An anonymous commenter posted the following in response to niemandsrose in the comments to a post on generational changes, gender and language by ozarque; this is primarily for my own reference, but it’s very much worth repeating in any case:
“We now live in a world that still believes such things, and now *also* believes that to mention them, to talk about them, to dialogue, is caving in to sexism. Examining the bedrock assumptions, especially our own, is taken as an admission of having ever had a sexist thought, and *that* is simply Not Done.”Meg Umans comments:
This is the “No-Talk Rule”. It is the foundation upon which all abusive structures are built. You will find it in alcoholic families, in the families of battered spouses and children, in abusive churches, in sweatshops [including many, many white collar corporate ones]. And in totalitarian states, oh my yes.
No-Talk is a place where psychology and linguistics are so closely intertwined that I can’t see a way to separate them. The idea - simple and brilliant - is that as long as people are prohibited from talking about X, their ability to think about X, define it, understand it is severely curtailed. Their ability to actually do anything productive about X, of course, is completely pre-empted, since they can neither think nor talk about it effectively if at all.
And the attitude you describe, that to mention the abusive circumstances is to tacitly consent to them, or to be in some way a supporter of them? Magical thinking [ignore it and it will vanish - if you just do enough affirmations and mean them sincerely] combined with pernicious thought control [if you see it you must be it]. Again, these thought patterns are pushed in unhealthy groups of all shapes and sizes, from abusive families to worldwide cults. You will notice how beautifully [in the same sense a coral snake or lionfish is beautiful] these patterns push all responsibility for the abusiveness directly onto the person who perceives and articulates the abuse [usually because they are experiencing it].
Yes, well put. Thank you. There’s probably about as much sexism now as thirty years ago. As long as we don’t talk about it, though, it doesn’t really exist, right? And we can always blame the victims for speaking truth to power.