Feminism: Words Matter

[Content Note: Rape, Racism, Prisons] 

Words matter.

A group of people upset or angry or negatively interested in something is not the same thing as an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob motivated by a desire to intimidate, control, and terrorize a population of marginalized people. It is not appropriate to call things that aren't an actual lynching a lynching or a lynch mob just because the words sound nice and inflammatory when you're defensive about something or someone receiving negative attention.

Relevant example: Using the word "lynch mob" to describe people who believe a rape victim's testimony. 

The outcome of a sporting event or an unfair decision on the part of an authority figure or the expectation of a state or country that its residents render taxes to subsidize the governance of the area is not the same thing as sexual assault carried out on a person against their consent or in the absence of their consent. It is not appropriate to call things that aren't rape or related assaults against bodily consent rape just because the r-word is short and punchy.

Relevant example: Using the word "rape" to describe an overwhelming victory in a gaming match.

A group of people meeting together for a short-length but intensive-depth training session is not the same thing as a military training camp for almost exclusively able-bodied people, nor is it the same thing as a prison for underage people incapable of exercising their non-consent at being locked up in that place and who were placed there against their will because they were deemed dangerous to society and/or were deemed non-conforming with social expectations of body weight, body size, body shape, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any number of other "offenses" for which underage teens and children are sent to prison because of their failure to conform to the desires of their parents. It is not appropriate to call things which aren't actual boot camps boot camps just because the word sounds really hardcore and intense. It's also not alright to elide the actual, genuine, real problems with boot camps and their use in our society.

Relevant example: Using the word "bootcamp" to describe "a weeklong opportunity for bloggers and organizers to come together to learn about business and financial structures from leading experts, examine social business case studies, such as Change.org and Purpose, and get preliminary training in fundraising and development."

I encourage people in the comments to discuss similar frequently misused words, but do please remember to use content notes. 


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