Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reclaiming prudery

It's well known that 'queer theorists' successfully reclaimed the term 'queer', which used to be a term of abuse for homosexual, and turned it into a sort of verbal flag for the homosexualist movement.

Can we do the same thing for the term 'prude'?  By far the most common statement I see on one side of the porn debate is 'I am not a prude' (the most common statement on the other side is 'I am against any form of censorship').  But I am always puzzled by what a 'prude' is.  It seems like a term of abuse, given that so many people are so eager to deny being one.  I have never seen anyone admit to being a prude. Is this because prudes are a bit like homosexuals were in the 1950s, and afraid to admit this.  Should prudes come out of the closet?  It's difficult to say, because whereas it was clear in the 1950s what 'homosexual' meant, it's not clear what 'prude' means.

So we can't reclaim a term if we don't know what it means. Time for some further research.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

Interesting question. I was originally going to argue against this, but after doing a bit of research into the definition and, especially, the etymology, I think you have a pretty good case. Not good enough that I feel I can make the case for you, but there's something there.

(As an aside, which I put in parenthesis just like you, I highly doubt that the most common statement on the other side is "I am against any form of censorship". And even if it is the most common one, it certainly is not the strongest one, and is closer to the weakest one.)

12:29 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>> I highly doubt that the most common statement on the other side is "I am against any form of censorship".

Any doubts expressed on this blog must be supported by arguments. Or at least examples of more common statements :)

12:48 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> Any doubts expressed on this blog must be supported by arguments.

A doubt is a request for an argument. If I had an argument I wouldn't have expressed doubt.

>> Or at least examples of more common statements :)

What is the domain?

Interestingly, I just google searched for "I am against any form of censorship", and got this as the top result. I'm tempted to close this as a clear case of a strawman argument simply based on that.

12:56 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>A doubt is a request for an argument.

It would be helpful if you gave reasons for your doubt. Otherwise I will just say I have doubts about your doubt.

>>Interestingly, I just google searched for "I am against any form of censorship", and got this as the top result. I'm tempted to close this as a clear case of a strawman argument simply based on that.

Sorry, doesn't your search prove exactly what I was saying?

6:48 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Oh I see what you mean. This post came up. That's because the post was today. Next week it will have disappeared from any search.

6:50 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

My reason for my doubt is that I've read many of these discussions, and as I remember it the "I am against any form of censorship" was in the minority.

I make no claim that this is an argument, however. If you want to have doubts about my doubt, oh well.

>> Next week it will have disappeared from any search.

Perhaps. But I went through the first few pages of results, and also through a few other related searches (adding terms like Wikipedia), and I couldn't even find a single person on the other side of the argument who said "I am against any form of censorship".

11:51 pm  

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