George S. Ledyard wrote:
Boy, Isaac, that's a pretty strong reaction.... you have a pre-existing agenda which caused you to react accordingly rather than address any of the points she actually made.
Precisely. Caused him to react. Language has meaning, and by using the spelling "womyn," she invites, dare I say, demands, that people reflect or react to hyr pre-existing agenda or view of the world in that usage. It was a bit strong, but hardly wrong to point out that needless distraction in hyr statement. Hyr spelling was utterly extraneous to hyr discussion, and the subtext served only to obscure and trivialize hyr point.
An annoying tendency of usage, really. Sort of passive agressive, and very much not aiki in terms of placing an important personal view of conflict squarely on the table to be resolved.
It is an attempt to make the language fit an ideological paradigm -- which is precisely the thing her usage is implicitly attempting to counter. Originally, in Old English "man" was generic (some would say it remains so) and the gender specific was indicated either by the adjective phrase "wer man" = "male human" and "wif man" ="female human." The evolved usage has made "man" as male to be generic and undifferentiated and "woman" as special and differentiated. Making the differentiation "more special" by altering the spelling to "womyn" hardly redresses the linguistic balance that she implicitly faults.
George Ledyard wrote:
Women should not have to measure their worth according to their ability to be "like the guys."
That was the point in question. The issue is whether women have to have their equality on men's terms. Obviously not. Our biological imperatives are different. Our conflict paradigms are accordingly nuanced.
Man or woman, if I have to argue a point by first changing the perceived meaning of a word in order to win, it is an argument that I have already lost.
An approach in keeping with aiki would cease arguing with the language and use it as it is to address the reality of the conflict that obviously exists in that context, and seek to resolve that conflict rather than merely flagging it with a confrontational marker that is simply designed to lead to more
confrontation -- by playing to the peculiar weaknesses of men .