Archivy etc.

opinions, occasional rants, and sometimes things that have nothing to do with archives at all. Nothing here should be assumed to be reflective of my employer's opinion(s) nor should it be assumed that at anytime afterward, this is what I still think.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Strumpet Manifesto

A friend used the word strumpet the other day in reference to a "tea and strumpets" party which she usually attends. And it got me to thinking.

There's a lot being said right now about the word slut, which, no matter how you try to ennoble it, just doesn't seem to get there. I originally thought I'd like to do a call to arms: Strumpets Unite! I think, though, that part of the problem here is when people start thinking about other people as groups, instead of individuals, it becomes easier to place labels and stereotype and not to think about them as individuals. Words like slut become easier to throw around without thinking. Just like the classic and much more ubiquitous and insidious: What do women want? What do women want? Who knows? Who cares? The only reason to ask such a question would be in hopes that the answer will allow you to stop thinking about the woman in front of you as a individual with her own wishes, desires, interests. It's a shortcut. Is that such a good idea? (Hear the resounding and echoing NO! in the distance?)

I looked up strumpet in the Oxford Dictionary of English. Among other things, it defined strumpet as "a promiscuous woman." (1)  So I looked up promiscuous and the etymology of that word said it was based on miscere, which is the Latin for "to mix." I quote: "The early sense was 'consisting of elements mixed together'" (2) which for me, pretty much confirms it. Except the woman part. I think guys can and should be strumpets too.

So this is my Strumpet Manifesto. If it works for you? Great. If not? Write your own. Nobody said we had to be in lockstep. In fact, maybe we'll be doing the world an educational favor if we each--no matter our gender or whatever label is being applied--insist on being treated as a sole person, not to be stereotyped, not to have assumptions made about us. There may be strength in numbers, but sometimes, just sometimes, there's strength in one.

But hey, I'm an archivist. Unique is my raison d'ĂȘtre. I might borrow, adapt, refine, alter, and frequently do. The end result, though, is me.  And if this strumpet stands alone? So be it. As long as I'm recognized as an individual, that works for me. And this list is in progress. I just wanted to get what I could down while I was thinking about it. I may add to it at times. Twelve seemed a good starting point.
  • I will respect the knowledge and experience of people who have knowledge and experience I don't.
  • There's always something to learn.
  • I want to remain open to differing perspectives. That doesn't mean I have to approve of all of them.
  • I don't need to tell people absolutely everything I know.
  • I respect people's choices to be called what they wish to be called and to be defined by what they wish to be defined.
  • I do not respect those names and definitions when applied by anyone else without the consent of those who are being labeled.
  • Damage to people around me may be inevitable, but I can try and limit the amount of damage I do and apologize when I find out I've done it. 
  • Conversations and discussions are better than lectures, but occasionally lectures have their uses.
  • I have many friends who I cherish and no two of them are alike.
  • It's FUN to have diversity in my life.
  • My life is a work in progress.
  • The price of admission into my life? Is respect.
And now that I've been thinking about it? Please write your own. Share the link to it below. Steal from mine if you want, if it applies. Or don't. Whatever works for you.

1."strumpet;" noun. Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010.Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Alaska Anchorage - State Wide. 14 March 2012;>

2."promiscuous;" adjective. Oxford Dictionary of English. Edited by Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2010. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Alaska Anchorage - State Wide. 14 March 2012;>

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