Eels and octopi

Having kids in high school is helping me to appreciate there's a remarkable to shift in attitudes that's rippling through society

I'm thinking about the distinctions between gender and sexual identity.

It doesn't seem so long ago that I was considering these topics at university, particularly within units offered by anthropology and womens studies departments.

Yet I trip up on the contemporary language being used all the time.

And I can see how alienating it is for a generation older than me, particularly when a local member makes quips about not wanting any gender fluid in schools.

It's easy to pose inflexible ignorance as a conservative default.

My kids have varied perspectives and it's amazing to me how much more accepting their cohort is when people identify outside of the heteronormative paradigm.

Particularly when the language used to describe seemingly innocuous distinctions like male and female toilets in regional Australia will often be loaded with class-influenced terms like gents and ladies.

I wonder if there's scope for new euphemisms to recognise the shift in attitudes?

Eels and octopi


Last year I observed that telecommunications software might have a positive influence on the discussion

I was prompted by experiences using Zoom, which included undertaking activities like workshops and even a life-drawing class (which was kinda surprising since everyone had the same view).

My musing included a tongue-in-cheek idea that Zoom (or Skype or Teams) might undermine patriarchy in the workplace, as:

...laptop speakers and mobile phones are terrible for those deep, masculine voices which would normally evoke authority and promote physical dominance.

Big rat with Nokia for scale
While reading just now I've been forced to realise the idea that telecommunications might be unmanly is not a new idea: who spoke clearly over the phone might come across as feminized. In one 1895 romantic story, when a man speaks through a telephone, his voice “became very soft…and very distinct,” even “cooing.”