50 karmaJoined Sep 2023


An active EA's anon account


(Just a flag that it feels a bit weird to edit your comments after I'd replied to them without flagging the edits you're making. I am trying to respond to the substance of what you're saying.)

Yeah, I take the feedback that I could have framed it more as "using this word in this way could come off as derogatory, even if you didn't intend it that way" and emphasize that I wasn't making an accusation or assumption. That was my intention, so I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way.

(Some responses based on the edits you made to your original comment)

To be clear, I didn't accuse you of sexism in my comment. And I do like the word in certain uses, actually. Like I said in my comment, I know it can be used in different ways and with different connotations.

I wanted to point out that it's a loaded word that can cause harm if used in certain ways, and you're using it within a specific, loaded context. I didn't make a statement on the veracity of Alice's claims but imagined if they were true (as I said, "if in fact Alice was mistreated") how it might feel for her to have someone describe her as just bitching about the situation (which could be a potentially hurtful feeling). And as I flagged, I wasn't sure how you were using it—which means both that I don't assume it was in a sexist way and that I also didn't feel clear that it wasn't in a sexist way. 

I consider swear words or words that have a history of derogatory use/use as slurs as words to be extra thoughtful about using. My comment was an appeal to be extra thoughtful, or a little flag to think through the connotations of the word and the impact or implications it can have—especially given the context here. That's all, that's the argument!

As for opening an interaction, I guess I feel confused by that concern. I think of substantive, honest disagreement as a form of respect and a norm of the Forum. I indicated my uncertainties and was holding space for other possibilities. Maybe I don't see my comment as opening an interaction in the way you do—I can't quite say.

I'd be curious to hear why you find it a useful word in this context. Also happy to hear what you didn't like about my comment, either here or over a message.

I don't know if this is at the level of moderator intervention, so I'm just going to flag that saying Alice "bitched" about something to her friends feels potentially derogatory or dismissive to me. I know people use the word with different levels of seriousness and with different connotations. In this context, though, it read to me like minimizing the value of what Alice might have said to her friends.

If in fact Alice was mistreated, "bitching" to her friends would be a way of notifying people of a harmful situation—and therefore potentially closer to informing, sharing, or raising serious concerns to her friends.

Regardless of that, I often wonder when I see men use bitch or bitching when describing a woman and her actions whether they'd use the same language to describe the actions of a man. Maybe you would, and maybe I'd read your use of the word here differently then. But I would generally caution anyone to think about the negative connotations those words can have and the sexism they can perpetrate when used to describe women.