on language…

A friend’s status on facebook today asked: “When a woman calls you ‘Hoss’…is that a good or bad thing?” Out of five responses thus far, the first one said: “it means she is a lesbian.” See how language can be gender coded? And how the stringently policed lines of gender, performance, and sexuality and where these intersect with what folks say, can get fraught with people’s myopia? Because “hoss” is a thing men say—allegedly; a woman employing a “masculine” slang must get carded as masculine-like, therefore must = lesbian. Linear enough for you? O, those things we say. Le sigh.

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2 Responses to “on language…”

  1. Lia Says:

    That’s so bizarre! When I was at (all girls’) school, we would frequently refer to each other as “my real hoss” or address each other as such, without any concern about gender norms. I guess that was okay because it was a homosocial environment, but still….that response still strikes me as quite strange.

  2. soyluv Says:

    yeah it is a strange response and he wasn’t even joking apparently! at least one other response (identified as female) dissented with what he said for your reasons: she used “hoss” all the time, then she also asserted that she wasn’t a lesbian. but the more i thought about it, i wasn’t too surprised. you never know when you face people with something out of context and force them to contextualise, what they will come up with. but it’s still illuminating in some respects. something about that word hoss—doh know what. like it has a man patent on it or something. :-/

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