Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Word of the day - la chosification

A word came up in our feminist theology group last night "la chosification de la femme". As I heard it I smiled because I'm not sure I'd ever heard it said aloud before. But making human beings into objects into things which is what the word means is not a smiling matter.
Something I shall ponder now as I make my way to Rome on the night train is whether we should translate in a way that objectifies people through language. Suzanne Mccarthy on her excellent blog has been campaigning against wrong and wrongly interpreted translations. The way we use words can objectify others and encourage others to think it is all right to treat people in reality in the same way as we speak about them.
Racist comments or jokes, sexist comments or jokes may be funny but they are not a joke whatever Carole Thatcher or Prince Harry may claim. Please don't try to sell the "political correctness gone mad" to me line. The words we use to describe the world can also create and change that world for good or for ill. That's no joke.