If I look up “carrot” in the dictionary, most people will acknowledge I do not know all there is to know about carrots and if I truly want to understand carrots, I should probably pick up a horticultural text book. We know that legal and medical terms are going to be, at best, simplistically represented and know we need to find a lawyer or a doctor if we want to know more. Anyone deciding to base their argument on, say, a philosophical concept or term using the dictionary is going to be laughed at at best, or automatically lose whatever argument they’re trying to make at least.
Yet the minute we move into a social justice framework, the ultimate authority changes. We don’t need lived experience, we don’t need experts who have examined centuries of social disparities and discrimination, we don’t need societal context. We don’t need sociology or history – no, we have THE DICTIONARY! That ultimate tome of oracular insight, the last word on any debate!
It’s patently ridiculous and you can see that by applying it to any other field of knowledge. But the privileged will continually trot out simplistic, twitter-style dictionary definitions as if they are the last word and the ultimate authority. No-one would drag out the dictionary to debate science with a scientist. But they’re more than willing to trot out a dictionary definition of racism over any sociological analysis. A dictionary is not the ultimate authority - they’re a rough guide for you to discover the simple meaning of words you’ve never heard before – not an ultimate definition of what the word means and all its contexts.
A police department from a town I don’t live in called me twice and left messages both times requesting that I call back and when I did they did they had no idea who I was or why anyone from their department would’ve called me
Playing Skyrim with a multi-follower mod so I can have my husband and our Khajiit steward/boyfriend follow around at the same time (Don’t worry about the kids, Aunt Jemimah is watching them).
Anyway, we were headed to some Telvanni mushroom town but when I show up there, only Kharjo is there, and Farkas’ place has been taken over by some Courier who apparently needed to give me a letter so badly that HE REPLACED MY HUSBAND. So I freaked out a bit and almost called the wizard down to try and change him back, when my boy comes suddenly running in from the ocean. I don’t know how I put up with him sometimes. (it’s his glorious ass)
But what of the asexual people who do not know what they are? What of the asexuals who consent to acts of sex purely because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do? What of the asexual people who have sex because they want to be “normal,” knowing that their friends, family and lovers will reject or look down on them if they are abnormal? They do not have the information about asexuality that they need to make fully informed decisions about their sex lives. They might not have the confidence needed to resist people and social standards that would pressure them into having sex that they do not truly want. They can still consent to sex, and may even enjoy it, but they are not entirely free, and their consent is not freely given.
SOML. I still stand by my choices because they made me who I am, but my sex life would definitely have gone differently if I knew about asexuality earlier. This whole essay is excellent.