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The Wonderful, Wacky World of Fem-Speak

by Carey Roberts    --show me more like this

Welcome to Femlandia, fellow traveler! On today's tour, we'll be visiting the enchanting place where the natives speak an exotic dialect known as Fem-Speak.

To get around in Femlandia, you must master a little Fem-Vocabulary, Fem-Statistics, and Fem-Logic. Are you ready?

There are three key words in Fem-Vocabulary. Pay close attention now, because these words have different meanings from their English counterparts:

1. Feminist: In the English language, "feminine" refers to a woman who is polite, modest, and comely. But in Fem-Speak, "feminist" has the exact opposite connotation: demanding, angry, and unkempt.

2. Equality: In English, equality refers to open and equal opportunity. But in Fem-Speak, equality refers to statistical uniformity that is enforceable with rigid quotas. Feminists will apply this term to women's issues and concerns, but then will refuse to discuss it in relation to men.

3. Gender: This word actually has three meanings: 1. Male or female biological sex 2. Social differences between men and women that are learned, as in "gender roles" 3. Pertaining to the radical feminist ideology

Gender is one of the most popular words in Fem-Speak because no one knows for sure which interpretation you are using (www.sydneyline.com/Language%20Wars.htm). Just ponder the phrase, "gender equality." Consider the many permutations of meaning this innocent-looking expression contains!

In Fem-Speak, it is perfectly acceptable to use words and expressions with female derivations, such as Mother Earth, mother-tongue, mother lode, ladybug, sister city, "necessity is the mother of invention," and so on.

But Fem-Speak prohibits any word or phrase with a male connotation, such as mankind, manpower, middleman, or "man the ramparts." Breaking this linguistic convention is a violation of what feminists call "speech codes," and can invite the imposition of legal sanctions.

And did you catch my use of the word "master" in the first paragraph of this travel guide? My friend, that is a word you should never use in Femlandia. Not only does it have masculine implications, but it also contains allusions to the dreaded hierarchy.

Once you grasp the basic vocabulary, you are now ready for a lesson in Fem-Statistics. Fem-Statistics is easy once you understand this one basic rule: Always give percentages in multiples of 10 -- like 30%.

So what if the actual number is, say, 53%? No problem, you can round up or round down -- whatever makes your statement sound better.

And what if that number doesn't feel right? Again, no problem. Use whatever number you want! Remember that in Femlandia, truth is deemed to be a linear, socially-constructed concept. So feel free to be creative.

Now on to Fem-Logic.

Fem-Logic can be described as any discussion that presents information out of context, introduces irrelevant concepts, and eventually reaches a conclusion that bears no relationship to common sense. And if you want to elevate the statement to the level of Revealed Truth, just preface your comment with the two magic words, "I feel."

This can be illustrated by way of example.

A couple weeks ago I heard some people talking about athletics. One man was arguing that men are biologically stronger and faster, which gives them an inherent advantage in sports such as sprinting. But the persons from Femlandia said he could not possibly be right, because his reasoning did not comport with the Fem-Speak definition of equality.

So after a few moments of thought, one person responded: "I feel that women surpass men in endurance sports. We may not run as fast, but we run more efficiently and have more pelvic strength."

Did you get that?

In Fem-Speak, it's perfectly fine to simultaneously espouse opposite views. For example, you can talk about women being strong and independent. And then you can turn around and argue that women are victims who require constant governmental help and legal protection. Femlandists see no contradiction in those two statements.

Finally, a word of counsel. In Femlandia, you should never question or doubt the truth of a denizen's statement. For these persons are said to possess A Woman's Way of Knowing.

Fem-Speak is a rich, emotive language, filled with subtlety and nuance. And with luck, fellow traveler, all of us will soon be thinking in Fem-Speak.

Copyright © 2004
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