Well it looks like my post yesterday caused a little confusion yesterday. People spend years studying discourse theory and it can be extremely complicated. The thing is that ‘discourse’ or the words we use shape who we are and how we react to people. I am going to try to clarify a few things:
- Wandering Coyote says she uses the word ‘chick’ in sarcasm or when a woman ticks her off. This is precisely the use of the word that is problematic. ‘Chick’ is a demeaning, derisive and dismissive word. When the word is used it is meant to insult. This is precisely why the word should not be in use. This goes further. When women use it to police other women it can truly take on an ugly form. Just think of how often the appearance of women is debated and discussed. We have all been involved in discussions where we might discuss a woman’s provocative clothing, her choice of shoes or her weight. This policing of women by women is also a by-product of the patriarchy.
- Sometimes words like ‘chick’ get conflated with other words that have power. Some examples are words like queer and dyke. When these words are used against people they are powerful however when people reclaim they become equally powerful. These words are different from the word ‘chick’ in particular.
- Christine wonders why I think the word ‘chick’ refers to baby chickens and not other baby birds. The thing is it doesn’t really matter what kind of baby bird women are being referred to when the word ‘chick’ is used a woman is being equated with an infantile bird. Personally, I find this insulting.
Just remember whenever women are devalued and demeaned by the word ‘chick’ it serves to lessen the power of women in our society. At first glance this word may seem innocuous; it is anything but. Use of the word reifies the patriarchy and puts women in a place below men. In the 21st century this is simply not acceptable.
 I did my MA thesis on discourse theory.
 I am really not meaning to pick on the Wandering Coyote here.