Language has immense power, which is why it behooves us to choose our words carefully. Words have the power to oppress or liberate, to include or exclude.
ANYWAY, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk in various media lately about emasculation (i.e. open disapproval, criticism, berating) and how it’s one of the worst things you can do to a man, besides castration itself. The message goes something like this: “Women, don’t emasculate your man or he will cheat on you or leave you or fill in the blank.”
It seems pop culture uses emasculation as a valid excuse for all sorts of negative behaviour in men (See: Jon Gosselin, from Jon and Kate Plus Eight). After all, men are entitled to feel like strong, virile, dominant people; they should not be exposed to criticism or humiliation, particularly from women.
Before I continue, I’m not a proponent of humiliating men. I’m just not down with the word ’emasculate’ and what it implies. While http://www.dictionary.com is no Oxford English Dictionary, it offers something worth mentioning.
- Emasculate (adj): deprived of or lacking strength or vigor; effeminate.
To emasculate means to reduce a man to a level of weakness…to a woman’s level. The word implies that men are on top and they deserve to stay on top, by virtue of nothing except for being male. By criticizing a man, we take away his essence, his supremacy. You can see why I ain’t biting.
To be clear, what I’m arguing here is constant disapproval, condemnation and humiliation isn’t emasculating, it’s dehumanizing.
In short, The Smiths had it right:
How can you say/ I go about things the wrong way?/ I am human and I need to be loved/ Just like everybody else does.