We’ve got a lot to dive through this week, Love Letters fans, so Imma keep the intro like Christina Milian – short and sweet and whooo lawd.
Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on Twitter @etbowser. Just provide your initials, or a fun nickname.
Here’s today’s question:
So the guy that I’m into frequently calls women b****es. I’m not fond of it at all. I like him but how do I approach him about his ignorance? In your opinion do you think this is a sign that he lacks respect for women?
You know, I hesitated a bit before answering this question. And to explain why, lemme turn to a recent discussion stemming from actress Brie Larson’s Twitter:
I merely smiled at a TSA agent and he asked for my phone number. To live life as a woman is to live life on the defense.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) October 5, 2017
As you’d expect, He-Man Twitter was all like UGH A GUY CAN’T EVEN POLITELY ASK FOR A WOMAN’S NUMBER THIS WORLD IS SO PC NOW STUPID FEMINAZIS. However, my lovely wife put it into perspective – a man has no right to tell a woman how she should feel.
And she’s not wrong. How can a man tell a woman she’s being too sensitive when there’s no way he can relate to her experiences?
(For the record, I thought TSA dude was out line mainly because of his unprofessionalism. It would be like me trying to kick game to someone I was interviewing for a story or a business client. Dating coworkers is OK in some circumstances; flirting with patrons is always bad business.)
That brings us to KN’s question – as a man, I initially felt weird speaking on the B Word, which specifically touches on the female experience. In my eyes, my opinion would be as hollow as a white dude wagging his chubby finger at black folks for using the Dreaded N Word. Stay in your lane, Piers Morgan, nobody asked you.
And that’s the difference between me and Piers – since a woman specifically asked for MY input, I felt compelled to answer. It’s not unsolicited mansplaining.
Go look at Brie’s Twitter if you want more of that.
Sorry for the long-winded intro but I just wanted to explore the ramifications of how touchy this subject is and why there’s no clear-cut answer.
The B Word is often compared to The N Word in terms of it being “reclaimed” by the groups that were once disparaged by it. And while I think it’s a mistake to directly correlate those two terms (the N word’s sinister and oppressive history is in a class of its own) it’s true that both are more accepted by some groups in 2017.
Emphasis on BY SOME. There’s a reason why I edit the word b**** on my site – it’s still considered offensive by a great many people. Including me.
And, as my wife said earlier, it’s unfair for me to say “well, they shouldn’t be so sensitive” when I haven’t walked in their shoes.
So KN, your response to your dude needs to be just as I spelled out above – remind him that even if HE doesn’t consider that word offensive, last time you checked he’s not a woman and therefore cannot truly comprehend how that word makes you feel. The best thing he can do is respect your opinion and refrain from using it.
I can’t say for sure that he’s intentionally disrespecting women when he uses that word. It depends on context. But, again, it’s irrelevant. If YOU’RE offended by its use – and he truly cares about your feelings – he’ll erase it from his vocabulary. It’s that simple.
And while we’re on the subject, listen to Lupe Fiasco’s brilliant take on the debate:
We’ve got time for one more, this time from another friend of the site, ATCT:
My friend likes a guy but he’s interested in another girl. Should she still shoot her shot or just leave it alone?
Funny how times change.
College single Edd would be like SHOOT YOUR SHOT PLAYA, keep hope alive!
But let’s be realistic about this thing – has this guy shown any interest in your friend at all? If his attention is already elsewhere, why waste your time and energy trying to divert it?
At best, you’re wasting your time. At worst, you’re a homewrecker.
Save that commitment for someone who actually IS interested in you, not a guy who MIGHT be.