I’ve never been a fan of business jargon–paradigm shift, take it to another level, gold standard. Almost all business jargon words take a simple word (in the above case: change, improve, and best) and make it more complicated and confusing. The only reason to do that is if the speaker doesn’t really want to be clear.
Business jargon will always be used, and I’ll always be looking for shorter, better words. I’m tired of “wheelhouse,” which means within your area of expertise or interest, as in, “I’m assigning you to the marketing team because the Acme Dynamite account put marketing in your wheelhouse.” Except it doesn’t really distinguish between expertise and interest, and that distance can be pretty hefty.
Instead of “wheelhouse,” let’s get back to what it means, and use either “expertise” or “skill.” Simple and no one thinks you are the ancient mariner or Captain Ahab.
But there are two phrases that have come into casual language–the language we use with our friends. In today’s world, that means at work, too, because our friends are now those we compete with and see every day at work.
“Bitch slap” is an open-handed slap to someone (admittedly, male or female) who is whining. It also means that the person who gets slapped can’t take a “real, manly punch.” The whole thing is abhorrent. Because it also implies that if your woman is a bitch, she needs to be slapped. This happens a lot in movies, and it’s not just recent. It shows that men are always in charge, need to control their women, and if the women steps out of line, well, then, she deserves a little slapping around. It’s not funny, and it teaches a whole boatload of bad ideas.
“Resting Bitch Face” (also called Bitchy Resting Face) is another term that was started to explain the look of aging women–the mouth that isn’t in a perpetual smile, but one with corners that turn down. Everyone who is over 40 knows that sooner or later, gravity wins. If you also have the two lines between your eyebrows, it gets worse. There was even a pretend PSA (Public Service Announcement) that set the phones of plastic surgeons ringing.
The idea is that women always need to look nice, pleasant, smiling, sexy. I don’t know a single person, male or female, who can maintain that. But I’ve not heard of the male equivalent.
This isn’t about political correctness, this is about two terms that de-value women based on the fact that they are women. Our culture runs on language, and when we use language that demeans a segment of our culture, it changes opinions of how those people should be treated. Not every woman is beautiful, and most women who are lucky to live long lives have that life written on their faces. it doesn’t make them bitches. The thing that bothers me the most is that the terms (when I hear them) are most often used by women.
––Quinn McDonald is fierce, but she’s no bitch.