Friday, September 12, 2008

Words and Phrases, Part II

Previously, I have written about words and phrases that inexplicably grate on my nerves. I've decided that so many words and phrases annoy me that this just might be a recurring feature in Fannie's Room. Feel free to make additions.

1. "Lesbian Lover"

First off, the phrase "lesbian lover" is so 1990's. And yet, people- reporters even!- continue to use it. The Telegraph, for instance, recently reported that "Television presenter Ellen DeGeneres marries lesbian lover Portia de Rossi." Ellen and Portia, you see, were not just girlfriends or fiancees or partners. They were lezzzzzzzzbian lovers (who have lezzzzzzzbian sex!)

See, what's also annoying about this phrase is that it takes a multi-faceted romantic relationship and makes it all about teh gay sex. Two lesbos aren't "partners" or "girlfriends" they're "lezzzzzzbian lovers (who have lezzzzzbian sex)."

Thirdly, it's redundant. If two women are "lovers," it is pretty likely that they are lesbians. So, just calling them "lovers" would have sufficed. But no, you have to emphasize that these two women are not only "lovers" they are "lezzzzzzzzbian lovers (who have lezzzzzzzzbian sex)."

On a related note, I also object to people calling the people they are in relationships with their "lover." How 1985.

2. "Neutered Marriage"

Now, this one actually brings a smile to my face. Some of our more lingo-y inclined anti-gay friends like to call same-sex marriage "neutered marriage." I think they think they are being clever. I think they're actually confused.

I googled the term "neutered marriage, definition of" and quickly came across an explanation. One marriage defender "explains" that same-sex marriage advocates wish to "remove the gender from the marriage definition — hence neutered marriage."

How strange.

Neuter, you see, generally means "neither masculine nor feminine." It seems that some marriage defenders think that if same-sex marriage is legal then marriage as an institution would be "neither masculine nor feminine" or "asexual." While a definition of marriage as something other than "between a man and a woman" would not specifically mention both men and women, the institution itself would clearly be comprised of persons who have a gender. I mean, gay people have a gender too. Just because there is only one gender in a same-sex union it doesn't mean that the union itself is genderless, "neither masculine nor feminine."

Gosh. I simply don't know why the odd phrase hasn't caught on.

So, while this phrase makes me laugh because it generally brings to mind animal shelters, it also annoys me because it's simply inaccurate. It's propaganda intended to make same-sex marriage sound way more sinister and genital-snippy than it actually is.

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