the Harlem neighborhood of Sugar Hill, and we have salons for everybody. Or so I thought. I am student teaching at a school that is literally two blocks from my home, and the kids have figured this out (or I told them, whatever). So, many afternoons these days I am obliged to sit on my front stoop with a small cadre of fourth and fifth graders, eating pineapple out of a box and having iced tea, doing maths lessons. Their parents know, it’s OK – they know I’m that kooky, nice, harmless teacher lady who does tutoring for free. So, Jewell, aged ten, asks me yesterday, “Mrs Krishna, why you have so much hair on your arms? Are you a gorilla?”
    “I’m an Indian person. We do well at growing hair.”
    “You’re Indian? That’s where weaves come from.”
    “You saw Chris Rock’s movie?”
    “Yeah, I saw it with my mama, my daddy, my grandma, and my brother.”
    “What did you think about it?”
    “I think what he was trying to say is that black people can have nice looking hair without having long hair, or chemicals, and it’s all about looking nice, not about having long hair.”
    “That’s true.”
    “Do you sell your hair, Mrs Krishna?”
    “You think anybody wants to buy my hair, Jewell?”
    “I’d buy your hair!”
    “What on earth would you do with it?”
    “I’d eat it because it smells like food!”
    “It might get stuck in your teeth.”
    “But really, where you get your hair done, Mrs Krishna? Where they do hair for people like you around here?”
    “I do it at home.”
    “And your husband doesn’t get mad at you?”
    “I clean up after myself.”
    “You always stay so calm, Mrs Krishna. I like that about you.”
    And that, of course, made me all happy and what-have-you, but I realized that Jewell knew something that I didn’t. I would have to go all the way down to 120th street to get my hair done if I didn’t do it myself. Good thing my husband doesn’t get mad.

  218. I didnt actually mean to say “sounds” I meant to say “sound”…you can say it in a Blues voice and it works though.

  219. @ paintmonkey – Just because I’m a teacher, that doesn’t mean that I’m fixated on grammar! Thanks for the compliment :)

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