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Free Speech Lover Sarah Huckabee Sanders Will Tell You What Words You Can Use, Okay?
Free speech is her passion.
With all that is going on in the world right now, you might think that the governor of a whole-ass state would have more things on her mind than just policing the speech of everyone who works in her government. But no! No, Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ big priority this week was a new plan to bar government employees from using inclusive language. Or, as she deems it, “woke” language. Probably because of how very much she loves free speech.
The terms Huckabee is most riled-up about are those meant to be inclusive to trans men and non-binary folks who are able to get pregnant. Some of the terms, I must admit, even I haven’t heard before, so it’s hard to imagine that they are running so very rampant in Arkansas government that Huckabee felt the need to come in and put a stop to it. It’s almost as if this is some performative shit meant to boost her profile in the culture war.
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Here’s the list, should you be so curious
a. Rather than “pregnant people” or “pregnant person,” use “pregnant women” or “pregnant mom.”
b. Rather than “chestfeeding,” use “breastfeeding.”
c. Rather than “body fed” or “person fed,” use “breast fed.”
d. Rather than “human milk,” use “breast milk.”
e. Rather than “birthing person,” use “birth mom.”
f. Rather than “laboring person,” use “birth mom.”
g. Rather than “menstruating person” or “menstruating people,” use “woman” or “women.”
h. Rather than “birth-giver,” use “woman.”
i. Rather than “womxn” or “womyn,” use “woman.”
That last one … I’m pretty sure was actually coined by second-wave era feminists who didn’t like the term “woman” because the word suggested that being “man” was the norm and women were merely an offshoot of the brand. It was also, ironically, popularized due to its use by the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival — which was notably and notoriously a transphobic enterprise that only admitted “womyn-born-womyn.” Like, they were out here barring trans people from stuff before anyone in the GOP even thought to do it.
In fact, much of the online discourse about trans rights can be traced back to arguments in the “feminist blogosphere” in the 2000s over Michfest and its exclusion of trans women.
So that shows you how much Sarah Huckabee Sanders knows. But I digress.
We must remember, of course, that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a fierce, fierce warrior for free speech. Please to recall the speech she gave in response to Biden’s state of the union, in which she practically wept for the way she imagined the government was colluding with big tech to take away the free speech rights of conservatives.
“Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight,” she said. “Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols, all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is—your freedom of speech. That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”
To be clear, no one asked her or anyone else to do any rituals, salute any flags or worship any false idols. That is all made up. And hell, I learned in elementary school that just because someone puts a flag in front of you, that doesn’t mean you have to salute it (although the teacher may ask you to stand in the back of the class).
What they don’t get to do is be shitty to other people without consequences or discriminate against anyone in an official, illegal way. That’s literally it! That is all! Other than that, they are free to do as they please. They’re the ones who want everyone to practice their religion, salute when they tell them to salute — and actually try to pass laws to make this a reality (or claim, wrongly, that such laws already exist).
It’s curious how many of the Right’s culture war issues are rooted in wanting to feel special. They want kids to be compelled to practice their religion in schools, they want store clerks to wish them a “Merry Christmas,” they thought that same-sex marriage would make their own marriages “less special,” they were upset about the phrase “Black Lives Matter” because they heard that and thought “Does that mean MY life doesn’t matter?,” they love nationalism and talking about how they live in the greatest country in the world and are the “Real Americans,” they’re constantly fretting about white people being “replaced,” they fall for absolute dumbasses like Donald Trump who just keep telling them how wonderful they are — and I will believe until I die that much of the opposition to abortion is rooted in male fear that their own mothers wouldn’t have loved them enough to sacrifice their lives for them.
This is why the mere idea, the mere spectre of this kind of language is so upsetting to them: it’s inclusive of people they have decided should be excluded, and they just can’t feel good unless they are excluding someone.