Two other women, also breast cancer survivors, said their husbands left them after they were diagnosed. Both had to have mastectomies (in case anyone doesn’t know, this is the surgical operation to remove one or both breasts).
The first woman said her husband told her that he would rather see her dead than see her lose her breasts. The second woman had her operation and waited all day to be picked up by her husband, who never arrived. By nightfall, one of the nurses offered to give her a ride, and she came home to find the house empty.
Obviously, these are extreme cases of a man’s reaction to his wife’s breast cancer, but this is what I see when I see the “I ♥ Boobies” bracelets. I see love of the body parts, not the person being treated—not the patient, not the victim, not the survivor.
We were grabbing a bite of lunch at a small cafe, in a mall, right across from a booth that sold jewelry and where ears could be pierced for a fee. A mother approaches with a little girl of six or seven years old. The little girl is clearly stating that she doesn’t want her ears pierced, that’s she’s afraid of how much it will hurt, that she doesn’t like earrings much in the first place. Her protests, her clear ‘no’ is simply not heard. The mother and two other women, who work the booth, begin chatting and trying to engage the little girl in picking out a pair of earrings. She has to wear a particular kind when the piercing is first done but she could pick out a fun pair for later.
"I don’t want my ears pierced."
"I don’t want any earrings."
The three adults glance at each other conspiratorially and now the pressure really begins. She will look so nice, all the other girls she knows wear earrings, the pain isn’t bad.
She, the child, sees what’s coming and starts crying. As the adults up the volume so does she, she’s crying and emitting a low wail at the same time. “I DON’T WANT MY EARS PIERCED.”
Her mother leans down and speaks to her, quietly but strongly, the only words we could hear were ‘… embarrassing me.’
We heard, then, two small screams, when the ears were pierced.
Little children learn early and often that ‘no doesn’t mean no.’
Little children learn early that no one will stand with them, even the two old men looking horrified at the events from the cafeteria.
Little girls learn early and often that their will is not their own.
No means no, yeah, right.
Most often, for kids and others without power, ”no means force.”
from "No Means Force" at Dave Hingsburger’s blog.
This is important. It doesn’t just apply to little girls and other children, though it often begins there.
For the marginalized, our “no’s” are discounted as frivolous protests, rebelliousness, or anger issues, or we don’t know what we’re talking about, or we don’t understand what’s happening.
When “no means force” we become afraid to say no.
The authority you need here to coin a word is gonna be a dictionary, and before we talk about how to get into one, we need to deconstruct the idea of what a dictionary is. Which may seem a little dumb, but I promise you, most lexicographers (dictionary-writers) have exactly the opposite view on language than people think they do.
Dictionaries are mostly used by prescriptivists, that is, people looking for the One True Spelling (or Meaning) of a particular word. The dictionary is correct and flawless and complete, and deviations from it are by definition (heh) wrong. Hence the idea that any word not in the dictionary is not a “real” word.
But dictonaries are mostly made by descriptivists. Rather than prescribing correct usages and spellings, lexicographers are describing the language as they find it. They take in thousands of examples of words in use, whether from well-established academic texts or from awesome pop song mashups, and try to write a definition that covers those usages. And since people are constantly using language in new ways, the dictionary is never complete and never totally correct.