Words for women

Being “sassy” is a good thing. It means not taking shit from no-one. Yet it means not showing proper respect; and so it only applies to women, for women (irony Alert) should keep quiet and show respect when a man is talking. Especially if she knows more than he does. Confidence is a bad thing in a woman, who is feisty, or a “hoyden” (shocking).

There are all these words which only apply to women. Some judge women’s sexuality or appearance: frumpy, frigid, curvy, voluptuous. Words intended as a compliment such as “bombshell” objectify. Sometimes a woman is stupid because she is beautiful- an airhead- or sexy, “breathy”. “Exotic”- if he cannot conceive of her other than as an object. Bewitching. Women should not be too sexual: “slut”. No woman is a “femme fatale”- that blames her for the man’s response, as does “tease”.

Lots of words tear down successful or gifted women. Ambitious. Abrasive, because women should smooth the way and bring people together, not point out when men are wrong. Bitchy or catty, though gay men can also be bitchy, meaning malicious or snide (as opposed to openly confrontational, which would be abrasive). Bolshy, standing up for her rights- the only way to be acceptably feminine is to give in. Bossy rather than authoritative, or showing leadership. Pushy- stay at home mums can be pushy, as well as workers. Shrill, because women can just be too loud- men would be “direct”. Haughty- above herself. Brash. Psychologies shows how women get work performance reviews which are negative, with such words, where men’s for the same actions are positive.

Everyone is emotional, but emotions make women, not men, irrational. We are hormonal, hysterical highly strung and illogical. Our complaints are not worthy of notice, whining and whinging.

Calling a woman a woman- or female- artist, CEO, doctor, anything, diminishes her. She is a CEO, etc. Being a woman and CEO should not be particularly remarkable, and does not make her a poorer CEO.

Buzzfeed gives alternatives, though not to the most invidious. A woman or gay man who “flounces” walks out, or takes a stand.

Taken from the Telegraph, which may have stolen even more brazenly from The Odyssey. “Headstrong” was added by news.com.au.

Sacraparental has a list of 122 words, explaining them: some words punish women for behaviour acceptable in men, such as being confident in expressing ideas. Some words curb women’s sexuality. Some words praise women for feminine behaviour, unthreatening to patriarchy, or criticise “unfeminine” behaviour- a “tomboy”, but a girl should not be like a boy. Others minimise women’s achievements. When two men argue, that’s a debate, not a bitchfest or catfight. It proposes action we can take.

Bustle gives the best explanations, and includes “feminazi”. The origin was Rush Limbaugh saying feminists encouraged abortion, which he compared to the holocaust, insulting Jews as well as women; now it means a feminist a man disagrees with.

You know you have to vote, don’t you.


5 thoughts on “Words for women

  1. I wish I were American. I’d vote. For Hilary. Failing that, you’ve confirmed my sense of worth as a woman. I’ll admit to being physically weaker than a man, but from the neck up I’m competition. Sadly, it’s often other women who pigeon their own when she dares to be different. 😦


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