I’m working on a list of gender specific terms, phrases, and sexist words that we should drop from our vocabulary in 2010. Notice, sometimes it’s a particular use of the word, more then the word itself that needs to go. Please share your opinions on the particular words suggested, and help to create a list of gender neutral alternatives for people to replace them with. I understand that habits are hard to break, and that it takes more effort to come up with gender neutral langauge, but the benefit to women will be well worth our efforts. Even if you’re tempted to use one of these terms, recognize that it does much more harm than good to continue the use of words that have been created and used solely to hurt, insult, and oppress the female gender.
I am not saying that I am a promoter of using gender specific language to insult men, but I have noticed that words like asshole and dick, are generally used as individual specific insults, not to attack the male gender based on oppressive gender stereotypes.
1. Slut, slutty–instead use promiscuous, make sure that you are not calling women names for behavior you wouldn’t judge men harshly for.
2. whore–instead use prostitute when appropriate or promiscuous, Again, make sure that you are not calling women names for behavior you wouldn’t judge men harshly for.
3. Ditz,ditzy, airheads, etc.–The problem with these terms is that I’ve only heard them used to describe women. There are plenty of men with disorganized minds, who are unfocused, or who aren’t all there mentally, but they aren’t labeled as harshly, and aren’t referred to by using gender specific language. The most common “insult” I’ve heard used for men with similiar traits is “he has ADD,” which isn’t considered all that insulting.
4. Emasculate and effeminate–These words are typically used by men who feel a need to be in control over women. Read this post to see why: http://feministlookingglass.com/2009/11/06/let’s-get-rid-of-“emasculate”-and-“effeminate”/ This is a great blog written by a man. You may also be interested in my latest post about studies showing the the healthier women prefer men with feminine characteristics.Study Shows Women From Healthier Populations Prefer Men With Feminine Characteristics
5. Sissy, girly, grow some balls, you throw like a girl, pussy, quit crying like a girl, etc. Don’t insult men by accusing them of having feminine characteristics that imply women are weak. How about using weak or wimp, leave the female gender out of it.
6.“I was raped” Don’t say “I was raped” to mean things like you lost at a game. Unless someone succeeded in forcing themselves upon you sexually, it’s incredibly insensitive to rape victims, and people who care about rape victims, to use this phrase.
7. Bitch, bitchy, PMSing. One of the biggest problems with the words bitch or bitchy are the use of these words to describe strong, powerful women in leadership roles, where women are behaving in ways that would not be judged harshly if done by a man. Unless a man would be called an asshole for the same behavior, calling a woman a bitch is sexist and harmful to women. Any suggestions for a gender neutral equivalent to bitch? Men overall are no less moody then women, so say “moody” not PMSing.
There are many more words to add to this list. Please share your suggestions.