Deliberately Avoiding the "G" and "L" words in their Videos
Now that we have had a "sneak" preview of some of the videos for the upcoming 2018 JW Regional Conventions, we have opportunity to stand back and ponder their content, including their use of language - or in this case, their avoidance of certain words.
In this post, I focus on what I think is a "quaint", if not peculiar, avoidance of certain words that seems to have become a JW organization practice: They avoid use of the actual words "Gay" or "Lesbian" in any of the videos - even in people playing the roles of being gay- or lesbian-friendly.
A case in point is the preview of the video featuring the JW woman purchasing an item in a store where wrist bands are given away with purchases. In the video there is nothing overt about the "kind" of store she has entered - although more subtle cues prevail.
More tellingly, at no point in the video clip does anyone even mouth the words "Gay" or "LGBT". Strange.
Instead, when the lone JW politely declines to take a complementary wrist-band with her purchase, the suddenly angry shop assistant says in a loud (and over-acted) voice, "What have you got against them?" to which the JW quietly replies, "I've got nothing against them." [Emphasis added]
If viewers are wondering what the video is referring to (because no one in the video is "obviously" lesbian or gay or uses the words "lesbian" or "gay") all doubt is removed when the JW - after a seemingly tortured internal thought process - declares that she is not against anyone but "as a JW" she believes what the Bible says about marriage being reserved for a man and a woman.
(As an aside to this cringe-inducing clip, it is probably no surprise that non-JWs are portrayed as angry, loud and intolerant, whereas JWs are humble, godly and quietly-spoken - talk about portraying the enemy in the worst possible light. After all, it would be harder to stand against others if they were shown to be polite and understanding, right?)
This video clip got me wondering about other JW organization's "antigay" messages featured in their videos.
To a last one, no official JW organization video uses the words, "Gay" or "Lesbian".
Even the notorious Sophie video (in which she "innocently" tells her Mom that her school teacher says it is okay for two women to marry as long as they love each other, the word, "Lesbian" is not once used.
A further example: While the very recent "Pillowgate" video is admittedly more focused on unmarried couples engaging in porneia (even though fully clothed) and on what does and does not constitute "masturbation", once the commentary turns to tight fitting pants, out comes the words, "homosexuals" and "homosexuality" - with not one use of the word, "gay".
Is this avoidance - censoring? - of the words "Gay" and "Lesbian" unique to JWs - or is it a characteristic of fundamentalists who refuse to use "friendlier" names?
Of course, I could be wrong in my assertion that JW organization avoids using those words altogether. So I'd be happy if someone knows of instances in JW organization's videos where individuals use the words, "Lesbian" or "Gay".
They used gay in that wife of Lot video, when the daughter brought home work colleagues, but avoided lesbian - referred to 2 mums instead.
and wasn’t there a Young People Ask along the lines of Am I Gay?
Yes I've heard JWs say they don't use the word "gay" because it normalises homosexuality. JW apologist Firpo Carr even wrote a book: "Are 'gays' really gay?" Apparently questioning both the inate quality of homosexuality and the happiness of gay people with their "lifestyle" at the same time.
When even the Orange Order is beginning to accept gay people, you know it's game over:
Society is changing so rapidly on this issue, either of two things must happen:
1. JWs will change their policy and accept gay people in committed relationships as full members
2. JW policy on this will become so at odds with society that they will be marginalised like the Westboro Baptists or the Klan
To be fair about that clip, there's nothing at all really wrong with it and everything wrong with the people portrayed who are judging and pushing their opinions on others.
I wouldn't buy or wear anything, even if it was something I supported, if someone was militant and pushy about me having to wear it. I detest the "would you like to give some money to charity today?" at checkouts where it seems more like "how much are you going to give us so that we can get publicity for donating your money in our name".
It's a perfectly reasonable interpretation of the bible and they have a right to hold their beliefs without being harrassed for them.
The JWs are nothing like the Westboro Baptists or the Klan who would be the people going out of their way to cause harrassment - it's a ridiculous comparison which makes exJWs looks like bitter people out searching for things to be critical about and then blowing them out of proportion rather than pointing out fair criticism.
Scotsman, yes the word "gay" has been used occasionally in JW organization's written articles (in contrast to the organization's videos) but you'll note that it is usually in the context of a negative quote or reference made by non-JWs or when the article 'orients' readers to what specified words mean. You won't find it used as a substitute for "homosexual" in the main text.
Regarding the clip, Simon, yes: Shop assistants and others who distribute "giveaways" such as wrist bands are expressly trained not to dispute or argue with customers or passersby who decline the giveaways. To shout at a customer who actually purchased one of your products but declines the giveaway is ludicrous - I have never heard of that ever happening. So I would suggest the clip itself is blatantly contrived to provide a negative portrayal of non-JWs. Interestingly enough, the JW was okay about purchasing an item from the gay-friendly store. That's positive!
I have no problems with the JWs' response - she is entitled to decline the wrist band. What I found interesting was the "framing" of the scene in which she was called to task and accused of being intolerant by a shop assistant who herself was highly intolerant of the JW.
Having a look through the uses of the word in their articles I’m not convinced that it’s always framed within a worldly or negative quote but I agree it’s used a lot less than homosexual. Wonder how the Mormons compare.
My family (all JW) refer to me as gay, my uncle charmingly calls me a poof, so the WT choice doesn’t seem to filter into their language.
You know WT always avoiding straight forward language, ever vague and ambiguous.
Yes, I thought that the portrayal of the shop assistant being pushy about the bloody wristband to be a bit OTT and total scare mongering on the part of WT. It was a completely fictional scene after all scripted, directed and produced by WT to make normal "worldly" people look way worse than they actually are.
Though from the last few years of videos I get the feeling WT in true WT narcissistic style thinks the next war will be gays against JWs.
Gay is a lifestyle, homosexuality is a sexual preference. To attack "Gay" is to attack a movement. I think they want to emphasize their view of a biblical prohibition of same sex acts without the political fallout of attacking a movement. Its all about the orifice, baby!
steve2 - "...all doubt is removed when the JW - after a seemingly tortured internal thought process - declares that she is not against anyone but 'as a JW' she believes what the Bible says about marriage being reserved for a man and a woman..."
Funny how she never mentioned that the Bible also says marriage is - for all intents and purposes - a form of property ownership.