I just had a conversation with my husband who called another group of males "divas". I replied that it seemed somewhat insulting to use this female term to insult a group of males....insulting to both genders, in my opinion. There began a discussion on what you might call a male with this type of behavior. A diva is a selfish, spoiled, must-have-her-way female. It is a specifically female term but what is the concurrent male term? I'm not sure there is one.
I don't want to get all "feminist" on you (or maybe I do) but it seems to me that there is something wrong here. How many pejorative words can you think of for women? I would bet more than a few starting with mild words like "witch" (or the word that rhymes with it) and ending with words much more vile. How many words can you think of that denigrate men....especially white men? Professor Michael Mark Cohen wrote an excellent piece on that very subject. I encourage you to check it out. The fact is there are lots of ways to speak badly of women and we use them freely....even when we want to speak badly of men.
"So what?" you may be saying to which I reply that words have power and how we use them conveys something important. Attitudes and paradigms are formed by the words we speak and the words we listen to. How we express ourselves speaks to the people we are as well as what is happening in our hearts and heads.
Several years ago one of our boys was on a soccer team with a coach who would routinely try to spur the boys on by slurring women. "You run like a bunch of girls" he would say or, worse, "What color are your panties?". I'm proud to say that my husband approached the coach asking him what our daughter was supposed to think about these slurs. Jeff asked him to stop this behavior and when the coach didn't stop Jeff asked him to step down. He did so leaving Jeff to coach the rest of the season.....not quite the outcome Jeff expected but worth it to get rid of a bad role model for our children.
These are the kind of actions required of individuals if society is going to change. Every person, every day, must step up and do it better. We have to call one another to better verbal behavior. We have to be cautious and thoughtful about our own use of language. And, for Heavens sake, if you have children, teach them a better way!
Please hear me when I say that the above conversation just got me thinking on this subject. I don't bear any ill will toward my husband. He will read this. I know that he was simply using the language he had and I don't question his heart. What I question is a culture that makes it okay to use feminine language to put down others.