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What Mike Allen doesn’t understand about language.

In Sunday’s Axios Presented by Bank of America newsletter, Mike Allen just asks this question about Saturday’s historic Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Just asking: Did anyone notice the irony of the crude, discriminating language and signs used by some to lambaste a president they condemn as crude and discriminating?

Let us set aside the notion, entertained by Allen, that he might be the only human being on Earth to have identified a particular irony. We can only wonder what discriminatory language Allen is referring to. Was it anti-male? Anti-white? Anti-Allen’s newsletter sponsor?

I attended the march, and what I saw were a lot clever, angry, funny, and adorable signs. Some were crude by conventional definition—“pussy” and “bitch” and “tits” being the most popular words that likely made Allen squirm. But it’s worth remembering why those words have become so common with the Trump resistance:

I did try and fuck her. She was married. ... And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look....

I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.

At the risk of explaining the obvious, the context of words matters as much as the words themselves. When Trump used this crude language, he did so to disrespect women. When women use the same language in protesting Trump, they are appropriating it—simultaneously depriving the words of their discriminatory offense and weaponizing them against the discriminator. This has been a familiar tactic of marginalized groups for centuries, if not since the beginning of language itself. I won’t quote other examples here because, as a straight white man, I am not entitled to use such words. Doing so would be discriminatory.

Does Mike Allen understand that? Just asking.