Posts tagged with "wrath" - Faerye Net 2007-06-20T06:52:44+00:00 Felicity Shoulders The return of "feisty" 2007-06-20T06:52:44+00:00 2008-05-30T14:06:21+00:00 <p>Apparently the <span class="caps">BBC</span> website didn&#8217;t listen to me <a href="" target="links">last time</a>. I ask you, is <a href="" target="links">continuing to serve as a parliament member under threat of suicide bombing</a> &#8220;spunky&#8221;? Perhaps it&#8217;s &#8220;frisky.&#8221;</p> "Feisty" 2005-10-21T10:21:13+00:00 2008-05-30T14:11:24+00:00 <p>Today I was perusing the headlines on the <a href="" target="links"><span class="caps">BBC</span> website</a>, and I saw this one: &#8220;Zimbabwe&#8217;s feisty freedom fighter.&#8221; No picture, just the words. And I thought, <em>that article is about a woman.</em> <a href="" target="links">And I was right.</a> I realized that I cannot remember <span class="caps">EVER</span> hearing the word &#8216;feisty&#8217; applied to a fully grown, heterosexual man. <em>Maybe</em> a little boy. <em>Maybe</em> a gay man. I can&#8217;t remember those absolutely<sup><a href="#fn1">1</a></sup>; but I&#8217;m pretty damn sure of the other. </p> <p><a href="" target="links"></a> defines &#8216;feisty&#8217; thus:<br /> <b>feist·y</b><br /> <em>adj.</em> <b>feist·i·er, feist·i·est</b><br /> 1. Touchy; quarrelsome. <br /> 2. Full of spirit or pluck; frisky or spunky.</p> <p>I would have guessed #2 was more common than #1&#8230;I practically never hear it used as a blatant insult. But those definitions do certainly seem to support a feeling I have &mdash; that there is an insult under the skin of the word, even when it&#8217;s supposed to be a compliment. The &#8216;spirit&#8217; of the second definition is underlain by the volatility of the first definition, and there is a certain dismissiveness in the whole that grates on me. I&#8217;m sure the <span class="caps">BBC</span> only used &#8216;feisty&#8217; for alliterative reasons, but surely a lawyer defending the rights of journalists, who says she was &#8220;only doing her job&#8221;, could be better described in some other way? Is it &#8216;spunky&#8217; to defend the Fourth Estate? Is it &#8216;frisky&#8217; to be a lawyer in general? The word seems somehow infantilizing.</p> <p>And what am I going to do about it? Well, I guess I&#8217;ll blog about it. There was a time when this kind of thing would fill me with an impassioned rage. But now I fear that fighting <span class="caps">EVERY</span> battle loses the war. If I complain about women being &#8216;feisty&#8217;, and small women being &#8216;firecrackers&#8217; and &#8216;spitfires&#8217; then I&#8217;m taking a large battle onto a very small battlefield. And possibly, just possibly, being &#8216;feisty&#8217; myself.</p> <p id="fn1"><sup>1</sup> In case it needs clarification, boys, gay men and women are the traditional opposites against which virile, dominant masculinity is defined. Thus, they are often compared to and maligned with each other.</p>