Absolutely. To this, Indra, I would argue that common and often perjorative uses of the word feminism and sexism have not only twisted but also watered down the original meanings. This is why I noted that culturally those words may have widely different interpretations. I had a very funny discussion with a young man last night- a brilliant guy- who was giving his examples of his own “mansplaining” as well as how he sees how others do it. We were in stitches. His point- and I not only have to clean it up here but simplify it for the sake of brevity- is that mansplaining (in his mind) is a man’s telling me what it’s like to have a menstrual period, hormonal imbalances, and being pregnant. We howled. It happens all the time. The presumptive nature of such conversations is at one level the stuff of wonderful comedy, but on the other hand, can be crazy-making. Women do precisely the same thing with men when they are condescending; when every sentence drips with sarcasm, and ends with the implied (stupid). This is why I think that clarifying what we mean when we use specific words is so very important. The article I wrote was about doing one’s research. I have been fascinated that the predominant comments weren’t about that at all, but about terminology. What that tells me is that what we carry in our inner worlds can throw us way off track, off point, and off the subject, because the feelings invoked by words that we individually experience as negative can completely obliterate much of what the writer is trying to convey.
I appreciate the chance to discuss this. To me, for my part, this is how people can exchange ideas without doing damage, or causing harm. I appreciate it very much.