I was curious, and tested my hypothesis: words that end in “-ssy” have negative connotations.
Data: (* indicates connotation depends on context) Two positive words: classy, sassy* Seven neutral words: gassy*, glassy*, glossy, grassy, gussy, kissy, mossy Ten negative words: bossy, brassy*, fussy, hissy, messy, missy, prissy, pussy, sissy, wussy Eight scrabble words: bassy, lossy, drossy, cissy, flossy, massy, mussy, tressy One word that does not belong: embassy
Conclusion: the majority of -ssy words are negative. Aside from “classy”, -ssy words are positive only when they have been appropriated and claimed as a badge of honor (sassy, brassy).
Hilfiger ad in the WSJ
AS: Wow, isn’t it cool that Tommy Hilfiger thinks that pink hair like this is socially acceptable now? Me: You know what this is a picture of don’t you? AS: No, what do you see? Me: This is a Wall Street Journal ad targeted at the two guys. The dream is that the preppy guys are headed to the Hamptons with two “wild” ladies who they’re going to bang all weekend. AS: Oh. That’s terrible.
I don’t get it. When parents consider getting an amber necklace because it might help with their kid’s teething, the question is: “why not?”
With “bossy”, the question is: “RAWRRRR! THIS IS NOT THE PERFECT SOLUTION TO AN UNFAIR WORLD!”
WTF people? The world is dark - light a candle, and stop calling girls (and women!) “bossy”.
There has been a lot of backlash against Sheryl Sandberg’s Ban Bossy campaign this week and it really bugs me. A lot of the criticism talks about all the things she should have done instead that would have been more impactful—a level of criticism that I don’t remember hearing about any other cohesively executed non-profit campaign of late.
I love that she knows that she’s going to to face this type of backlash and does it anyway because she feels that it’s important. There’s no such thing as the perfect campaign that will suddenly fix everything, so let’s not be so critical when people try things. “Done is better than perfect.”
I like the campaign. It’s not aimed towards me, it’s aimed towards 8 year old girls in the midwest and their parents, to get them to think about the words they use and what they represent. It’s a simple and snappy message that makes you think and starts a dialogue.
Use of words like “fag” and “retard” have become more socially unacceptable in my lifetime because we all finally realized that they are rooted in discrimination and exist to push people down. Words are powerful.