By which I mean, Ronald A. Lindsay advocates losing the use of the word “balls” to mean “courage” in everyday conversation. And I couldn’t agree more.
Many people, including many skeptics, atheists, and humanists, use the term “balls” or its myriad equivalents as a metaphor for courage, determination, resolve or similar attributes. I suggest we should stop using such terms, for a pretty obvious reason: one doesn’t need testicles to be courageous, determined, or resolute.
Before I go any further, let me hasten to make clear that I’m not asking people to stop using “balls” as a substitute for “courage” because of some prissiness about language. Profanity and slang don’t bother me. I worked as a lawyer for over twenty years. In conversations with my colleagues, every other word was “fuck” or one of its derivatives—and that’s just when we were talking about the weather.
It pains me that Lindsay had to include that paragraph at all, to preempt those folks that you just KNOW are going to derail this topic to suggest that Lindsay is just incapable of having adult conversation with adult language. That’s not what it’s about at all. That’s not what ANY of these conversations that we’ve had, about tone and civility and using slurs or gendered or ableist or racist or or heteronormative or classist language. This ongoing conversation — from which some subversive entities have been removed from the conversation to their chagrin — is entirely about shedding those words that only serve to reinforce the destructive memes that have already done so much damage to so many valuable members of society. It’s about writing an epic and historic wrong. And all that by not reinforcing toxic masculinity. Seems like a simple act for such a revolutionary one.
Don’t forget that the gender roles that conflate “balls” with “courage” KILL MEN. Dropping “balls” from the euphemistic lexicon hurts nothing but the framework on which gender roles are built. It is a but single brick in the edifice of strict gender role adherence, but every brick’s worth tossing out when its time comes.