Pre-blog post note: Today is my last day of Frocktober and we only have $268.50 left to raise in order to meet the goal of $1500. It is amazing that we have raised so much so far. Funds are for research into ovarian cancer, for which there is no current early detection test. Check out my page (including pretty dresses): https://frocktober.everydayhero.com/au/emmeline
Normally I don’t post on Fridays. But also normally, I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or at least one of the two, and I haven’t done either this week. I have been ridiculously stressed and busy. There are so many ideas in my head, but I like to give express them well, and that means sitting down and committing time to think it through, write it, edit it, say exactly what I mean.
But I’m annoyed that perfectionism is getting in the way of putting something out in the world. So I have decided to do this thing where I just write 100 words or fewer about the topic that is occupying my brain, and if I want to flesh it out into a longer post down the track, I can do that also.
Today’s topic: violent imagery as it relates to study (trigger warning, inc sexual assault).
One day during my first ever exam period at Melbourne Uni, my friend came home and I asked him how his exam went. “Great!” he said. “I raped it!”
I was so shocked and upset at this use of language. He agreed not to use the language in front of me, or any women, but said he would continue to use it around men.
What shocked me most was using rape to describe something positive. It was, and is (people still use it at college — I checked) a disturbing use of language. I compare it to the portmanteau “frape”, which smashes together “Facebook” and “rape”, and refers to when someone updates another person’s Facebook account, usually to comedic effect, by posting a status update or changing the relationship status. I think rape is really horrible and serious, and should be made light of by using the word that describes it in non-serious or positive ways.
But look at what I just did — when explaining portmanteau, I used the word “smash”, which is fairly violent. And I use violent imagery all the time, especially when talking about completing uni work:
“I’m going to smash out 1000 words and then go out for lunch”
“How was your presentation?” “Awesome, nailed it!”
“I destroyed that essay”
“How’s your work going?” “I’m killin’ it”
I think this trend is kind of disturbing, and encourages the attitude of disunity with which so many of us approach our essays etc. Writing an essay is an act of creation, not destruction, but by framing it in this adversarial manner we are setting it up as a monster to slay. This only makes it harder, because we go into studying pre-empting battle fatigue.
I am going to attempt to use more positive language in the next couple of weeks as I complete my final two essays for the semester. For example:
“I am going to compose 1000 words and then go out for lunch”
“How was your presentation?” “I expressed myself really well”
“I sailed through that essay”
“How’s your work going?” “It is cooperating well with me”
What do you think about my alternatives?