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Sorry to be a buzzkill, but let's kill these buzzwords

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 slut or 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.

That bowl of spiralised zucchini pasta with cherry tomatoes you posted on Instagram isn't "cleaner" than the bowl of ...
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. Photo: Edwina Pickles

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". "Next guest please" they call out as you move forward in the queue. I'm not a guest in your coffee shop, we're not friends and I didn't bring a bottle of wine. I'm just here for two minutes, hoping to get a quick hot drink (without being sweat-shamed).

#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". (And if a meal really tastes any good, you wouldn't be able to stuff around taking so many pictures of it.)

Illustration: Michael Mucci
Illustration: Michael Mucci 

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 (see also: bae, on fleek, shade and slay). 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 one isn't 2015 specific, but rather an eternally overused word, especially by women, like me, who drop it unnecessarily in emails and work conversations to appear non-confrontational, even when what we're saying is entirely reasonable. The subtext often is: "I'm sorry for having a professional opinion".

Sorry to anyone who feels word-shamed by this list, and happy new year.

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