(Warning: NSFW due to language.)
Bitch. Cunt. Pussy. Sissy. Douchebag. Twat. Boob. Slut. Whore. Skank. Slag. Tramp. Prude. Frigid. Lesbo. Diva. Feminazi.
In just those few words, I could be insulted for being a jerk, weak, stupid, a person who likes to have a lot of sex, a person who doesn’t like to have sex, a lesbian, dramatic, or a passionate feminist. Five of those are insults based on feminine body parts. The others are based on just being a woman. At least five of those (pussy, sissy, douchebag, twat, boob) are also used to insult men.
Compare that to gendered insults based specifically on the masculine:
Dick. Prick. Bonehead.
The list is significantly shorter and based on just one male body part. They are used in place of jerk and stupid. There aren’t really any insults for men who like to have sex; in fact, most cultures celebrate men who have many sexual partners at the very same time they are denigrating the women with whom the men are having all this sex.
In “The Harmless Sounding Phrase That is Terrible for All Women,” Karen Rinaldi writes:
A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about another friend’s husband who had called his wife a “stupid bitch” in front of their daughters in a moment of anger. He later apologized to the family. He’d had a hard day at the office. He didn’t really mean what he’d said, and he’d humbled himself in front of his wife and kids. We knew that he was basically a good guy. Basically a good guy.
And that’s the phrase that kept swirling in my head. It occurred to me that the common refrain, “He is basically a good guy,” confirms one of our most pervasive biases. A colleague who made a sexist remark in a meeting? Well, we think, he didn’t mean it. He’s basically a good guy. The young man who insulted his date in front of his friends? He didn’t think she would take it so personally. He’s really a good guy…
When has anyone ever heard, as a pardon for a woman’s bad behavior, “She is basically a good woman?” Never. Because as frequently as we hear, “He’s basically a good guy,” we also hear, “She’s such a bitch.” Women are not so readily forgiven for their transgressions, no matter how small. The woman who refuses to accept blame at work for something she didn’t do? The woman who disagreed with her date in front of his friends? The wife who got too drunk at the neighborhood party?
A woman in a position of power in the workplace is called “Bossy;” her male counterpart is called a “Leader.”
Wives and girlfriends”Nag” their partners about things that need to be done; husbands and boyfriends “Remind” their partners of the same things.
A woman who forgets a few things is called “blonde” or “ditzy” or “airhead;” a man who forgets a few things has a “momentary memory lapse.”
Calling out a man for misogyny is usually reserved for blatant acts of physical and/or emotional abuse or assault. We’re really quick to call a man who physically abuses his wife or girlfriend a wife beater. But what about the man who jokingly calls his partner a bitch or slut? What about the men who catcall the girl walking down the street minding her own business? What about the father who calls his son a sissy because he cries when he’s upset? Or what about the baseball coach who tells the boys on his team that they throw like girls? How about the teacher that claims boys do better in math than girls?
Misogyny isn’t just about being outspoken in your hatred of women. It’s in the little things like jokingly calling a woman a bitch or slut because she did something that offended you or had any sexual partners before you. Like catcalling a girl as if she is public property because she’s walking down a public street. Like calling your son a sissy for crying or telling a boy he throws like a girl, as if women are inherently lesser than men and telling a boy he’s acting like a girl is the ultimate insult.
Misogyny is all about men who believe that women are weaker than them, not as smart as them, not allowed as many privileges as them, more emotional than them, and generally just not as good as them.
Men > women.
Language is powerful. I’m super tired of misogyny and I’m super tired of the language it creates. I’m tired of being told women are weak and that I’m weak because I’m a woman.
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