The casual use of mysogonistic language on MN

(96 Posts)
kim147 Mon 21-Jan-13 11:21:44

Just wondering what people think of it and if MN should do anything about it?

Look at AIBU and the casual use of "bitch" and "cow" to describe other women.
Should MN do anything about it?

susan, language is not given its entire meaning by one half of the population.

I am not certain I need to 'support' this, since it has been quite some time since I came across a society of men who communicated entirely in grunts, and they were extremely pissed at the time.

Susan2kids Thu 24-Jan-13 17:01:46

FeministeFatale, I entirely agree...... smile "I can't see how using the word that bests suits in a situation is a sign of limited vocabulary either." Sometimes there isnt a better word than cunt or prick available i the space you have to say it smile

Susan2kids Thu 24-Jan-13 17:00:29

LDR "Rubbish. It's not remotely 'down to us'. Language doesn't work like that." Thats nice, again youve just stated something youve not supported it.

Language does indeed work like that.

Its entirely based around how we interpret it. We place our own meanings on words. Women are the worst critics of women...we always have been. The first people to level epithets like 'slut' and 'slag' in any sitution ive personally encountered are women. Ill make the same challenge you've ignored twice now. Why is Cunt or Twat actually more offensive than Prick or Cock?

feministefatale Wed 23-Jan-13 16:48:38

I can't see how using the word that bests suits in a situation is a sign of limited vocabulary either.

JustAHolyFool Wed 23-Jan-13 16:41:07

I think saying swearing is a sign of a limited vocabulary is a non-argument. In fact, I'd say repeating this truism is a sign of limited thinking power.

I have no problem with cunt/twat being applied to anyone, same as I use cock/dick for anyone.

I hate bitch/cow/slut/slag because they're only used against women, or to imply that men are womanly and thus shit.

Oh, good, that's what I thought (well, not 'good', but you know what I mean).

HoneyDragon Wed 23-Jan-13 16:32:00

Nope, that's I get confused

He's such a dawg -- good

She's a dog -- baaaaaaad

'Dog' is nasty too - but I'd argue it's gendered as well, isn't it? In that when someone says 'that woman, she's such a dog', we know what it means. If someone says 'he's such a dog', it doesn't mean the same. In fact I've only heard men referred to as 'dog' in a US context, where it seems to mean something a bit like 'stud', maybe? confused

(Anyone who is rolling around laughing at me because that's wrong, feel free to correct ...).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Jan-13 16:29:57

Anyone remember that 80s song 'he's gotta be/such a cunt/ he's gotta be / such a cunt/ he's gotta be big and strong, enough to turn me on'?

HoneyDragon Wed 23-Jan-13 16:28:31

I'd rather be called a bitch than a dog, oddly enough. confused

Rubbish. It's not remotely 'down to us'. Language doesn't work like that.

And I've not 'moved on' to anything. The fact that insults are disproportionately anti-woman is the subject of the thread.

I do like the root of the word 'cunt' (I'm a medievalist, I read my Chaucer, I know what it means). What makes me terribly sad is that this is a word with a really nice etymology, that women could be proud of - yet it's become one of the most offensive words you can say.

IMO that tells you all you need to know about misogyny in our language.

Susan2kids Wed 23-Jan-13 16:17:42

"I hate the phrase "Man up" which means act like a responsible adult."
Perhaps the best response to this would be to run off and spend all evening watching TV and expecting dinner to be made smile

Susan2kids Wed 23-Jan-13 16:16:08

LDR "indeed that 'cunt' is widely considered more offensive than 'prick" Ah now weve moved on to degrees of offensiveness....well thats down to us. Women. Men dont take that much insult from prick...maybe its up to us not to take such offence from cunt (although im not suggesting we all act like a friend and try and reeclaim the word...she would sing the word cunt for about five minutes at anyone who used it as an insult.....whilst it did work as a deterrent it probably isnt the best method.)

HeyHoHereWeGo Wed 23-Jan-13 15:45:49

I hate the phrase "Man up" which means act like a responsible adult.
So any one, male or female who acts in an admirable way is acting - like a man?

OneMoreChap Wed 23-Jan-13 15:41:18

It must be my labouring background, but I'd always assumed hardcore is related to the rough bits of rock I remember compacting before concreting.

Whence hardcore porn - rough/industrial.

On the other hand, it might just be my age.
I think gendered insults are wrong, and seeing women calling each other cunts is somewhat distressing. As a very young boy, I remember having a physical discussion with another boy who'd called me a bastard, as it was a reflection on my mother... But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead or something...

In general, I think Xenia's right and insults reflect most upon those that use them.

grin

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 23-Jan-13 15:22:31

Oh, man up and stop acting like a girl... hmm

Yes, I'm sure it's pure coincidence words like 'hysterical' even exist. Or indeed that 'cunt' is widely considered more offensive than 'prick'.

Of course it has to do with gender. It's nothing to do with making us 'seem' like downtrodden women: it is simply that, right there in our language, is the evidence that women have been seen as lesser than men. It goes right from that fact that 'he' is default (cf. 'mankind'), to the fact that misogynistic language is normalized.

Susan2kids Wed 23-Jan-13 15:11:06

really ladies we can claim Macho isn't an insult all we want in an attempt to make it seem like we are downtrodden women.... the word Macho is insulting in th language it is taken from, its not really arguable, its fact ... unless you want to claim men 'reclaimed' it somehow..... but thats down to us.... we could reclaim female insults. Genetalic swearwords are common in all cultures and languages and its nothing about gender traits really its about comparing you to genitals. There arent really more female than male ones......how often have you head the expression "balls'd it" up...or the word 'scrote'. I've not heard one woman here say she wouldnt be offended by being called manlike so its untrue to say that female characteristics are automatically found to be offensive....It works equally for either sex.....

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 23-Jan-13 14:27:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

feministefatale Wed 23-Jan-13 14:21:28

I have never heard someone call a male a bitch without calling out his masculinity, so used differently which I find offensive to women.

catgirl1976 England Tue 22-Jan-13 19:02:52

Bitch is gender neutral to me (except when talking about animals)

Context is key as always though

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 22-Jan-13 17:07:32

Whilst bastard and arsehole may be used more about men than women, they don't come from a male root (in the way that dickhead or bitch come from a gendered root). It's possible they get used more about men because there are fewer swear words with a male root so these even up the numbers.

I've never heard simian or alpha male used as an insult. Macho is a bit of a teasing word (oh look at him off to the gym for the tenth time this week, he's so macho) but wouldn't be a standalone insult I don't think ( you macho bastard wouldn't seem to flow like, say, you stupid bastard)

Re pimp - never use this, but sometimes say "hardcore" (that hike was really hardcore). though it's an exaggeration of hard in my mind, I should probably stop.

Xenia Tue 22-Jan-13 16:32:11

I don't swear on or off line. It's a sign of a limited vocabulary.

I have never understood why one of the most wonderful things in creation - the vagina or even the penis are used as derogatory terms. The other one people use is gay and old woman or old anything.

There are certainly more anti women uses than anti male/gay etc.

snowiceslush Tue 22-Jan-13 15:53:29

Cow
Bitch

All a bit childish. Sticks and stones. PIG Pretty Intelligent Girl, Cow - Confident Outgoing Woman, Bitch - Leader of the pack. Reminds me of schoolground nonsense.

The word I absolutely loathe and find most offensive is Cunt. It is such an ugly , nasty, vulgar word.

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