What’s with the “”?

30 Mar

A microaggression is a subtle (to the person or group who just did it) but stunning (to the person or group who just experienced it) slight or dismissal of an identity as being unimportant, invalid or unworthy.

An example: I just took an online survey (because I’m procrastinating), and at the end, the company was gathering demographic information, including the relationship status of the survey takers. My options included:

Married or in a relationship with a “significant other”

The air quotes were theirs.

It’s a small detail, but one that potentially screams: “Because that’s what you call each other, but we all know your partner is only really significant when you put a ring on it!”

I’m just saying. And as a married person who:

  1. Has experienced the weird and powerful legitimization that “married” status suddenly confers on couples, not just socially but legally,
  2. Knows people who previously hadn’t been able to or still can’t get married because marriage is a heterosexist institution, and
  3. Doesn’t think people should get married (because a committed relationship is a committed relationship)–although it’s fine if they choose to

I think this company is doing itself a disservice by casually letting its unmarried but committed customers know (in a throwaway question at the end of this survey) that they are persona sorta-grata… after the marrieds.

To which I say (and wrote in my e-mail to the company): just remove the quotes already! Because they don’t serve your customers, and they don’t serve you. That’s the thing about microaggressions: they’re not useful for much, if you want to build community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: