Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Slang Words for Women

As if this blog entry on the interesting disparity of slang/negative words for men and women in Wikipedia wasn't interesting enough, one of the comments on this entry from a professor was really neat:

One of the exercises I used to illustrate the greater knowledge base of the group as opposed to the individual student consisted of asking the groups to come up with different names for males and females.

I wrote the names on the blackboard as the groups took turns reporting. Every time I used this exercise, the names for females exceeded those for males by at least three to one. The lists invariably included names students might be reluctant to use, those not found in family-oriented newspapers, for instance.

Next, to illustrate the differences between denotation and connotation, I asked the groups to determine which of the names had neutral overtones, which positive, and which negative. As one might expect, the majority of the names for females had a negative connotation.

I usually made the additional point that certain presumably paired words, such as 'master' and 'mistress,' while appearing more or less equal linguistically, had opposite connotations.

Topics: Women


m. said...


that profs experiment reminded me of another one's: the students were given a sentence and had to use the punctuation they thought was apt. the sentence was "woman without her man is nothing"

all the men decided on "woman without her man, is nothing"

the women came up with "woman! without her, man is nothing"


ps - thanks for linking!

Red Jenny said...

That's also quite interesting. Really exposes some of the inequalities that still exist in our core.

I like your blog!

m. said...

thanks! in fact,a couple of us have been planning and have decided to try running a feminist site with an indian perspective. should be up this weekend :D