Harry Hope's Saloon

This blog takes it's name from the setting for O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh -- a lousy gin-mill; a smoked-out, greasy dive where the habitues have all landed, it seems, permanently. Their lives, in each case, are paralyzed by fear and laziness. Like my own.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Using my Words

My buddy Jeremy Goard, read the last post, In the Company of Women, and scrupled a little bit over my use of the word "effeminate" to describe the image of Christ on the cross. Jeremy thinks the word conveys the wrong sense for what I want, as too often it is used pejoratively to indicate the swishy, lisping qualities of the gay "girlie man" (this, I swear, is the only time I will ever use this ridiculously fashionable phrase) stereotype.

Actaully, I picked that word with special care, just in order to rescue it, if possible, from such associations. But if that is not possible, if it will help me keep the sense I mean, I am happy to concede and use "feminine" instead.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger J. Goard said...

For the record, it's not "swishing" or "lisping" that I mind in the images evoked by the word "effeminate". What I see there is the perversion of stereotypically feminine qualities (soothing wounds, making a pacific and hospitable environment) toward the kind of blithely vicious one-upmanship that already taints traditionally masculine activities. Basically, I see a group of diva fags shunning another because of his togs, and another diva fag refusing to wield a hammer because s/he's too delicate. (You will, I hope, notice that this notion of effeminacy applies not just to the gay male sterotype, but to many types of woman as well.)

Whether a word should be "rescued" is often an interesting question, but why can't we just talk about integrating feminine attributes into a population of men who are (perhaps disingenuously) extremely masculine?


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