Monday, June 1, 2009

Fine Feathered Foul?

Hello, du...hmm. I nearly used the common English word for a member of the family anatidae. Which, it seems, would be wrong, at least according to Anonymous:

Here's the deal: gay men call people ducks; women do not. Consider it part of the process to remove that word from your vocabulary. Please.
Now, I got defensive when I first read this, but then I thought: hey, maybe Anonymous has a point; I mean, I've gotten all sorts of good advice from anonymous folks before, from "Duck!" (oops) to "suck my..."--well maybe that last wasn't such good advice. But you get the picture.

As I said in my response, I do all kinds of things on this blog I don't do in regular life, from talking about my vagina to using complex analogies about the kyriarchy. (I do, however, bore folks with feminist analyses of French peri-impressionism.) I'll confess to adopting Winged Water Fowl as a greeting as part of the quasi-folksy style I affect in the lighter posts hereabouts. At the very least, I figured I might be remembered as that "crazy lady who calls everyone Mallards."

But I'd hate to slow my process; I'm not sure what that means, but it sure sounds bad! Seeing as it's a slow day here at TSA (I spent most of it writing a proposal for a--I hope--largish client), I thought I would put it out there for you,, wigeons: should I stop using That Word and call everybody something serious, like Fellow Denizens of the Feminist and Transfeminist blogospheres? I leave it to you!

Unless you consider it a wild goose chase.


  1. My nickname has been a variant of Duck ever since middle school. On the internet, I tend to use a different kind of bird for usernames, but I still feel more included by Duck than any of the other names used in this post.


  2. I always thought it more a British-ism than a gay-ism. I did some digging; according to Merriam-Webster, the 3rd definition of duck is the British slang for "darling". Etymology online ( has it as a "term of endearment" from at least 1590.

    So, except for some weirdness that has American men thinking British men are effeminate pansies, I think you're good. Besides, isn't the whole point to be YOU?

  3. I think it's cute. I had a beloved grandmother who went by "Ducky."

    And I don't really associate it with either gender, that seems very arbitrary.

  4. Yeah, that commenter seems kind of weirdly gender-policey and maybe transphobic to me. (DON'T CALL PEOPLE DUCKS. IT IS NOT WHAT LADIES DO. THEREFORE YOU CANNOT BE A LADY AND CALL PEOPLE DUCKS. Wrong.) I think "ducks" is kind of adorable, because it makes me think of a nice old lady who serves people tea. Or a British governess of Ye Olden Tymes. DUCKS: A Good Thing To Call People, Science Finds!

  5. That's weirdly essentialist. Because women all talk exactly alike! As do gay men! Yeah...I say keep using it, I think it's endearing.

  6. If you wanna use the word, then by all means use it! This is your space, and if you like the term "ducks" to refer to your readers, then why shouldn't you use it?

  7. Ducking in (pun slightly intended) late to say... you know, the wonderful thing about being a woman is that each of us defines femininity for herself. Whatever you do, is what a woman does. So if you like saying "ducks", keep saying "ducks"; I think it's fun and charming, sassy and knowing and awesome. And it's what a woman does, because it's you. Period.

  8. Also late (I just found you via Tiger Beatdown.... yay!) and reading through your whole archives (ps: loving it). I believe multiple *female* charcters in Doonesbury use/used "ducks" to refer to people, I think both the (now dead) Lacey politician who Joannie (name?)the lawyer worked for and/or the homeless woman (whose name I now can't recall, but I believe she's still around and kicking) who befriended Lacey before her death.
    Which is to say, that for this gay trans guy, that I've never heard it used by gay men, and only in the context of women....