This is not a political forum, nor is this post political in any sense. However, I will make a couple of references to political events, and if you find that offensive, you might stop reading right now.
I’ve been thinking today about the power words have–to hurt, to heal, to control, to inspire. This week, the news is full of the way words have been used. For example, Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student a “slut.” Nobody calls another person a slut unless they want to hurt that other person. That’s the nature of that word. Whether or not you agree with Rush’s statement, sentiment, or world view, he cannot go back and say anything that will take away the hurt he caused.
On the other hand, people can change how words are viewed. Today I watched a video in which two female musicians take the word “slut” and make into a badge of honor.You want to watch it here.
So now, we can all go around thinking about that word as an acronym for, say, Sassy, Liberated, Unfettered, Testaments to womanhood. Or something along those lines.
My point is, language is supremely important. I could give more examples. Like how in Idaho our legislature failed to even send to the floor a bill that would allow transgender/gay/lesbian people the same protections from discrimination in housing, jobs, and business as other people have. Just a few words would make a world of difference to many, many people. Or the contraception bills sprouting up all over the place. Or the bills such as the one in Virginia that will require invasive intravaginal ultasounds for women seeking abortions.
Words. They have a huge impact on lives. On human beings.
That’s why I am proud to write for young adults. I know words have power. And I know these kids are paying attention, probably more so than most adults. My 15-year-old son said to me yesterday that the older he gets, the more interested he becomes in the news, politics, current events, the rest of the world. He has reached that developmental stage where he can see how it all relates to him.
That is why I take such pains to craft my writing for young adults in such a way that I don’t convey judgment, hatred, or condemnation. I want to suggest to them that at least one person in this world sees them, understands them, and accepts them for who they are. I hope that comes through in my words.