Is it possible to insult someone who doesn’t value your opinion of them?

If a woman does not think being sexually active is immoral, then is it possible to ‘insult’ her by calling her names that are supposed to indicate she is sexually active?

If a woman truly does not see being widowed as immoral or criminal, then would she be offended if attempts are made to ‘insult’ her by calling her a widow? Maybe what is hurtful is that someone wants to offend or even hurt? But what does it say for the society that looks upon loss of a life partner (only for women) as not sad and unfortunate, but as an ‘insult’?

But then it seems telling someone they are acting like women is an insult, sometimes even women can be insulted with reminders that they mere women/girls.

Telling a man he is not a ‘man’ (or ‘man enough’) would also be an insult only if the man sees ‘not being a man’ as an insult.

What does such an insult say about the one who is attempting to insult?

1. In patriarchal societies adjectives/nouns/verbs/metaphors/etc that convey that women are not asexual, can be used to insult women and all the men authorised by Patriarchy to control their sexuality – these include their husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles, community elders, a neighbour’s third cousin who happens to notice her crossing her lakshman rekha, also, her country men.

2. Since aggression is seen as an essential ‘manly’ quality , insult can be attempted by accusing a man of lack of aggression. Sexual aggression is also seen as manly, in fact it is a patriarchal tool to either insult or control women’s freedoms, which is why some sexual criminals claim to ‘teach a lesson’ to either the people they rape or their families or communities. And which is why sexual crimes should not be allowed to be seen as anything less than the crimes that they are. Molestation or street sexual harassment are not ‘insults’ or dishonour, they are serious crimes that support more crimes by preventing/curtailing women’s freedom to  move out of dangerous or unpleasant situations.

It also seems adjectives that describe anybody or anything that does not support the cause of Patriarchal abuse of human rights are ‘insults’.

‘Insult’ is a powerful patriarchal tool – but it can’t survive without support from those who agree to be ‘insulted’ when they have been criminally, maybe even grievously assaulted and or when they have been told they or their family members do not fit into Patriarchal stereotypes.

How would those who attempt to insult, deal with men and women who don’t think being sexually active (or not) is anybody’s business but an adult individual’s?

A comment on the previous post asked a reader:

But you never find any insult to be worth being offended by. Do you ?

What would you find ‘insulting’?

Would you be offended if you were called a misogynist or ‘a foot soldier of patriarchy’? What if you were called a slut, a virago, unladylike, shameless etc (if you are woman) or ‘a woman’ or a Joru ka Gulaam, if you are a man? How would you react?

What control would patriarchy have if it can’t insult those it attempts to control?

Related Posts:

Would women be in some ways empowered if they saw no shame in what they could risk being called?

Babe In Total Control Of Herself – B.I.T.C.H.

What the hell is difference between a homemaker and a porn star?

This Shame belongs to Who?


Delhi Belly: Indecent, immoral, abusive language. Permitted everywhere except on screen.

“Here’s why I think the society should not obsess over a woman’s virginity.”

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

Every blogger should mind their language.

Why does Gender Sensitivity in Legal Language matter.


Do you think insulting should be a punishable offense?

1. Do you think ‘insulting’ should be a punishable offense?

If yes, then why? And what kind of punishment?

2. Are threats of violence an insult to the Indian Constitution?

3. Do violent protests achieve their goals better than peaceful protests? Could it be because they are generally politically motivated?

And so,

4. Are violent protests politically motivated/supported, or are they spontaneous?

And finally,

5. Salman Rushdie it seems has visited India earlier and there were no problems, why do you think has this become such an issue this time?

Updated to ask: Isn’t Freedom of Expression the Right to express what we can’t express without the Freedom of Expression?



Related Posts:

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?