Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "F-Word"

I'd like to address a trend I've seen on Instagram: using the "f-word" towards things (especially psychiatric disorders) and people. (I'm assuming that I don't need to spell out the word for you and that you know what word I'm talking about.) 

I know that the "f-word" is a cuss word and that people like to use it to describe how they feel. But when they do that, are they remembering what the "f-word" means? To be explicit, yet vague, it's a term used to describe sexual intercourse. Given that, do people really want to "f" depression, eating disorders, OCD, negative opinions, and critical words? Sexual intercourse is an intimate act. Do people really want to get intimate with psychiatric disorders and people who are cruel? I don't think so. I think they want these things to "bug off," to "get lost."

The first time I heard someone use the "f-word" correctly was in a description of a sexual assault the person endured. That wasn't a good thing. So again I ask, do people really want to use the "f-word?" Do they want to speak of the thing that are violent to thm (e.g.the depression that steals people's happiness, eating disorders that strip bodies of nutrients and health, OCD that torments people with obsessions, negative opinions that lead to guilt and shame) using a word associated with violence? I don't think so! 

William Madsen, a narrative therapist, suggests that the language people use is important. In his book Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families he writes, “Militaristic metaphors such as beating, kicking, or thrashing a problem fit with patriarchal ways of being in the world and have the potential to replicate those ways of being at the same time that we are seeking alternatives to them” (p. 208). Based on his assertion and the thought I've shared above, I'd like to make a suggestion: If you're really upset about something, use your words. Describe the negative effect that thing has had on your life. Show pictures of the devastation. Ask another person to write a testimony about what they saw you experience. Just don't use the "f-word." It's not descriptive. It will keep some people from reading your post. And most of all, it will further propel the trend of fighting violence with violence.

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