And those meanings matter
When I remember to do it, I try to address my complains against radical feminists at them — “radical feminists.” The original idea of female equality isn’t something I have a problem with. I’m fine with women being treated like people, owning property, whatever. We can’t have different laws for different people because when we do things tend to get ugly and fast. The last thing we need is a government creating strife between citizens. The reason for this distinction, though, comes from a word used for my people that has been misappropriated: hacker.
Whenever I am addressing a group, I always try to remember to aim my anger at the proper people within that group. Radical feminists, not all feminists. Crazy women, not all women. Low-T whiny MRAs, not all MRAs (this one is the hardest to remember). You see, I consider my self a hacker in the classical sense — as defined here — because that largely describes my relationship with computers. The term most people mean when they say hacker is actually cracker, as in someone who cracks the security of a system (think “safe cracker.”)
But the media decided to steal the word hacker. Now any time someone does something foolish with a computer, or invades someone else’s cyberlawn, we get to hear about how “Anonymous hackers did…” whatever the deed was. That’s annoying as hell to me. The word doesn’t mean that. And usually they aren’t even crackers so much as script kiddies — people using someone else’s program to exploit a flaw in a system. No work was done on their end, it’s the cracking equivalent of a retweet or e-mail forward.
Out of my sense of annoyance and general respect for others (stop laughing), I try and extend this courtesy to them as well. If there are nuts in a group I do not let that taint the entire group. There are a great, great deal of people out there who think of feminism as meaning equal rights for women. They are not wrong just because some fat psychopaths on the internet say all penetrative sex is rape. (Similarly, a great deal of them would object strenuously to the false-rape-hysteria going around because they recognize the detriment this does to actual victims.)
With MRAs I am trying to do the same now. There are indeed issues on the man side that need to be addressed — paternity fraud should not be allowed, anywhere. No one should ever have to pay alimony if they are cheated on, and no-fault divorce should not result in a person being savaged by the courts. I would say this attitude should go both ways because I’ve seen more than one woman get a raw deal. Anecdotes aren’t data, but it can happen given the right circumstances and a wrong is a wrong, regardless of gender.
Not all men are in my tribe, after all. There are a great deal of men — some even call themselves MRAs — that I do not want to be associated with. There are also a great deal of very whiny men on the internet, complaining and blame-shifting and they are just as annoying and insidious as the radical feminists out there saying stupid shit about men.
As an aside here, while I’m on the topic. One of the greatest sins against our fellow men that we commit is to allow them to be a bunch of whiny pussies who never take responsibility for their own faults and actions. This deprives them of their ability to fix their faults and correct the course they are on. That’s why I am so adamant about calling out this attitude of self-entitled self-pity I see on the internet. It is easy for men to fall into this when there is a bit of anonymity between them and the people they seek pity from. I don’t think many, if any, of them would cry to my face about some of these things.
Also, here’s the harsh truth about divorce: if your spouse isn’t satisfied in your marriage, either you are not up to snuff or your spouse is crazy and unappreciative and you will be better off single. If it is the former case you need to fucking fix yourself and if it is the latter then you are now free to pursue someone better so stop whining about it. Why the hell do you want to be with a person that doesn’t want you if you are worth their time? If you aren’t worth their time, why the hell should they want you?
Rant over, back to words having meaning.
Words having meaning comes into play in other areas, too, not just group labels. For example, some words have no meaning but are assigned mythical status — “assault weapon” is one such term. But other times people misuse a term or don’t understand it — “semi-automatic.” There are important reasons for people to know this sort of thing. It extends through out life, those are just the two that have been in the media and popped into my head.
The meanings behind words are becoming more important as more of our communication is through text interfaces — websites (including forums, comment sections, and social media), texts, e-mails — is that we are losing the non-verbal portion of our communication. I don’t so much think there has been a rise in people on the spectrum as there has been a rise in people unable to get that extra context from body language and tone. We’ve lost that in swaths of our society, and we are more dependent on ways to communicate without seeing one another.
The rise of video chat may well forestall the erasure of it from our consciousness, but in the mean time people need to be sure of what they are saying. Be sure of the words you use to convey an idea. I would also recommend that people expand their vocabulary — always continue learning. It’s good for your brain.
Words have meaning, because without that meaning we’re just typing up shapes or making sounds.