Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I think we need to stop using 'Stabby'

It's a great word, as it so accurately describes that feeling of rage that we got from douchecanoes, bad drivers and body police. It sounds kinda fun, lighthearted, with the -y ending.

But if we (progressives/feminists/equalists etc) are a community that is against violence, a community that is aware that violence and threats of violence are used against us, especially against women, I think it's a little lazy and crass for us to use such a violent term. Especially when usually we are just really fucking angry.

I know some of my very favourite bloggers use it, and those of you who do, I would love to hear from you. Am I completely off track? Is it something we should do, but meh, more important things?

Language, and the way we use it, is important. And something we should be aware of how we use.



  1. As a woman with a background in self-injury as a form of frusration management/release, I feel stabby is a very apt and appropriate term for me to use, in that it is a shorthand for 'this makes me feel so angry and frustrated I feel the need to turn to extreme measures to help myself feel calmer and more in control before I can think about more productive ways to deal'.

  2. Hmm, it's not a phrase I tend to use, I'm not sure what I think about it.

    I have been known to threaten my children with evisceration, but as that usually elicits a laugh I think the exaggeration for comic effect is well understood. By them anyway. I have on occasion said it in front of other people and had a moment of oops, maybe that doesn't come across so well.

    I'm rambling. *shuts up and waits for other people to say erudite stuff*

  3. This reminds me of the debate that was had in the lesbian feminist community in the nineties about the Hothead Paisan - Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist comics. Personally, I think all that violence was cathartic, and fantasy. I guess I have felt similar about 'stabby' though I will definitely think more about it now - thanks for raising it.

  4. I think there is a difference about expressing a general, non-defined wish of violence (particularly as violence as catharsis is ingrained in our society) and wishing violence against a, or a group of, person/people.

    If there is another way to demonstrate the need for cathartic release (sex for example - though saying, "I NEED AN ORGASM" would be seen completely differently), then we could switch...

    I think another problem is that we tend to use stabby, or any other equivalent, when we're angry/frustrated/pissed off/etc and that need to release anger (etc) is often dealt with through a form of violence, even if minor like stalking off, stamping feet, yelling at something/one, tearing up paper, breaking something, punching bags (literal not people), exercise, kicking things (trees, walls, poles), etc.

    The word "stabby" reflects the violence of the emotion. I don't know if a suitable replacement will be found.