i like to think i'm generally pretty conscious of oppressive language - i don't spend time with people who use words like retarded or lame, i think about the history of words, not just how they're used now (see my embroidery piece about the word "pimp"), i ask people not to use offensive terms around me, etc, but crazy, insane, nuts, etc still slip by my radar way more often than i'd like.
i have mixed feelings about a lot of the misogyny and body hate and consumerism mixed in with new year's resolutions, and for a long time adamantly refused to make any, but in the last few years i've seen the value of self reflection and making commitments to yourself (though i still don't think it has to be january 1st! why not your birthday? or one of the solstices?).
but anyway, the base of pretty much everyone's resolutions are to improve themselves in some way. no one resolves to be an asshole more often, right? i'm still thinking on new year's resolutions for this year - the first one is to keep my house clean, so i've been frantically cleaning for two days to be able to start off fresh.
but improvement is pretty much the base of my overall new year's resolutions, which are really just continuations of previous personal commitments anyway. i want to live my life as honestly, authentically and affectionately as i can. i want to be proud of the things i've said and done, of the messages i send out into the world, of the people i let into my life. i want to be conscious of my privilege, and to accept feedback about it graciously. i never want to perpetuate oppression in any way, either directly or indirectly.
which leads me back to the first few paragraphs of this post. oppressive language.
i'm going to quote from the pimp post, because i was apparently feeling pretty eloquent when i wrote that -
words have power. words are SO freaking powerful. remember as kids "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me"? what about "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can break my heart"? changing your language is an incredibly powerful political act. refusing to use or promote oppressive language, THINKING about what the words you say mean, those things lead to so much more. your language is something that YOU can control, regardless of what laws are passed, what funding is unavailable, what
okay, go back, and read that again. seriously.
maranda, who's pretty fucking fabulous, wrote an amazing post about the word crazy, that i totally recommend that you go check out.
and if you're new to thinking about language and oppression, especially in the context of dis/ability, FWD, Feminists With Disabilities, has a great series about ableist language, including some words that i'm sure you've never stopped to think about before.
this year, take some time for self reflection, and go further than the usual "i'm gonna get healthier" type of resolution. personally, i'm much more interested in emotional and spiritual health anyway.