While I can respect the impulse to examine our use of language & be conscious of how the language might have unintended negative consequences, I reject the premise that the term “post-wedding blues” explicitly evokes the terms “post-partem depression” and “baby blues.” I have never once made the connection between that phrase and the two gendered phrases you mentioned. I have, however, heard “blues” used to indicate mild depression in many other (non-gendered) contexts. And I think “post-” is used so frequently in other contexts that your agrument connecting it to “post-partem depression” wears extremely thin. I can actually think of no better term to use colloquially to indicate that one is feeling a little down after creating a big event. Can you? I’d argue that most contexts in which “blues” is used to indicate one’s mood are tonally very similar to what is intended when brides speak of “post-wedding blues”: “singing the blues,” “feelin’ blue” “Monday morning blues,” “post-show blues” (after a show closes, this is used to describe the let-down) etc. None of these indicate severe depression, and in fact, if someone spoke of their severe depression as “blues” I would think that they were being insincere about their condition or trying to lighten the mood. The connotations of “blues” are light enough that I don’t think there’s a problem with this in the same way as occurs (as someone else pointed out) when someone uses the term “bipolar” to indicate that they are experiencing mood swings.
Also, wow, I can appreciate the intellectual exercise that you are engaging in, but your response to Natinat6
was WAY out of line, to the extent that it almost caused me to disregard everything else you’ve written. Not only was it extremely insensitive to the poster’s experience, but I didn’t appreciate how you proceeded to call her out for trivializing mental illness BY TRIVIALIZING A MENTAL ILLNESS YOURSELF (PTSD). You have no right, knowledge, or authority to pass judgment on another person’s trauma & what constitutes “real” PTSD based on what you deem “true trauma.” Obviously this is an open forum, so you may do what you wish, but you should be aware that in engaging in this type of discourse, you are undermining your (very interesting & potentially productive) arguments for me and potentially for others as well.
Maybe this is just a tactical issue, but I find little value in trying to police or belittle the way that people express their very real emotions, whether or not you agree with the language that they use to express them. If I may insert myself into the conversation, I think this is what LIKE-A-BOSS
was trying to get at in her response. It’s one thing to say “Hey! I think that this language we use to describe a real phenomenon has unintended negative repercussions! Do you agree? What can or should we do about this? How can we create more nuanced language to talk about these issues?” and it’s another thing to say “This language is wrong, don’t use hyperbole because it’s harmful/obnoxious/there are worse situations in the world/etc.”
I am all for creating more nuanced tools to express ourselves, but I don’t think that’s ever achieved by trying to silence each other, or by taking away what little language we have to describe our circumstances & belittling those who feel the need to express themselves with that language. It’s about enlightening people to the full range of consequences housed by their language, and inspiring people to create alternatives that are less harmful. If, of course, you believe that the current language is harmful (which as I argued in my first paragraph, I am not convinced it is).