In Which I Use Bad Words and Am Almost a Feminist

There are many wonderful words and phrases in the English language, including slang words and expressions which are still evolving and adapting with time even as we speak (pun intended =). Even though I teach grammar and I love studying much older forms of English literature, I get that language is evolving and that meanings and connotations of words can change over time. For example, to us the word “fond” means “affectionate”. It used to mean “foolish”. To be fond of someone was to be affectionate to the point of foolishness. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fond Now, I like knowing the history of the word and it helps me understand older texts, but I am going to use the modern understanding in daily conversation (most of the time ;).

However, the modern usage of one word in particular really grates on me and I especially cringe when I hear it used to apply to brothers in Christ. I do not know how many times I have heard people joking around or complementing each other in a fond way and say, “You are such a stud” or “That boy is such a stud”. Because I went to a Christian college, most of the times I heard it used was when Christians were referring to other Christians. Have you stopped to think about what that means? The slang term refers to a man who is very sexually active and promiscuous. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stud Do you really want to describe your Christian brother, boyfriend, or friend as being very sexually active? Now this is probably about when you are thinking, “Wait, you just admitted that meanings and connotations of words evolve. So, calling them a stud really just means I think they are cool or attractive.” Well, in a way, that is true. Urban Dictionary has mixed results with some definitions specifying sexual activity and some based more on the “cool” factor. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Stud And yeah, there is some language in that link if you choose to follow it.

But here is what really infuriates me, the double standard. Think about it. A stud is defined as a guy who sleeps around, but if you take that part out of the definition, what connotations are left? He is also considered attractive, charismatic, handsome, datable, popular, etc. with possibly a slight negative connotation of not being very smart. What would people call a girl who sleeps around? … A slut. What if someone called your sister, girlfriend, or friend a slut? If you confronted them and they said they don’t really think the girl in question sleeps around, but were referring to her overall personality, would you be appeased and let it go? If you take away that main part of the definition, what subtle meanings or connotations are left? The person is saying the girl is immoral, unfaithful, trashy, cheap, desperate, and with low standards. I don’t even want to include the link to that Urban Dictionary definition. In short, the word defining a sexually active man has several positive connotations, implying it is okay and even good for men to be sexually promiscuous while the connotations for the word defining a sexually active female imply that it is wrong and shameful for a woman to be sexually active. No matter what your view on sexual behavior is, you have to acknowledge that this is a double standard. Unfortunately, our words are indicative of what our culture feels or thinks way down deep, even if they would not express it openly or in more blunt terms. I would urge you to consider this degrading double standard and not perpetuate it by the flippant use of words.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12608598@N02/8681213555″>NYC Subway Shoes</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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Darkness Hides more than Defects

This year, I have had the opportunity to experience many new things culturally. Last week, I had my most stretching cultural experience yet, and I probably didn’t need to come all the way to Mexico to experience it. I went to a bar with some friends with whom I had just eaten dinner. Feel free to ask me about that, it is actually quite funny now looking back on it because I just held an empty cup the whole time so I didn’t look too out of place.

After we left, we had to go into an Oxxo convenience store to withdraw some money for the taxi home. The bright fluorescent lighting was quite the contrast to the dark bar with pulsing colored lights. I was with three other teachers and two Mexican men from one of their churches. One of the guys looked at us and said, “Wow, you girls are a lot more attractive in this light!” He had been sarcastic and joking most of the night, but now he defended himself and insisted he was not teasing. Aside from the girl who goes to his church, he had just met us that evening and we’d eaten our dinner outside so he actually had not seen us in the light.

It made me think about how while darkness can hide defects, which offers some security, it cannot make something beautiful. In fact, the darkness does not just obscure blemishes, but also true beauty where it is present. Hiding in the darkness will nullify the beauty of appearance and character. Light and truth reveals beauty, not just gives a poor illusion of it like darkness does. Children of light, let your light shine before men. (Matthew 5:16) When a lamp is lit, you do not cover it. You put it on a stand and it reveals and illuminates everything, the good and the bad (Luke 11:33). The light of the gospel will reveal hidden sin which is embarrassing to reveal, but it will also reveal the beauty of the gospel and the wonderful splendor of Christ in us.

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