This time of year makes me think of gifts and what women are giving to the next generation.
This year, 2017, has been an extremely tumultuous time. To use a kitchen and baking metaphor our cultural batter is being is being whipped up, over-beaten, into a flat mess that may have a difficult time rising to the occasion.
I like to incorporate “homey” historic language into writing about current descriptions of our lives and culture because collective memory is built from language. Our society is attempting to cope with a degree of change and an influx of information that is unheralded in human history. In times such as these, in unstable times, we humans have a tendency to cling to what is familiar. So if baking analogies seem quaint, please bear with me, I do it to draw our complex, heavily compartmentalized, split into silos information culture back to a common ground.
And such plain language is neither cornball or quaint. It reflects a far better nature behind word choice than using violent words of war and turns of phrase such as
- attack a problem
- declare a victory
- wage a war
- collateral damage
- target a competitor
So much of what we see and feel around us these days can seem alien. We can shift away from alienation through our words. Women are great communicators and we can draw out the commonality, the uniting threads of all that is transpiring around us. Inclusive language need not seem like a lecture from a women’s studies course, inclusive language can come from slowing down, simplifying, and reframing the what of which we speak through the how of the words with we choose to use.
Some of the best gifts we can give our children cannot be boxed and wrapped. The stories of strong women can be framed with anecdotes from our own family and history.
Language is powerful. Language constructs and supports power. I will leave the interpretation up to you, but Merriam Webster has announced that the word of the year for 2017 is feminism.
One of the strongest messages I intend to personally construct and convey in the next couple of years is how close we are in time to the period when women lacked the right to vote. My mother was born before the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. . I am one generation away from political exclusion. My mom was a small girl when women were granted suffrage. I hope to make sure my daughter, step-daughter, and grand daughters all understand how that moment in history relates personally to my life and to their family history.
What do you want to make sure others know about women from your personal history?
More In-depth Reading on these Ideas
- Military Terminology and the English Language
- Reframing Feminism
- Word choice: Hidden meanings can influence our judgment
Also published on Medium.