In an evergrowing digital age language matters more than ever. I have absolutely made my mistakes in the past with language and what I’ve said. I’ve said silly things, things that have been taken completely out of context and sometimes I’ve said things which have made me rethink and actually check my priviledge. I do have to acknowledge that I am in a priviledged position as well as part of some marginalised groups.
My Priveledge and Marginalisation
My priveledge comes from being white and cis-gendered, the marginalisation comes from being a woman, being fat, being working class (at one point having lived in a hostel) and being a mother. Four groups of people that are frequently judged, oppressed, not taken seriously and questioned all of the time. What I do absolutely realise though is compared to other marginalised voices mine aren’t as vital because I already have that underline priveledge. Over time it’s something I’ve had to kind of push to one side, being in a position of priveledge is not really an attack of character and can be used to pull other more marginalised voices through. We need to open the conversation.
Always Period Products
Recently, Always decided to remove the venus symbol from their packaging to make it a little bit more appropriate for all menstruators. There seems to have been a real issue across the internet for this where people are frustrated that only ‘females’ have periods and these are products are only bought by women. There are even certain voices saying how Trans rights are being taken more seriously than women’s rights. It frustrates me because Feminism and equality is all inclusive of gender, and it includes all marginalised voices that have had to deal with inequality due to their gender. This means it includes women, dodging toxic masclunity and alpha male culture and anyone that identifies within then LGTBQ+ community. Menstruators are not just women. Menstruators are bleeders as some are intersex, some only have some of the female reproductive genetalia which causes periods, some are trans people who still need and deserve the same amount of dignity and healthcare when bleeding.
Why should we use all inclusive language for people that have periods?
When I first heard the term menstruators instead of women that have periods was an occasion I needed to check my priveledge. I’m also not a consumer of Always products opting for resuable cloth pads and currently looking for the right menstrual cup for my cycle and body. I think this move is a good thing. I think people are quick to jump ahead and say something is inclusive for women and get angry because it comes from a place of priveledge from never having dealt with gender dysphoria. The anger is coming from people that do not identify as intersex, trans or LGTBQ+. It’s mostly coming from cis women and a few men who feel they need to be the shining hero (feminisim has no place for shining cis white male heroes, it needs allies and cis men to pull marginalised voices through)
Why pronouns matter and why we should start paying attention
How would you like it if you were continously called the wrong name or associated as the wrong gender? If you were consistently reffered to as a gender that you actually didn’t feel a part of? I know I wouldn’t like it. I am very happy to be identified as she/her because I very much identify as female. But this isn’t about me. I accept that I am cis gendered but I am very much an ally for all and any that identify as a different gender and embrace being non-binary. I accept that gender is a spectrum and I want to see more LGTBQ+ voices pulled through because the more we see it the less sensationalised it is. All of these voices matter.
In the past I have brushed this off and said “oh it’s too hard” but actually it really isn’t. It’s not hard to ask what someone prefers to be called, we are just changing the question a little bit. Have we really got so stuck in our ways that changing the question is just too much effort? Refusing to accept that others may identify differently to what you have been brought up to believe is lazy. Radical even. So unthinkable. It’s only going to be unthinkable to people that don’t have a clue what it’s like to be in that marginalised group though isn’t it? Because thats what priveledge is, never having to be in a position where you are oppressed or judged because of a part of you that is just you. When we refuse to call someone by their preffered pronouns, or accept that they identify differently and prefer they/them (or others) we are refusing to accept and acknowlege who they are.
Why language is more important than ever
The way we speak to people is really important and it’s not about being a snowflake generation or being too politically correct. It’s just about being a decent person. It’s about accepting and acknowledging that people are different. We are quick to say to our own children that being unique and different is not something to be worried about, that everyone is different and no one is the same but it’s incredibly contradictory to then put a boundary on how different someone is allowed to be before it’s deemed socially unacceptable. I don’t think this is fair.
Cis gendered people need to learn and accept that gender is spectrum based and many people identify differently. We need to be allies and we need to raise allies. This is why I think the improvement to include LGTBQ+ families and identities into relationship and sex education is vital. Big changes start with teaching children different social constructs so this is absolutely vital to breaking down barriers, smashing the patriarchy and creating all inclusive allies.