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View Diary: Being a Pussy is the New MACHO (196 comments)

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  •  Not condoning this diary but... (0+ / 0-)

    isn't 'pussy' a reference to cats?  I always thought, "don't be a pussy" was like saying "don't be a scaredy-cat".

    I know that it is also used as a term for a female part, but not to women in general.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure the term 'pussy' as referring to someone who is not-brave is a reference to the tendency for cats to jump and be cautious when frightened.

    As for my cat, she is the last one you would call a pussy, as are my daughters.

    •  Nope (7+ / 0-)

      "Pussy" is more or less uniformly considered by etymologists to be a reference to female genitalia. Which is to say, you call a man a 'pussy' to compare him to women, with the implicit 'and being like a woman is bad'.

      This is why, for example, you more or less never see a woman referred to as a 'pussy'. They are supposed to be like a woman, and therefore bad. It's what is expected of them.

      It's an example of 'casual misogyny', and, honestly, an especially offensive one. It's often also coded homophobia, as the implication that a man is like a woman is often also an implicit assertion of homosexuality.

      •  I don't see that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        the cat thing makes a lot more sense.

      •  Interestingly though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, kharma

        you do see women referred to as the c-word.

        This is why, for example, you more or less never see a woman referred to as a 'pussy'. They are supposed to be like a woman, and therefore bad. It's what is expected of them.
        Not defending the diary title, just musing out loud how you seem to see one behavior but not the other.

        Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
        Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

        by BentLiberal on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:29:23 PM PDT

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        •  Ironically (0+ / 0-)

          Anthony Weiner's (STILL not yet fired) "communications" director, a woman no less, used the c word against a female former intern who recently wrote an expose on his campaign for the Daily News. Nah, he's no misogynist...

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 06:32:45 AM PDT

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        •  The word "cunt" when applied (0+ / 0-)

          to women is usually used to suggest that they are overly aggressive.  When it is used against men, it is a more insulting and inappropriate form of "pussy".  Nobody would want to accuse a man of being overly aggressive as an insult to his manhood.

          •  I have been thinking for years (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IamGumby

            about how the many different English words for male and female genitalia have such utterly different connotations.  Both the words you mention have different usages than, for instance, "twat".  "Dick" does not imply the same thing as "prick" or "schmuck."

            This is probably another diary in itself.  But you are correct that gendered insults, especially female-gendered insults, always mean entirely different things depending on the gender of the insultee.

      •  No, you don't do it to compare him (0+ / 0-)

        to a woman.  You do it to accuse him of being a sissy, which is another loaded term with its own packed meanings, one of them being unmanly and weak.  Calling a woman a pussy would make no sense at all because there are no expectations of manliness.

        One of the disappointing things about DailyKos is the way people take offense so easily at things that in any other context would be just seen as crude, maybe inappropriate, but not laden with incorrect political meaning.

        I only dropped in here because I thought the title was funny (made me laugh).  Knowing that he was talking about Zimmerman made it make sense.

        •  Sissy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Batya the Toon

          If you were to accuse a man of being sissy, you would literally, if not intentionally, be comparing him to a woman. According to the Online Etymolog Dictionary,

          sissy (n.) 1846, "sister," extended form of sis (q.v.). Meaning "effeminate man" is recorded from 1887; the adjective in this sense is from 1891.
          When people use words like "pussy" and "sissy," they may not mean to compare a man to a woman, but words are what they are, and mean what they mean. Plenty of people find the word "pussy" offensive because of its inherent and long-standing meaning of "effeminate" and "unmanly." Effeminate = Like a Woman. Unmanly = Not a Man = Like a Woman.

          Knowing that many, many people find the term offensive, why would a thoughtful person insist on using it anyway? Do you want to call someone a coward? How about poltroon, wimp, dastard, craven, or scaramouche? If you want to call someone weak, how about gutless, wimp, impotent, limp, sickly, feeble, or milquetoast?

          Ours is a rich vocabulary. We don't need to use words that offend people, unless our specific purpose is to offend.

          One cat away from crazy.

          by IamGumby on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 05:59:47 PM PDT

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          •  Yes, I would. (0+ / 0-)
            Knowing that many, many people find the term offensive, why would a thoughtful person insist on using it anyway? Do you want to call someone a coward?
            Well, yeah, let me step forward and call Zimmerman a fucking coward.  Pussy is the mildest term I would use to describe a man who shoots an unarmed teenage boy in "self-defense."  Since he has now become a hero of the right, let's call him what he is.  I wouldn't call him a sissy or effeminate, only because that feels like the wrong epithet to use.  Chickenshit little wannabe dickless wuss seems more appropriate.

            The actual etymology of pussy is irrelevant to its current usage, just as the etymology of dyke is irrelevant to its current usage.  Doesn't make it a better word, but just means nobody should be constrained by its genealogy.

            Only on a liberal site would we need to have this kind of conversation, because it empowers people who want to make a big deal out of something that everybody else in the world would just consider vulgar.

            •  I would argue (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo, Batya the Toon

              That its current usage is not restricted to, but still includes the usage that people find upsetting. So I don't use it at all. (Although I must be honest enough to admit that I laughed really hard over the scene in South Park where Cartman and the Underpants Gnome traded it back and forth).

              Otherwise, I agree with you. Coward, chickenshit, and wuss are much more appropriate descriptions of Zimmerman. I'd add craven, because of its connotation of the absolute depths of cringing.

              One cat away from crazy.

              by IamGumby on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 07:27:17 PM PDT

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              •  Here's my problem with all of those: (0+ / 0-)

                The notion that cowardice is shameful is directly tied to the notion that the only respectable thing to do when faced with something frightening is to confront it aggressively.

                If Zimmerman hadn't grown up surrounded by that concept, which is utterly pervasive in our society, he wouldn't have needed to carry a gun to feel like a worthwhile human being, and he wouldn't have needed to follow and confront someone he was afraid of instead of sensibly avoiding him.

                This is far from the worst thing about Zimmerman's psyche, but honestly, look how hard he was trying to not be a coward.  And look what that led to.

                To my mind the most damning words we can use for him are the obvious ones: liar, racist, murderer.

                •  I Think This May Be . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . one of the best short assessments of Zimmerman I've read. It makes me want to go back and re-read The Red Badge of Courage, which is all about a young man trying to prove his courage--mostly to himself--through violence (war).

                  One cat away from crazy.

                  by IamGumby on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 08:03:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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