Brianne Day had some feedback about the women in wine article she featured in. A man emailed to admonish her for using coarse language (‘sucking dick’). He put it in the nicest possible way while reassuring her it had nothing to do with gender.
Brianne’s response, I think, is important as it highlights how difficult it is for some people to grasp the essence of the argument.
It’s quoted in full…
Language is an interesting tool and each time I use it I view it as such. I believe that the language one uses should be appropriate for the situation. For example, if I were describing a graphically violent war scene, if I was present for the situation and I saw what was happening with my own eyes, the words I would use to describe it would have to be graphic. Those words might disturb some people, but they would need to be graphic and perhaps gory to be an accurate depiction of the situation.
You were offended by my words by I think you missed the actual offensive point of the story. A man came, uninvited, into my private space while I was working at something I love to do. He invaded my space with offensive, pointed and personal questions about who I was, what I was doing and how could I possibly have gotten there. He was incredulous that a young woman could have accomplished what I have. He persisted in directing questions at my male intern, and presumed that the male intern was the one responsible for the situation. His behavior was the shocking and offensive thing – and because I am a woman, his questioning literally implied that I received my business and my winery by some other means. His probing led me to believe that he wanted me to say that my parents left it to me, that a husband was backing me, that some man was responsible. His inappropriate behavior and questions led me to turn to my intern and say the quote mentioned in the article after he left. And why? Because he was treating me like the only way I was capable of achieving what I have is by whoring myself out and having some man make it possible.
Perhaps instead of immediately jumping to whatever conclusion you think is appropriate and choosing to share it with those around you, you should reexamine your priorities and look at the truly offensive parts of language other than silly little words that make inconsequential sounds. My language was well thought out and if it was shocking it should be – it was describing absolutely disgusting, shocking behavior. I wanted it to be shocking – I was shocked. I wanted the listener/reader to be shocked by what happened.
Your five granddaughters are going to experience similar behavior from men who believe that a woman is only capable to accomplishing what a man allows her to. They are going to need to use all of the tools at their disposal, including their language, to empower themselves to rise above the patriarchal domination that women in our country still endure – although which is thankfully dwindling. I hope you will encourage them to do so.