Just beat it…



First off, I’m going to entirely ignore Gayle Rosenwald Smith’s article entitled “The Wife-Beater” to geek out about the picture left at the end depicting Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Being a self-proclaimed classic movie buff, I can’t help but love it when I see a masterpiece like “A Streetcar Named Desire” referenced, regardless of whether it is in a good or bad way, in an unrelated topic.

Now, moving on to the real topic at hand, I had a big problem with the foundation of her article. Yes, while I do concede that it is commonplace to call the particular type of shirt a “Wife-beater”, the actual name is called and “A-shirt”, feel free to open up an adjacent tab and Google that. If she really had that big of a problem with its title, you would think she make this a persuasive paper with a call to action for its reform in name.

Finally, now that all that is off my chest I can actually bring up what I enjoyed about the article. Smith had some very good points in her article. To bring up the fact that the term “Wife-beater” has become so well used that it has found its way into the lexicon that is The Oxford Dictionary is beyond me. I am aware that language is a very plastic, malleable object, but to here that an objectified, slang phrase has become a regular part of speech is abhorrent. It makes me fear for the moment when our language takes a turn towards the purely phonetic; something that has only ever been publicly discussed in H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” So much for me enjoying it, huh?


2 thoughts on “Just beat it…

  1. Great post! “A Streetcar Named Desire” is one of my favorites too! I thought this was an interesting article. At first, I kind of scoffed at the author for her oversensitivity. People seem like they will jump at the opportunity to be offended at things nowadays. But then I began to see her point. Society has become exceedingly desensitized. We call an article of clothing a name synonymous with abuse, pain, and suffering without a second thought. I don’t think that any one person is at fault however. Smith seemed to me like she was trying to find someone on whom to place the blame; she accused everyone who even owned a wife-beater of misogynistic insensitivity. These people are not responsible. Society as a whole is. Instead of spending her article trying to place the blame, she should have thought of ways to help society regain its sensitivity to such important issues.

  2. I have to agress with everything you have just said. At frist reading the title of the article I was expecting someting completly different. At first I thought I was going to dislike this article. I think when people hear the word wife-better they think of it litterly. I still wonder how a peice of clothing could be called somethig people think of as pain when it is just a different type of undershirt. As far as the dictionary is concerned you should be afraid besides adding in slag such as wife-beater they have also added in googling. Even though people saw it a lot it use to not be a verb to mean look something up on the internet.I fear if this this is the future we have to look forward tol.

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