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a mythology of women


higgledypiggledy

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"Our country has created a mythology of women who are irresponsible and don't care. We talk of welfare queens, crack moms and murderous women who have abortions. A culture that allows such language to permeate our national subconscious inevitably dehumanizes all women, including mothers." Pushed by Jennifer Block

I was just thinking about this quote after reading through some of the blogs we snark on here. I wonder what the bloggers would think of this quote. I wonder if they realize they are only putting themselves in their vaunted role as mothers down. Then I tried to think of some other derogatory terms we use in reference to women and men. While I immediately came up with several slurs against women but am groping for an equivalent using male terms. I've never heard welfare king, crack daddy, etc...

Thoughts? Especially some male pejoratives.

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The women are crack whore welfare queens and the men are fat, lazy, eat McDonalds and play video games all day instead of going out and finding a job.

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Bastard? I mean, women are usually called a "bitch" but bastard seems to be a slur to call a man.

Philanderer....but that's often light hearted and not really an insult. It's more like a gentile pass on adultery or promiscuity.

Men are just not insulted in the same way. IMO they are more often insulted for what they do rather than what they are. By that I don't mean that women actually are these things. I mean that the manner in which we are insulted tends to be imbued with a sense innateness whereas men are afforded the ability to redeem themselves through action. When a woman is over emotional it is considered her nature but when a man looses his temper he simply "made a mistake". He's given a chance to present another side of himself. Women are more easily typecast.

If you think about most of insults we hurl at men compare them to women and imply that there is something negative or lesser in women. "You throw like a girl" and things like that. Also, a lot of the attitudes around homophobia, especially homophobia towards gay men, stem from the idea that homosexual men are too feminine. That they're an inversion of maleness and therefore wrong. It's sexist as well as homophobic. Our thinking in a lot of ways is very dualistic and trapped in Aristotle still, if you ask me.

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My dad once was telling me about some prison in AZ where the inmates are forced to wear pink underwear, amongst other things he approved of, like not having TV or somesuch.

Anyway, I looked at him and said, "oh, so the worst thing to be is a WOMAN?" He thought for a moment and then said, "Good point." Which made me feel better, since I don't think my dad had thought about it like that. :)

But I feel like there's a cultural assumption that women will fit into some (negative) category--like if you're poor? You'll be a welfare queen. Working? you'll be a terrible mother, etc.

Women aren't given a societal benefit of the doubt--as a whole, it's not assumed that we though about our options (in life, with children/abortion/adoption, etc.) and when forward with what was best for us. No, no, we seem to always act out of selfishness.

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Yes, "you throw like a girl", "dude, Joe screams like a little girl!", "you fight like a woman", douche, pussy, cunt, bitch, "somebody must be PMSing!" Why are all the insults female-related? The only male derogatory terms I can think of are dick and... Well, that's it.

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Timely. This was a household debate last week.

The only 'slurs' against men I can come up with that aren't calling him a 'woman' (aka, pussy) are phallic.

Dick, prick

or masturbation slurs:

wanker, tosser, jerk

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phrases like 'grow a set of balls' or 'He's got balls." are a way to say that a man should or does have courage and strength. Women don't really have the same type of phrase. "Put on your big girl panties" just sounds silly and childish to me.

I was thinking about words like slut or whore. The reason that there isn't an insulting word for a sexually active man is because casual sex is considered normal for men. A woman who enjoys casual sex is viewed as an abberation. A slut is thought of as being dirty, having low self esteem, being stupid or worthless. These words are used to dehumanize women who step out of line.

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I was very mad at a woman last night and said to DH "she has some balls thinking she can waltz back in here..." I know it doesn't really make sense,but I have used that before when describing someone who has nerve and has pissed me off. :roll:

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My dad once was telling me about some prison in AZ where the inmates are forced to wear pink underwear, amongst other things he approved of, like not having TV or somesuch.

Anyway, I looked at him and said, "oh, so the worst thing to be is a WOMAN?" He thought for a moment and then said, "Good point." Which made me feel better, since I don't think my dad had thought about it like that. :)

But I feel like there's a cultural assumption that women will fit into some (negative) category--like if you're poor? You'll be a welfare queen. Working? you'll be a terrible mother, etc.

Women aren't given a societal benefit of the doubt--as a whole, it's not assumed that we though about our options (in life, with children/abortion/adoption, etc.) and when forward with what was best for us. No, no, we seem to always act out of selfishness.

:romance-grouphug: With Jessica as well.

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This is sort of random, but I thought of it. There is an Orthodox Jewish prayer that men say thanking God for not making them a woman (slave and gentile is also included in the list). I'm not trying to be unkind towards Orthodox Jews and I'm not sure if all men in that tradition say it, but it is there.

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"This is sort of random, but I thought of it. There is an Orthodox Jewish prayer that men say thanking God for not making them a woman (slave and gentile is also included in the list). I'm not trying to be unkind towards Orthodox Jews and I'm not sure if all men in that tradition say it, but it is there."

And this is why I am an atheist. The god of the bible is such a prick.

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I was just thinking, we do have a societal habit of insulting people of both genders by comparing them to the other.

As has been said, the insults to men are that they are feminine, but we also insult women in a similar way.

Particularly with regards to lesbians.

Women are called butch, or it is said that they 'wear the pants' or 'have balls' etc.

It is interesting though, that we try to say the worst thing a man can be is a woman, and the worst for a woman is to be a man.

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Guest Anonymous
I was just thinking, we do have a societal habit of insulting people of both genders by comparing them to the other.

As has been said, the insults to men are that they are feminine, but we also insult women in a similar way.

Particularly with regards to lesbians.

Women are called butch, or it is said that they 'wear the pants' or 'have balls' etc.

It is interesting though, that we try to say the worst thing a man can be is a woman, and the worst for a woman is to be a man.

I see that differently. I think one of the worst things you can call a woman is a cunt. One of the worst things you can call a man - also a cunt. I'm extrapolating from my experience in society at large, not saying that I agree with the former. Calling someone a dick is a much milder insult for either gender. I see it done on facebook statuses in a playful manner where cunt would never appear. "Wearing the pants" and "having balls" are generally used as positives, at least where I live.

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I think cunt is also a cultural thing. Here in North America it's kind of considered the cardinal swear word, but in the UK it's not as severe. I've heard some of my English friends say it in the way that we would say "bitch". It's kind of a pop culture thing. (I'm not saying 100% of English people do this or anything like that. Just that I've noticed it).

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Guest Anonymous
I think cunt is also a cultural thing. Here in North America it's kind of considered the cardinal swear word, but in the UK it's not as severe. I've heard some of my English friends say it in the way that we would say "bitch". It's kind of a pop culture thing. (I'm not saying 100% of English people do this or anything like that. Just that I've noticed it).

I totally agree that culture/location probably makes a big difference to the insult hierarchy/lexicon. I can only speak to my experiences here in the Bible Belt of the U.S.

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I've been thinking about this too. There is a lot of crap on the radio that really demonizes and objectifies women. I have come to the conclusion that women can't win for nothing in American society. If a single mom works then she is not caring for the kids, who of course are running wild in the streets on their way to becoming juvenile delinquents, but if she has to go on welfare because her wages would be sucked up by childcare and other expenses then she is a welfare queen. The only women who are put on a pedestal are married women who stay at home to care for their families. I find it unfathomable that the Octomom is high on the list of the most hated people in America. I'm not saying that she is mother of the year but the words that are used to describe her are beyond the pale. I don't think she murdered anyone and she is no Warren Jeffs who should be on the list. Someone has mentioned this before but Octomom would be getting a lot more support if she had given birth while married. No one would be calling her a cunt.

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Derogatory male slurs... (I agree there are more about women)

dickhead

douche

dweeb

bastard

son of a bitch

putz

jerk-off

thug

meat-head

mother fucker

:confusion-scratchheadyellow:

I'll be back with more.

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