Words Not to Call Women IV



Amanda said…
So, I've noticed that many of these begin with the word B. So, unless you are saying Beloved or Beautiful, steer clear of the B words when talking about women.
Pete said…
How about bountiful.
Amanda said…
Um, no. Bountiful should be used for baskets or something, not women.
Anonymous said…

that last one isnt so bad...
Jay said…
LOL! How's that list of words for guys coming along? It'd be awesome to follow this week's tip with some words for guys. One B-word that we don't like to hear (at least from a girl we like) is 'you're like a BROTHER to me.'
Jay said…
Now, I previously thought that buxom would be considered a compliment, as I mistakenly thought it just referred to, well, the size of certain parts. But, I was alarmed just now to discover that Webster defines "buxom" as "plump, especially with large....er...tracts of land."
Jay said…
I have a good friend, who will remain unnamed, that as a child was told to refer to "plump" individuals as "jollies." I think this is HILARIOUS! It did, however, get her in trouble when a bus full of heavier individuals pulled up to the grocery store. She said, "Look, mom, a bus full of jollies!" I think this would be a moment when as a parent it'd be hard to discipline; much easier to laugh :-)
Jules said…
Haha. That story never fails to make me laugh.

I suggest two possible reasons for why we are having trouble compiling a list of words not to call men.

a) Men are not nearly as sensitive as women, and therefore offend much less frequently, if at all.

2) Women are so VERY sensitive (in a different way) that we always know the correct, non-offensive words to use with men... unless, of course, we are flat-out trying to insult them.

There - run with that one, kids.
Jay said…
Jules, I feel that this is particularly insightful. I think I agree that it's a sensitivity issue. But then again no one wants to be big boned.
vander said…
I think it's competition. Historically, women have been both owned by men and exalted by men (with no economical means to survive outside their evaluations). Fertility goddesses in ancient cultures were traditionally represented in full-figured sculpture. Victorian wives who were thin and frail were evidence that their husbands had wealth and they did not have to work. Either way, male opinion dictated female survival. You can't erase centuries of that kind of crap all at once.

All of the things we've decided are bad to call women either describe her as (1) physically unattractive/overweight or (2) strong. Both of these are still based on male perception. Really, what's bad about being ugly and strong? What can an ugly/strong woman not accomplish? Nothing. She's just at a disadvantage when competing with other women for the attention of men. So....it's not sensitivity so much as competition. I'd call it basic survival instinct.
vander said…
Plus, it's just pretty much rude to offer your own opinion about someone's physique when they don't ask for it. But if they DO ask for it (as in "Does this make me look fat?") they deserve what they get. Don't hold back.
Anonymous said…
I'm gonna have to go with Julie's explanation on this one. I think it comes more from the fundamental fact that guys & girls are different, rather than from how guys & girls have historically treated each other. I dont really think there's such a thing as genetic gender memory. (i.e. "my male ancestors were rarely complimented, so I am insecure as a result")

Look at how guys interact with each other - name-calling just comes naturally. It's not malicious, it's just funny. It's a sign that we are familiar with each other to the point where we can comfortably insult each other. We rarely take it seriously. And when guys have arguments, it's over in 2 minutes they usually forget about it and are back to normal a half hour later.

Granted, my observation is somewhat limited, but as far as I can tell, girls rarely if ever use insults in a familiarity/friendly manner. And when girls get angry at each other, it's rarely forgotten a half hour later...

As Julie said, girls are more sensitive when it comes to interpersonal interactions. Especially when its comments on their image or character.

I think guys are probably most sensitive when it comes to issues regarding their competance. ("You suck at this sport." "You have no sense of direction." "You're not very good at such-and-such." "You let me down." "You don't have what it takes.") Everything else tends to roll off our backs.
Anonymous said…
I also suspect that in a society composed entirely of women, that "beauty" would still be used as leverage...
vander said…
"girls rarely if ever use insults in a familiarity/friendly manner"

Um, Andy, have we met?
vander said…
And all that stuff about how women and men handle conflict and relate to other people is learned behavior. It may be conditioned by society, but it's not naturally gender-specific. I didn't pop out of the womb and automatically worry about how pretty I was. If women are caught up in body image and can't resolve an argument, it is because they are taught those behaviors and have opted not to fight them.

Comparable stereotypes about men - that they're arrogant, won't ask for directions, blah blah blah - are not ingrained either. They're taught, and they can (and ought to be) un-taught.
Anonymous said…
I hafta disagree. Men & women do not learn their behavior from societal norms. Societal norms are derived from the natural behavioral differences in men & women.

To illustrate: Are women generally more nurturing because society wanted them to be good mothers for thousands of years? Or are they good mothers because they are more nurturing? Are men generally more aggressive because society arbitrarily chose them to be the go-to soldiers through history, or are they the go-to soldiers because they are inherently more aggressive?

This is not to say that there aren't exceptions. Far from it. I just dont think there is anything wrong in acknowledging gender differences. I think it keeps the world interesting. Trying to un-teach men and women into all behaving the same comes to chillingly close to a world of artificial equality. How would this be implemented? Thought Police?

On topic, and to take this convo in a happier direction, consider this fun picture.
Anonymous said…
sorry all, for being so boring and un-witty ;)
vander said…
I agree that there are differences between men and women, but "nurturing" as a specifically female trait is problematic; it emasculates affection and kindness. Worst case scenario, it produces men who cannot love and women who cannot think. Analysis of what makes men and women different is guilty of describing women in relation to others (husband, children) and men as standalone entities. That's just not logical. It presumes that all women are mothers but not all men are fathers, which is completely loopy.

I believe Christians have a great responsibility to act beyond the perceived weaknesses of their genders, for two reasons. (1) "In Christ there is neither male nor female" and (2) we are to "be cunning as serpents and gentle as doves". I think that calls for wisdom outside average gender blinders.
Anonymous said…
When someone points out that women are generally more sensitive (as Julie & I have done), this does not mean that ALL women must be sensitive, nor does it imply that ALL men are therefore prohibted from any sort of nurturing behavior. It just recognizes the trend.

In the same manner, men tend to exhibit good leadership qualities, but that doesn't mean ALL men are strong leaders (I'm not), only that the prevalence is there. Neither does it mean that women are excluded across the board. There have been plenty of matriarchal societies throughout history. Deborah was one of the Judges, and I'd vote for Condi Rice in a heartbeat. Being a leader doesnt even mean you are better than the people who are following, it is simply a different gift.

These observations just recognize the trend. Is it wrong to point out that women are more nurturing, more discerning, more empathetic, more - dare I say it - sensitive? Heck, none of these things are even bad! They are compliments! Should we squelch these observations in the nebulous pursuit of social conformity? To quote Ray Bradbury, "There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches."

God made us male & female (Gen 1:27) for specific reasons, yet this does not mean we are unequal, any more than one puzzle piece is better than another. He wants us to be relational beings - not autonomous, so He made us with individual strengths & weaknesses. God designed men & women to complement each other, to be helpers for each other. (Gen. 2:18, Eph 5:31-32) I dont think He messed up. Men & women are equal ("created in His own image") yet they have different roles. The Trinity is a very apt analogy - three "persons" with very different roles, yet still equal.

God created us with different strengths (1 Cor. 12:4-6) with the encouragement to use them, not to try to suppress them because we like other people's gifts better. And we also have different weaknesses, but those should not be denied either, because God also has a purpose for them (John 9:1-3; 2 Cor. 12:9-10). Again, I don't think God made a mistake here.

We are created with an equality in value, yet a distinction in role. We are unique and yet equal (Gal. 3:28). We are a painting using all the colors in the spectrum, not a monotone canvas. We are a Chinese buffet, not a bowl of white rice. We are Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," not Tenacious D's "One Note Song."

hahaha, okay, I'm quickly descending into absurdity, so I'm gonna head out. In the meantime, here's another fun link! (Not really on topic.)

P.S. I'm enjoying this little discussion. Let me know if I should just shut up. Thx :)
vander said…
I agree with everything you're saying. I merely mourn how generalizations bury us in permission to ignore our weaknesses instead of teaching us how to be adults.

What purpose does it serve to make the assessment that some women are sensitive or some men are leaders? Usually, these generalizations are manipulated as tools to entitle one gender and belittle the other (as in "I don't have to pay attention to other people's emotions because I'm a man" or "It's my social responsibility to complain about the state of the world, but not to fix it, because I'm a woman").

I bet a major part of the conflict over this is in definition of terms, which are probably very different for each gender and even more altered by individual personalities. So...scientific study! Without looking in a dictionary or thesaurus, define two terms, "sensitive" and "nurturing", not by what they ought to mean to one gender, but what they look like to you. I shall do the same, then we can compare. (No cheating and reading mine first. I'll put mine in the next post.) Ready....GO.
vander said…
(my definitions, some positive, some negative)

sensitive: (1) one who is unable to accept constructive criticism (2) weak, childish (3) whiny

nurturing: (1) one who recognizes and makes effort to alleviate suffering (2) one who instructs (3) one who protects the helpless and puts a high value on the well-being of others

OK, now I'm going to go see what my buddy Webster says....
Kris said…
sensitive: (1) one who is keenly aware of those around them, and the emotions of those around them; (2) one who is in close touch with their own emotions; (3) someone who cries a lot

nuturing: caregiver, one who puts others before themselves

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