Thank you for the discussion. It’s so rare that people can discuss different viewpoints without resorting to name calling and pettiness. I’m going to respond to some of your points below. If you get bored of the discussion let me know and I’ll stop. LOL
The argument that meaning is relative to the individual is absurd. If a person asserts that not all water is wet or that…
By your definition, a dyke is a lesbian.
Actually, it’s not my definition. It’s THE definition through both denotation and common usage and understanding.
A cat is a cat no matter what you anyone calls it. My issue with the entire argument is that the term “dyke” or “lesbian” or “gay” *IS* flexible and dependent on the person.
On what are you basing this? Who decides? A cat is a cat because it fits the understood criteria. A dyke is dyke because that person meets the understood criteria. I can call myself a frog (or Chinese, to borrow your example further on) but if I don’t meet the criteria I just look ignorant.
Not every person who identifies as gay wouldn’t have sex with someone of the opposite sex, but they can still identify as gay.
I’m not sure what is is you’re trying to say here so rather than jump to an incorrect conclusion, let me just ask you to clarify or restate in a different way. Please? lol
A cat cannot say it doesn’t feel like a cat because it isn’t sentient to do so, so it is always a cat.
Obviously. My point was not about the cat labeling itself but about the correct use of labels generally. But you sort of made my point. It’s a cat because it’s what we understand a cat to be.
This is about intangibles, things that fluctuate.
Hold that thought, I’ll come back to it and if I don’t, remind me.
What if I dress utterly heterosexual - some people are going to argue against me being a “real” lesbian.
I just have to ask, how do heterosexuals dress?
There’s just too many variables when it comes to labels applied to things that are inherently about someone’s personal choice of identity.
On this, I think you’re venturing into what I was touching on in my last paragraph or so in the previous post although I don’t think we choose identity anymore than we choose who to love or what arouses us. That said, I don’t believe the variables give us leeway to redefine words just because we want to use them in any way that suits us.
If someone is born in china but lives in America, by definition they are Chinese but also American, and if they choose which identity they want, it’s similar. Not quite the same.
But if I, who was born in America of European descent, want to identify as Chinese, by your logic, I’m free to do so even tho I don’t meet the commonly understood meaning of the word.
But my point is you have taken the argument to semantics, about water not being wet and all that.
Admittedly. Semantics matter.
I didn’t say you could change what a thing is by changing it’s label,
I know. I didn’t mean to imply that you did. What I understood from your comments was that you can change the label by changing how it’s used. My responses have been primarily in opposition to that idea.
but only that the label is important to the person or collective group trying to understand it,
Which, to me, underscores the importance of correct semantics. Without them, misunderstandings happen so easily. Heavens knows the LGBT community doesn’t need more misunderstanding from the rest of the world.
and when it comes to things as insanely complex as sexuality, it sucks for people who want things simple, but the labels just don’t mean much expect to the person who collective group who identify as such.
Unfortunately, labels do indeed mean a lot to persons other than the one adopting the label. If they did not, this entire discussion between you and me and the others who have shared their thoughts would never have transpired in the first place.
It seems like you’re saying a person can label oneself however they choose. I don’t dispute that at all. However, that doesn’t mean they are correct in doing so. If I misunderstood you, please clarify.
If other lesbians want to reject a man who identifies as a dyke, that’s a separate group from the ones who would accept.
I don’t think any lesbian would reject the man who identifies as a dyke but rather it’s the use of the word “dyke” that’s being rejected. Lesbians historically have gone through hell to get to the point where they feel they can wear the label “dyke” with honor and dignity. It’s understandable that we’d be sensitive about any person (not just this man) misappropriating it for her/his own purposes.
But the important thing from your response is, fundamentally, we both agree about the nature of the argument’s undercurrent: not to discriminate just because someone is born “male”. We just like wordy things XD
And now I want to come back to what you wrote earlier about things fluctuating. I think we’d both agree that the fluctuation in this case is related to the apparent gender identity issues faced by the person in that photograph. Gender dysphoria presents a complex set of problems not the least of which is word choice and labels.
Let me reiterate the importance of avoiding giving the world further reasons (or excuses) for misunderstanding the LBGT community. How we label ourselves and each other matters. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the majority of mainstream heterosexual people who read what was on that person’s back responded with a thought something akin to “stupid perverts”. I won’t go so far as to say a different label might avoid such a conclusion but we certainly don’t need to be unnecessarily feeding the fires that rage against us either.
Now, that said, I have a question for you. What can we as members of the LBGT community and society as a whole do constructively to find/create accurate and sensitive descriptors and/or labels for our comrades who don’t have their own words to express who they are in terms of gender?
Okay, I probably need a nap after this.
If people keep (mis)appropriating words (labels) and using them however suits them, sooner or later language is going to become meaningless. Just saying…
This argument doesn’t stand up to the test of time. And even if it did, would it matter? Would you really care if the word dyke didn’t mean anything anymore? If one person still claims for it to mean something, to them, then it does. I just don’t understand what this argument even means. The only day that language would be meaningless is when we are telepathic.
The argument that meaning is relative to the individual is absurd. If a person asserts that not all water is wet or that not all cats are felines this person cannot support the truth of her/his claims. All water by nature will still be wet and all cats will remain felines despite that person’s misguided assertions otherwise.
A dyke is a lesbian. A lesbian, by definition, is a female/woman whose sexual orientation is to another female/woman. To say that it is not the case that all dykes are women is linguistically and analytically absurd.
“The only day that language would be meaningless is when we are telepathic.” For telepaths to communicate they must share a common understanding of what things mean.
And frankly, no, I don’t care if the word dyke means anything or not, but it does have a meaning and it is as pointless and silly for a non-female to claim to be a dyke regardless of the reason. It’s on par with claiming that not all heterosexuals are straight and not all homosexuals are gay. Saying it doesn’t make it so.
Now, if we dig deeper and not simply assume the face value of the words on that person’s back, we may deduce something about the person. We could logically assume it is a male (physically) and if that is the case he could be dealing with gender identity. This person’s statement may not be about dykes and lesbians at all but rather about how s/he perceives her/his gender and orientation in spite of the apparent maleness of her/his body. If this person’s self-perception of gender identity is female, the statement “not all dykes are women” is screaming about a painful inner struggle and not a message about dykes and women at all. I cannot imagine how painful it must be to be trapped in a body that does not accurately express the truth about who one is.
How easy it is to jump to conclusions and have misunderstandings from a snapshot with no context.Source: nerdscarf
UM EXCUSE ME?! Yes they fucking ARE. If you’re not a woman you’re not a dyke. If you’re queer and genderless then that’s YOUR label. Trans? Then you’re WHATEVER gender you are. But do NOT take MY label. I’m proud to be a woman and a dyke. And sorry - I’m not willing to share THIS as well. Talk about fucking APPROPRIATION.
I think the idea of labels is that anyone can take them and apply them to themselves as they see fit. Nobody owns a label and nobody can speak for all people who use said label. If a cis-gendered man wants to identify as a dyke, that’s his choice and his right. And it’s important to remember that gender, sex and orientation are three totally different things. Personally, I wouldn’t consider this cultural appropriation. The word “dyke” is first and foremost a label and the culture surrounding the word is secondary.
Oh cool, so now a cis-gendered man can be a dyke? Nice. Might as well let men have ONE MORE THING they most definitely do not deserve. NOR can they, or will they ever be able to relate to in the way a woman/lesbian can. To be a dyke is to be a part of a community of ladies who love other ladies AKA: LESBIANS. That DOES NOT INCLUDE MEN. So YES it most definitely IS cultural appropriation. This is why i will never use the word queer. I disagree with it whole-heartedly as just ANYONE can be queer yet they have more privileges than any gay person and STILL be in the community? NOPE. As a lesbian AND a feminist, I find it SO insulting that now I’m being told that being a lesbian means including MEN into my community?! NO. That’s called being straight.
I have never agreed as strongly as I do with putyourdukes up on this. I respect the counter point…words and labels and yada yada yada. But what is left of the lesbian community? What do we as plain old ordinary lesbians have left? We are being erased by the overlap of every sub-culture and more so by the multiplying variations of identity that continue to multiply and toss themselves into what was once just the “gay” community.
Why does keeping and preserving a label, keeping it away from others, have to mean so much to people? And it doesn’t matter how much someone dislikes it or disagrees with someone who accepts or “takes” that label, that is how they are going to identify. I can’t tell a girl who has never been with a man that she isn’t bisexual, and the term dyke is so ambiguous to begin with. And if you read any earlier literature using the word dyke, it was used in a very specific way that it isn’t even now.
If people keep (mis)appropriating words (labels) and using them however suits them, sooner or later language is going to become meaningless. Just saying…Source: nerdscarf