Social Question

josie's avatar

Why do people use the word force, when what they are talking about is not force?

Asked by josie (27657points) February 4th, 2015

This question got me to thinking.

And I am absolutely NOT challenging the person who asked the question. I am sure what they are saying is true.

It just got me to thinking.

It seems like these days, people use the word force, when in fact they are not talking about force.

Force is when somebody tells you to do something, or they will kill you or take from you the values that give meaning to your life.

Otherwise, it is simply a making a tough decision.

Something we all must occasionally do.

I think, more than occasionally, when people say the were forced, but they were not actually forced, it is a strategy for blaming somebody else for having to make a tough decision-Something we all must occasionally do.

What do you think?

(Did I already ask this question, a while ago? It sound familiar.)

If so, please feel free to answer again.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

ucme's avatar

You can, of course, be forced into something through threat of sanction, no shooty bang bang there.

josie's avatar

Threat of sanction?
What does that entail?
Did you just make up a soft new age definition of force?
Which is sort of what my question is about.

ucme's avatar

New age? That made me laugh so much, I got hiccups.
Little soldier boy got all upset did he?

chyna's avatar

The poster to the question you referred to was in a foreign country with no where to go. She was also in a depression over the death of her mother. No, she didn’t have a gun to her head, but she felt helpless to do other than what was demanded of her.

josie's avatar

Is that the wrong word? My dad used to use it to describe post modern weirdness.
I am sure there is a better term.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Force as in a fantasy role playing game or force as in taking sexual things from the other partner against their will?

josie's avatar

Also, that would be big soldier boy.

CWOTUS's avatar

Actually, @josie, the way you have defined “force” in your question seems a better definition of “coercion”.

Force, to me, means the application of mass, energy and momentum to pressurize, heat, move or otherwise kinetically energize another entity, for one, or in human terms “to push” or move a person in a direction that the person may attempt to resist (or for some without independent volition, “to move in this direction, not that”). Coercion can be a kind of force (again, in human terms), but an offensive lineman, for example, does not “coerce” a defensive lineman to give up his attack on the quarterback by threatening his life or his family; he just pushes (and grabs, trips, kicks, chokes, etc.) to apply his force.

josie's avatar


Force is a species of the genus coercion. It is coercion “in extremis”

Darth_Algar's avatar

It’s not rape unless there are firearms involved.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Firearms are necessary for rape? ~

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yup. Unless there is a direct threat of a bullet being placed in your medulla oblongata then it’s just a tough decision.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

People like to say they were forced to do something when just words were used to excuse themselves for making the poor or unfavorable decision. It is like your boss telling you that you have to work Black Friday or you will lose your job. The person who did not want to work Black Friday because they wanted to meet their grams at the airport because at her age, she may not make it out again, will go to work and tell granny they would have been there but they were forced to work. If granny was really that important, they would have risked the job, a tough decision. But it is easier to blame the boss for them wanting the job abd the money more than meeting grams at the airport.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Totally. Because remaining employed really isn’t all that important. It’s not like jobs can be hard to get in this economy or anything.

Response moderated
Response moderated
fluthernutter's avatar

@Darth_Algar Oh wait. I just gave you some lurve because I thought you were being sarcastic.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Darth_Algar Well I saw your other message. and that’s great by me.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

When my first girlfriend told me to fuck her like I was raping her I understood force.

When she later told me she would never allow anal because an uncle who had done something wrong too her, I was further schooled about force.

As an Irishman who remembers the stories about what his parent’s went through before Irish people magically became white- I understand what people mean by coercion.

It means when I ask a marginalized person, black or Hispanic or female, I ask myself if I am being a dick. Am I asking because I am too good. And if the answer is no, I task them to it. In fact, when I am hot for a lady, I will give her a good review and recommend her for projects I don’t run.

I try and lead- which means taking responsibility for making everyone look good. If your definition of leadership is making hard decisions perhaps you should ask what leadership is.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar You do understand that the average man can kill or subdue the average woman in most cases without any weapon except his own body strength and height advantage. Add in testosterone and some other chemicals floating around in their body.

In a relationship women have sex when they don’t want to if they are in a weak position for one reason or another. It can be financially, emotionally, there are various reasons, and when a man uses that against her like a weapon to abuse her or get his sexual release when she is not a willing partner, he is raping her. It’s not the same as when a woman has sex when they just don’t feel like it much that day, but overall she is attracted to and loves her SO. Some women are imprisoned in their relationship and sex with them is like being raped by their captor. That poor woman, the OP on the other Q, has been physically damaged. Unfortunately, I know a lot of women who let even their SO’s who they do want to have sex with damage them, because the guy just thinks she should be able to have anal sex and wants it. Porn is chock full of anal sex, men think every girl will love it and should be able to do it, and I have seen even the porn girls interviewed about how they get hurt sometimes. A large penis can really fuck a girl up back there pun intended.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yes, @JLeslie, I understand that just fine. I also understand sarcasm. Reading the OP’s post, as well as the post he linked to, should provide context.

JLeslie's avatar

Sarcasm? Where?

trailsillustrated's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought if I could fill the page with ga’s , I would .

longgone's avatar

“Force is when somebody tells you to do something, or they will kill you or take from you the values that give meaning to your life.”

To me, “force” in its truest form involves a physical action. The threat of death is, by that definition, not force. When somebody threatens me with death, I am “free” to choose death, aren’t I? Tough decision, but still, a decision.

As to how the term is used, this is an entirely different question. I definitely would say I was forced if someone pressured me into sex or something similar. “Force”, here, is used in the sense of “doing something unwillingly”. Yes, I’m still active, but I only “want” to be because I feel threatened.

canidmajor's avatar

@josie: Your definition seems to be limited to a physics only interpretation. Language is fluid and full of nuance. Numbers 3 and 4 here would serve to expand the meaning.


1. physical power or strength possessed by a living being:

2. strength or power exerted upon an object; physical coercion; violence:

3. strength; energy; power; intensity

4. power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power:

5. Law. unlawful violence threatened or committed against persons or property.

6. persuasive power; power to convince

When speaking of “force” as it pertains to human interaction inclusion of such variations is appropriate.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I’m the OP in the post @josie refers to.

My ex did force me to have sex with him via blackmail, intimidation, and ultimatums. When that failed, he would wait until my defenses were down—when I was sick, exhausted, or otherwise incapacitated to force himself on me. One time I was having consensual sex with him and he pulled out and anally raped me despite me begging him to stop.

But I guess that doesn’t count as rape because there wasn’t a gun involved, amirite?

Go kick rocks.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I guess so. No gun, no rape. ~

trailsillustrated's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace that happened to me too, I sued for a quarter mil and won. I’m loving life.

hearkat's avatar

In this context, I’m understanding force as a verb, as in in being forced to do something against one’s will:

force verb (used with object), forced, forcing.
1. to compel, constrain, or oblige (oneself or someone) to do something:
“to force a suspect to confess.”

2. to drive or propel against resistance:
“He forced his way through the crowd. They forced air into his lungs.”

3. to bring about or effect by force.

4. to bring about of necessity or as a necessary result:
“to force a smile.”

5. to put or impose (something or someone) forcibly on or upon a person:
“to force one’s opinions on others.”

6. to compel by force; overcome the resistance of:
“to force acceptance of something.”

7. to obtain or draw forth by or as if by force; extort:
“to force a confession.”

Haleth's avatar


“Force is when somebody tells you to do something, or they will kill you or take from you the values that give meaning to your life.”

Where did you get this idea? @hearkat‘s definitions are much more accurate.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Can we delete this dumber-than-dogsh*t question? @josie posted it to trivialize my rape:

Honestly, it’s really triggering* and I just had to dump my morning coffee from queasiness.

*Yes, I know that word gets thrown around in SJW circles but in this case, it’s true.

canidmajor's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace: If you Stop Following (upper right corner inside the question box) you won’t see any more updates, whether spam or posts.

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