Everyone I know seems to have a few words and phrases that they hate. Viscerally. They cause shudders and pleas of “no, no, don’t say it,” and sometimes it’s hard to articulate what, exactly, it is that is so hated. I once described a word I loathe as “too crunchy,” and my friend Mark got it instantly, the horrible crackle and shudder of the word in someone’s mouth. I hate that word so much, I can’t even type it.
Anyway, here’s a selection of words and phrases I hate. Want to add some of yours to the comments?
Baby Bump. Hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I know that the media is a big fan of alliteration and turning everything all cutesy, but it makes me cringe every time I see it. It reduces pregnancy to an accessory, and it’s all part of the body shaming and public speculation which accompanies pregnancy. Every single celebrity photographed while pregnant will be captioned or headlined with a phrase which includes the words “baby” and “bump” and a speculation about whether said baby bump is too big or too small, how well accessorized it is with maternity wear, and what gender it might be.
I happen to think that pregnant ladies are rather lovely, because there’s something ineffable about them which changes, and I love it. But another woman’s pregnancy isn’t my business, and the most commentary I would have is wishes for a healthy baby, not crude comments about the size of her arms or whether she’s carrying low or high or oh-my-gosh is that a beer she’s holding? The obsession over pregnant celebrities is an uncomfortable reminder that women are objects and property to be freely held by the public, not individuals who deserve respect and privacy.
Green. Green is a flippin’ colour. Yet, somehow, this lovely color has been subverted to the cause of “environmentalism” and I put “environmentalism” in quotes because the green movement is not about helping the environment, it’s about creating yet another trendy thing for people to get involved in. It’s about perpetuating a capitalist system while allowing people to pretend that they are doing good. It’s about involving class discrimination and economic disparity in something which should be open to everyone, which is living a life which is better for the environment.
But poor people are told that they aren’t welcome in the green movement because they can’t spend enough money, consume the right things, model the correct way of living, even when poor people are living “green” more than the rich people who buy a bunch of expensive crap because it’s “environmentally friendly,” because the poor people are actually cutting down on their consumption and doing things which help the planet, rather than trying to increase their social status by buying into commercialism. But if you can’t buy the latest and greatest green thing, you don’t really care about the environment, so don’t bother.
Obesity Epidemic. An epidemic, by definition, involves occurrence of a disease which exceeds normal and expected rates. Obesity is not a disease. You can’t catch it. It can sometimes by a symptom of ill health, but it is not necessarily a cause of ill health. And the reports of rising obesity rates are greatly exaggerated with the use of inflammatory language and heavily manipulated statistics. The “obesity epidemic” was coined by concern trolls who want a license to say that fat people are disgusting and gross, and it has nothing to do with health.
Panties. Why not underpants, or underwear, or underoos? Undergarments? I hate this word. With a flaming passion. I can’t rationalize my hatred of it in the least, because it’s a sound thing. Maybe it’s because it’s a diminutive. I don’t know. But I hate it.
Pro-life. I hate this catchphrase because of everything it symbolizes, and because something which should ostensibly be good has been co-opted for evil. It’s why I prefer “anti-choice,” which I think is more accurate, or “fetus fundamentalist,” when I am feeling especially uncharitable. This catchphrase is the power behind a movement which is about taking lives away and controlling lives, not about empowering, respecting, and honoring life.
The pro-life movement doesn’t care about abortions. It wants to ban birth control. It wants to prevent women from accessing routine health screenings which could be beneficial for them and their children. It wants to put a stop to comprehensive sex education. This isn’t about the sanctity of life: it’s about control, pure and simple.
Wall Street/Main Street. This started popping up during the Presidential campaign, and by the end, I would become apoplectic with rage every time I heard or saw it. It was one of those phrases which was rooted in the best of intentions, but turned out to be just another empty catchphrase used in the service of politics. Aside from the fact that the government clearly cares more about Wall Street than it does about Main Street, as evidenced by the policy decisions of recent months, this catchphrase just pays token lip service to some abstract idea, some symbolism of the tarnished American Dream™® which gets hauled out at every political opportunity and tarted up as needed.