… lines and labels and language and the X factor…

Some time ago I did a post about the word “bitch” ((CLICK HERE TO READ IT)) and why I no longer use it and the cultural biases about gender and sexuality which pervade the language, which are part of the consciousness and vocabulary of perfectly lovely people.

I add to the list of sexist, culturally biased language the phrase “man up” – which I find completely offensive. It is usually used in a way meaning that the person being told to do so is somehow less than and ought – by virtue of fulfilling their masculine potential – to be better, MORE – as if “man” = “better/stronger/braver/more than” – and that is patently ridiculous and biased.

NOW HERE IS THE THING (without discursive caveats – I would not have a blog) – I’m trying NOT to judge.

AND HERE IS THE THING – what do I do with that?

Example: I find people who work against equal rights for all people to be people with whom I do not wish to spend a great deal of time. SO … when Mr. Romney, during the last presidential election, embraced a platform that was anti-gay and anti-woman and anti-most minorities – that ALONE was enough for me to know that I could NEVER vote for him.

But, I know people who did. Now, here’s the thing: they did not vote FOR his anti-equality stances, they voted for his economic plans (which, it could be argued, are – in fact – anti equality; but that’s another discussion) and foreign policy stands.

So, I don’t hate Mr. Romney, but I feel his anti-equality stands mean I could never spend time with him, I don’t want to be around people who embrace such things; but, I do love very much some people who would be around him.

Where’s the line? If you are someone I love and you vote for Mr. Romney – who embraces a platform which espouses the denial of my full humanity and rights – then, what does it say to me about you? Or, how much do I mean to you?

Now, Mr. Romney didn’t target Gays (or women or etc) personally – one by one. He didn’t say, “I want to deny Neil Patrick Harris his right to marry Mr. Burtka and raise their children.”

What if he had? What if someone targets someone you love PERSONALLY; attacks or slanders or sets out to make their life difficult; what do you do?

I have a dear friend (Z) who was treated quite badly by another someone (Y) I know, and when the badness went down, it wasn’t about choosing sides – it was the fact that if Y could treat Z, someone I love, with such vitriol, speak so ill of them, whisper and imply, then, well, I can’t help but believe that should it be beneficial for Y to do so to me – Y’s professed “love” or “affection’ will morph into self-serving spin and I’d find myself under a bus. In this equation, however, I am X.

Now, here’s the thing – since Y did throw Z under a bus, what is my responsibility as X? Everyone thinks they know what went down with Z and Y – and in most cases, they really do NOT – but, I sort of do, and so, if I continue to spend time with Y, or frequent Y’s restaurant, am I not – in some way – approving of Y’s targeting of Z?

If I am a vendor or consumer who benefits financially from continuing with Y – does that change the equation?

And if Y campaigns to win me, dangles carrots and cash, and Z refuses to stoop to “win” such a vote – what then?

These are ethical dilemmas we all face – I think – all the time. Where are our lines when it comes to what is and is not acceptable from others before we need to remove ourselves from their circles – and to what lengths will we go to justify our remaining within the circle of someone who – to whatever degree – has hurt or targeted someone (or some group) we love as “less than” or wrong or bad?

Or am I just too sensitive? A bitch who needs to man up?

Exactly. My. Point.