Words Not to Use Regarding Women

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Slava
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Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby Slava » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:26 pm

This topic has been raised in the past here on the Agora, but here's an actual article about how not to talk about women:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle ... women-down

It presents a mere eight words, so I'm quite sure many of you out there, male and female, can come up with more. Try to provide examples of why your word should be banned, too.

An example of words with mutual sexist effect might be bastard and bitch. They apply to only one gender in general.
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Perry Lassiter
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Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:20 am

An odd column to me. I don't find most of those words gender specific. I've heard most of them applied to men and boys. The word I most hear some women complaining about is calling grown women "girls," though women are at least as guilty of men. I remember my mother referring to her social circle as the girls all her life, including during old age.

Surely we are looking at an attitude of parochialism or demeanment implied in their word usage. To me, "lady" or "ladies" has a sense of refinement about it, while "women" in my head mostly means an adult. With groups I know well, I am more likely to use guys, gals, kids (even for adults), and brats for children and youth. They get it.

I agree mostly with the gender references for your B words, Slava, but I think they are becoming transgender. I especially hear and read "bitch" applied to males.
pl

bnjtokyo

Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby bnjtokyo » Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:40 am

First of all, Lakoff, Robin "Language and Woman's Place" (1975) and "The Language War" (2000)

Second, the Oxford dictionary gives several example sentences of "feisty"
1. ". . . a feisty heroine"
2. "characters . . . are all quite strong and feisty, but . . . flawed and frail"
3. "Scotland were well beaten by a determined and feisty Irish side"
The first is clearly female, the second, being plural, probably refers to both males and females while the third probably refers to males.

These examples are partially rebuttal of Ms Lewis' allegation in the Guardian article at the link.

bnjtokyo

Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby bnjtokyo » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:48 am

To add to the above

A quote from the article in The Guardian to which Slava provided a link:
"it categorises it with “spunky”, which is surely a word that nobody should use, ever"
A quote from the New York Times Public editior, Margaret Sullivan "I loved Jim Bellows’s memoir, “The Last Editor,” because it’s so spunky and full of newspaper lore."
Looks like The Grauniad and the Grey Lady disagree here.

Perry Lassiter
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Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:48 pm

In the second quote above, I find a problem unrelated to women. How can characters bet both strong and frail?
pl

Philip Hudson
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Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:04 am

Re: spunky.

As a child at school, I learned a song with the words, "It takes a lot of spunk to be a little skunk, cause no one loves you when you smell." No wonder I grew up to be weird.

As for women: a woman can be a chick but not a hen; foxy but not a vixen; a filly but not a mare. As for bovine comparisons; don't go there. Amos, who wrote the book of the Bible named after him in King James English, called the women of Samaria "ye kine of Bashan." My wife does not let her grandchildren call her Granny while both my grandmothers were called Granny.
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Perry Lassiter
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Re: Words Not to Use Regarding Women

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:49 pm

One can also translate the Amos phrase as "a bunch of drunken heifers." Probably went over like that too at the local country club,
pl


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