Thursday, February 02, 2006

A slut by any other name

... is still a woman.

N and I were having a deep meaningful conversation about the difference between a hussy and a ho. N believes that a hussy is a woman who moves in on your territory even though she knows she shouldn't. It's subtle, like she starts to ask his male friends about you, or she asks him to do something with her even though she also knows you and should be inviting you both. When your man is being pursued by a hussy you wonder for awhile whether you are over reacting but then you know it. With a ho, everyone else knows it too. Inspired by that ever so academic conversation I took it upon myself to find the actual definitions of those words at Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. I went further and looked up the many ways both women and women are described. Let's just say this exercise will get the feminist within you a little riled up.

Here at Sassy Pants Inc we're all about the boys. Ok, since I am CEO, President, and the entire staff of Sassy Pants Inc, I am all about the boys. They are not like girls. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes that is a bad thing. The problem I discovered by looking up descriptive gender based words is that our language (pardon me while I get all "oh no he di'n't!"), our language keeps a sista' down!

Let's start with the innocent: Girl versus Boy

GIRL: Synonyms: babe, baby doll, bird, blonde, bobby-soxer, boytoy, broad, butterfly, canary, chick, coed, cupcake, cutie, dame, damsel, daughter, deb, debutante, doll, female, filly, gal, jail bait, lady, lassie, mademoiselle, maid, maiden, minx, miss, missy, mouse, nymph, nymphet, piece, queen, schoolgirl, she, sis, skirt, spring chicken, teenybopper, tomato, tomboy, virgin, wench, witch, woman

BOY: Synonyms: buck, cadet, chap, child, chip, dude, fellow, gamin, guy, half-pint, junior, lad, little guy, master, punk, puppy, runt, schoolboy, shaveling, shaver, small fry, sonny, sprout, squirt, stripling, tadpole, whippersnapper, youngster, youth

Why oh why do boys sound like Oppie while girls sound like Lolita? The harshest term for a boy is punk. FYI, stripling means an adolescent youth. For girls you got yourself jail bait (like it's her fault guys can't keep their eyes in their head and their penis in their pants until she's old enough), minx, piece (WTF?), tomato (my personal favorite), wench, witch, and woman. Boys don't even get to be men.

Ok, you feeling the annoyance yet? Righteous indignation here we come!

Let's look at generic terms: Female versus Male

FEMALE:changeable, child-bearing, delicate, effeminate, effete, fair, feminine, fertile, gentle, girlish, girly, graceful, ladylike, maidenly, matronly, modest, muliebral, oviparous, petticoat, pistil-bearing, pistillate, pure, refined, reproductive, sensitive, she-stuff, shy, soft, tender, twisty, virgin, vixenish, weak, womanish, womanlike, amazon, babe, beauty, broad, cheesecake, chichi, cupcake, cutie, dame, doll, dowager, duchess, femme, filly, fox, frail, gal, gentlewoman, girl, hussy, kid, lady, madam, mama, matron, old bat, old lady, old woman, petticoat, piece, pinup, seductress, she, she-stuff, shrew, siren, sis, skirt, temptress, ten, tomato, weaker sex, wench, wren

MALE: macho, manful, manlike, manly, potent, virile, ape, beefcake, boy, bruiser, buck, bull, chap, dude, father, fellow, gent, gentleman, guy, he, he-man, hunk, jock, john, macho man, papa, stud, tiger, tom, wolf

First, there are 79 entries for female compared with 30 for male. Great. For once we get more of something. However, to be male is to be virile, a stud, a buck, a beefcake. To be female? I'm not opposed to amazon, or even vixenish, but frail, hussy, weaker sex? And what's with all the old? Old bat, old lady, old woman? A woman is either a siren, a shrew or a dried up person who can be ignored. Probably all in the same life time. Men, well men are manly. With the exception of ape, nothing negative is used to describe maleness.

If you're cookies aren't frosted yet, here's an interesting and unexpected result:

MASCULINE: Synonyms: adult, ape, beefcake, bold, brave, caveman, courageous, gallant, generative, hairy, hardy, honorable, hunk, jock, macho, Male, manful, manly, mannish, muscular, potent, powerful, red-blooded, resolute, robust, stallion, stout-hearted, strapping, strong, stud, tuna, two-fisted, vigorous, virile, well-built

FEMININE: Synonyms: No entry. It led me to female (which has 3 antonyms -male, manlike, manly) or feminine napkin.

Ignoring the lack of synonyms for feminine for a moment, since when is to be masculine the same as being adult? Seriously. And, um, tuna? That's a little odd. But to have no words describing the feminine at all? (I'm happy to have tuna be under masculine in this case).

Last but not least, the definitions for the various terms for women and men who sleep around are quite telling. The female-centric words involve the word dirty and have very negative connotations. With men, there is actually a sense of success, action and ambition.

For example:
hussy A woman considered brazen or immoral. A saucy or impudent girl. Synonyms: shrew, tramp, wanton,
ho Slang. A prostitute.
slut A woman considered sexually promiscuous. A woman prostitute. A slovenly woman; a slattern.
slattern An untidy, dirty woman.A prostitute who attracts customers by walking the streets
Jade A broken-down or useless horse; a nag. A woman regarded as disreputable or shrewish.

Other words you can look up on your own: trollop, strumpet, fornicatress (I kind of like this one. It sounds like something I could aspire to be.), loose woman, jade, adultress, bimbo, jezebel, wench, whore, tart, tramp, easy lay, floozy, harlot

If you are a man, your indiscretions are more about your prowess and should be congratulated. Notice slut specifically uses the word woman in its definition.

gigolo A man who has a continuing sexual relationship with and receives financial support from a woman.
lothario A successful womanizer [When you look up its synonyms you get sweetheart! and notice the word successful. What's an unsuccessful womanizer? An asshole at the bar?]
rake seducer
philanderer playboy

Synonyms: Casanova, Don Juan, Lothario, adulterer, chaser, cruiser, dallier, debaucher, dude, flirt, gallant, ladies' man, lady-killer, letch, lover boy, nighthawk, operator, playboy, player, skirt chaser, stud, swinger, tomcat, whorehound, wolf, womanizer

I don't quite know what to say right now. It's annoying. And until you have it spelled out all in one place you don't really realize how negative it all is. As someone sowing her wild oats (but not planting any seeds as my father so helpfully and embarassingly advised when I mentioned that phrase to him a couple of weeks ago) it makes me wonder how I and other women I know will be, or are, perceived. Because I was married so young, and I was uncomfortable with my role as a sexual being until recently, my "number" is very small. It was 1 when I asked for a divorce. That's right, I said 1. Since then there have been some well deserved learning experiences that I have no regrets about whatsoever (don't try to find them in the blog archives, only one is even alluded to). I just feel bad for girls growing up now in a world where sex isn't a taboo topic and yet if they engage in it there is still the stigma of dirtiness.

Damn misogynists. Fuck 'em. Thank goddess for Sex and the City.

2 comments:

MissErfolg said...

I´ve learnt many slang´s words in English thanks to your text :-D. Umm, in Spanish happens the same I think that every languages are really male-chauvinist, what I find terribly sad. Anyway, "ape" is masculine word :P, ciao!

Sassy Pants said...

Hola Monologo de una besuga! Y bienvenido a mi blog. Cual es una "besuga"? Puedes explicarme?

I am happy I could help you learn some english slang. : )