27.11.07

Just to get the Punkster worked up

...a teensy bit more. Not that she needs it. But a good ranter deserves all the support they can get.

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To realise how pervasive male-dominance in our society is, you don't really need to look at goddesses, or marriage roles, or female infanticide, or glass ceilings, or chivalry.

Just pick up Ye Olde Word-Explainer instead.
Aka, the OED.

And try finding an antonym for harem.
Or the verb form of heroine.
Or notice how all professions have a distinct word for female practitioners, but the men are associated with the generic term itself*.
Or even how all distinctly female professions have a totally different word for men who do the same. So a woman may be a seamstress, but a man is a tailor**.

Go further, and listen to the talk.
And realise that a man may sometimes be a whore, but only a woman is a harlot.
And how you're a bitch if you're nasty, but a dawg if you're cool.
And how Jesus is sweet, but Mary is always the mother of Christ.

Pervasive, yes?
There is more, one is sure, but who ever said this was Research Central.
Add your examples though, and they shall be listed.


* Male poets/actors/writers are poets/actors/writers, but women are poetess/actors/writers. And yes, while women can be described as poets etc too, it still doesn't change that there's a completely separate word for them.
** Yes, '
seamster' does exist, but it's archaic and nobody uses it.

15 comments:

km said...

But female singers are divas and male singers are "frontmen" or worse, "vocalists".

/sarcasm.

Renovatio said...

I have honestly never heard of a poetess, but I do know what you mean with actor/actress, god/godess and whatnot. Though there isn't any distinction between nurses, is there. No nurse and nursette or something. Would a child of a nurse be a nurselet? Oh and smurfs. Males are smurfs, and the sole female's smurfette.

??! said...

km/ren:
that's the point. Yes, there are certain professions where there is no distinction, and there are sub-designations in certain professions, but at the generic level there's a distinction for females, but not for males.

km:
Divas, sopranos, tenors are still singers. But it's 50:50...Ok chalo, you get 0.5 points.

ren:
hmmm, but the race is still the smurfs no? Like tigresses still get clubbed under the 'tiger' species umbrella.

??! said...

km:
and yes, I know it was sarcastic. just being pedantic meself.

Tabula Rasa said...

surprised you didn't comment on "mrs."

on_trial said...

This is a pretty much accepted theory. So much so, that there have been consistent efforts for a while now to adress the problems - introducing the term 'chairperson', isntead of 'chairman' for example. Or the universal acceptance of the term 'actor' where it earlier used to be actor / actress.

But something that's not got so much notice is the reason behind this linguistic segregation in the first place. Was it just an accident? Or was there 'deliberate malice', as they say?

For example, why do all ancient religions, across the world, have a myth of a mother goddess? There is no equivalent male god. Zeus doesn't count, he didn't run in the same league. But none of these civilizations treated their women any better. No better than Catholics and their 'Mother Mary' for instance.

Could it be that by giving women the position of 'purity', men were just trying to sideline them from where the real action is? Giving them divinity, while denying them politics, power and football?

This isn't a new theory either. My dad told me this one infact :)

km said...

Like tigresses still get clubbed under the 'tiger' species umbrella.

Eh? Are you proposing a new taxonomy? May the ghost of Linnaeus haunt you.

//being ultra-pedantic here.

Space Bar said...

yay for this! i vote we hunt for a word that describes a harem populated by men, for the sole delectation of females.

contributions invited.

Tabula Rasa said...

space bar:
air supply?

Space Bar said...

tr, you going to start naming boy bands now? how about the original ones - the beatles? now, that's a harem i wouldn't mind finding myself in.

??! said...

ot:
yeh I get the theory (theories). Although we - and by that I mean Punkster - could probably give a more detailed analysis of the reasons. And yes, also acknowledge the '-person' movement. Which still feels lame.

km:
Oi - when referring to the species in general, do you not say Tigers? Or do you say "big, striped, gorgeous looking cat"?

tr:
Eh - the list would just go on. Non-academics keep it short. :P

sb/tr:
now we have to think of names as well? siiigh...

the wannabe indian punkster said...

You are incorrigible. You awful person you. After a rant, I obviously do need more issues to rant about. Fight fire with fire, etc. that whole shtick, eh? :)

the wannabe indian punkster said...

Speaking of pervasive, I covered the slut/stud craphola, but gosh, that doesn't even graze the surface. Theres just SO much more, it's overwhelming. But you gotta start somewhere, I guess.

Pri said...

mrs???

what about dr. mrs?

??! said...

wip:
like I said, we leave in-depth analysis (read: rants) to the professionals. Go ahead, make your day.

pri:
that too.