When we make new year's resolutions, we tend to focus on the things that go into our mouths. But what about all the garbage that comes out of them? I would love it if we could all agree in 2016 to purge a few buzzwords from our collective vocabularies.
Shaming: Using the suffix -shaming after words like fat started as a reasonably useful way to talk about the public moralising that many people are subjected to. But 2015 was the year it got out of control. An article in The Guardian from a writer complained about being "sweat-shamed" by a fellow customer in Starbucks, after she went in wearing her sweaty gym clothes to get a coffee and received a dirty look. You're not being persecuted, you're just a bit whiffy.
Guest: Companies and politicians are forever renaming the people they serve in cynical new ways. The NSW government calls commuters "customers" these days, politicians increasingly call citizens "taxpayers". My least favourite though is the American corporate trend for calling customers "guests".
#Cleaneating: That bowl of spiralised zucchini pasta with cherry tomatoes you posted on Instagram isn't "cleaner" than the bowl of spaghetti bolognaise covered in parmesan I had for dinner. Maybe yours is lower in calories, but it isn't "clean".
Squad: One of many words adopted from black American culture by white celebrities and their social media managers, who wring the life out of it on Instagram, making it irritating and meaningless. Squad used to mean your closest friends who had your back, now it means any group of three or more white ladies in a photo together.
Sorry: This is an eternally overused word, especially by women who drop it unnecessarily in emails and work conversations to appear non-confrontational, even when what we're saying is entirely reasonable.
– Josephine Tovey