How to Pick a Lover

Posts tagged ‘Pejorative’

Witches, Bitches, and Broads

If there is no word for shrew or slut in male form, is it because there were no bad-tempered, no slovenly men? Or is it because only the male tongue might safely point out defects?
—Elizabeth Robins, Ancilla’s Share

When a man who hates women begins to talk, it soon becomes apparent that all the women he has ever encountered were villainous. Starting with his mother, they are portrayed as promiscuous, untrustworthy, or just downright evil.

The man who hates women has a well-developed lexicon to express his distain. If well educated, he will have discovered words such as “gorgon” (a repulsive woman), “virago” (a sharp-tongued woman), “termagant” (a violent woman), or “harridan” (a hateful woman). He will pepper his conversation with references to “crones” (old women), “shrews” (scolding women), “battleaxes” (aggressive women), “slatterns” (slovenly women), and “gold diggers” (greedy women). There will be a lot of references to women who are too sexual: “sluts,” “harlots,” “tramps,” “hookers,” and “tarts.” Women who are sexual and who use that sexuality for wickedness or treachery, which is what a misogynist expects, may be called, in biblical terms, Jezebel or Delilah.

Paradoxically, the man who hates women is equally scornful of women who are not sexual or are not sexual enough. He considers them frigid and includes in that category icebergs, ballbusters, castrators, teases, cock-teasers, dykes, lesbians, and nutcrackers. He describes things that are negative as being like the female genitals, usually in four-letter terms. Often in the conversation of a misogynist, there will be lots of references to women in animal terms: chicks, hens, cows, sows, porkers, pigs, broodmares, birds, biddies, foxes, bunnies, and of course, the ubiquitous bitches. The endearment “bed rabbit” is an especially nice touch.

Misogyny / Hate Speech

Misogyny / Hate Speech (Photo credit: dannyman)

All people, men and women, use some pejorative terms for women when they are saying something negative about a particular woman or a particular situation. The profile, which reveals a misogynist, is that he uses many of these terms. He uses them often, and in his conversation, the situations involving women are so consistently negative that only pejorative terms convey the appropriate connotation.

I know a man who called his former wife the Ex-Witch to distinguish her from his former mother-in-law, who was the Head Witch. Does that tell you something? Was his daughter then known as the Little Witch? And would you be surprised if you were fool enough to be involved with him that, in a short while, you would become known as the New Witch?

If women in general are witches, you can be sure that you, too, will be included and you, too, will be burned.

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