Sometimes, people can be extraordinarily judgmental and closed-minded to anyone different or special, which is why it's so hard for young people in this day and age to be comfortable enough in their own skin to not listen to the people picking on them.
As a writer, you have the constant reminder that the sword of Damocles is over your head with every word you type. The reality is that words are powerful and dangerous and the more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become. But unlike the spoken word, where whatever stupidity you spout out is left at the mercy of the wind and memory, the written word is there, constant and eternal, just to remind you what was that stupidity you decided to include in the article, and left there after your third edit. That means I try to be careful as to what words I use, always considering how they might be interpreted.
The three words that I would have never guessed would have caused me the most aggravation are actually the three words that sat at the core of my entire treatise; Lady, Gentleman, and Chivalry. In this article, I will only focus on Lady and Gentleman, since it relates to the idea that I want to express.
Every once in a while, when I used either word in my articles, the reaction by some people was as if I had included a slur as they went into full blown attack mode. That caused me to reconsider using these words, looking for suitable synonyms. Apparently these words held some kind of weighted preconception and prejudice attached to them for some people. So I spent hours and days thinking and mulling for alternatives. Gallantry, Noble Man, Chevalier, Modern Woman, and many others would take the place of a term I found perfectly fine. And I actually began to question if these words held a stigma I was previously unaware of, if they were comparable to swear words or to slurs. But then I realized that slurs originated with the full intent of minimizing and dehumanizing a person while Lady and Gentleman originated with the intent of elevating a person, to show them respect.
And then I realized it. The problem is not the words, but the insecurities of these readers and the judgmental attitude towards anyone not like them. Within their closed-mindedness, they are assigning a negative value simply because they aren’t willing to follow the path of a Lady or of a Gentleman. The fact that I, and so many others do, makes their own self-doubt even more evident and transparent within their eyes, so they attack, as if such an attack would cause their own issues to fade away.
I try to avoid telling people how to walk the path, as each person should decide for themselves how to walk the path. My purpose is simply to make you think, as you have to walk your own path, the one that is best suited for each of you. But what I will not allow is someone’s small mindedness limit the path that I, and so many like me, want to walk. Always remember that equality is not based on sameness, but in respecting, accepting, and appreciating the differences between us.