What worries me is that we seem to think that one should not say certain things because it is “offensive”, when the reality is that we shouldn’t tolerate certain language choices because it is detrimental to a person or group’s self-esteem and identity.
Growing up, when someone said “like a girl” they meant “weak”. So growing up I didn’t want to be “like a girl” because I didn’t want to be weak. Now, when people say “like a girl” as a negative in front of my daughter I call them out- vehemently. And it isn’t because I find it offensive- which I do- it is because they don’t have the right to fill my child’s head with self doubt. They don’t get to undermine everything I am working for just so they don’t have to think- really think about what their words truly mean when one stops to take into consideration what the words are standing in for- before they speak.
It isn’t about protecting people’s feelings or their right to free speech. It is about protecting my child’s self worth in a society that continually seeks to make femininity synonymous with less-than.
As I read it, this post isn’t about a word being offensive, it is about the use of a word being detrimental to the feminine identity.