Written by : anonymous
I try really hard to be PC. I ask for gender pronouns, try to use inclusive language, put the person before the identity, ask permission before gendering, sexualizing, or racially identifying. I whole heartedly understand identities are more complex than Black/White, Gay/Straight, He/She. I’m a Black, Hetero, Cis Female, so it’s easy for me to defer to default when it comes to identity, but there is an underlying guilt that comes with being able to move through life somewhat on autopilot, while trying to remain politically correct and respectful of others. Conversations about sexual identities is probably the closest I’ll ever get to understanding what goes on in a White person’s mind when they try to describe the only Black person in the room without using the term “Black”.
I was reading an article on a TikToker who explained why she wouldn’t teach her daughters about virginity. Cayce LaCorte, who goes by the name book_mama on TikTok, believes virginity is a patriarchal concept used to control women. Although I agree with LaCorte’s argument, I couldn’t help but fixate on the term “virginity”. Taxonomy and definitions have been running through my mind. We are becoming more and more politically correct with the terms we use to describe people and experiences but in order to better understand these identities and experiences we need language to support healthy discourse and dialogue. My initial reaction was, so now don’t use virginity. Got it. But now how do I talk about it?
Is it bad to speak about virginity? Is it derogatory to call someone a virgin? Should we say a person with no sexual experience? A first-timer? Ignore the conversation all together?
There are levels to this. The way we talk about sex, gender, race, sexuality is changing--for the better-- however we need language to describe the spectrum of experiences and lived identities. I agree dichotomous terms are antiquated and do not adequately reflect everyone’s experiences or beliefs. As we develop new terms, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Although someone doesn’t ascribe to terms doesn’t mean the term cannot exist.
Dismantling social constructors requires reconfiguring language and at times creating new terms all together. If you asked me three years ago what polyamory was, I’d probably say it was speaking multiple languages (polyglot). Or if you asked me what my gender pronouns were I’d look at you crazy. Making room for new language is important, in the process, let’s give grace to folks as we try to get it right.