Sex Kitten: A Look at the Implications of Language

9 Jun

The language itself is a pervasive force–it is the way we communicate our expectations, how we preceive ourselves as a country, and the way we convey our deepest feelings.  When the dialect is biased it shows a prejudice on a deep level for the body of people using those words.  With frequent use, words become so ingrained they are “natural.”  When this happens their true meaning is lost, and people use them without thinking about their consequences.  Nothing could be worse because the insidious factor becomes an underlying, furtive force chipping away at their targets ubiquitously.  It’s a lot easier to fight an enemy you can see. . .

We have some beautiful words in the English language:  Ailurophile means a lover of cats.  Dalliance is a brief love affair.  Lissome is slender and graceful.  Sumptuous means lush or luxerious, both of which are also beautiful descriptive terms.  Here’s more:

Instead of using those we resort to the more evocative, yet detrimental slang words.  Everyone should know by now that sexual terms for women are degrading, or at the very least objectify females while sexual terms for men are boastful and have positive connotations.  I have provided a few examples to display what I mean about our sexism in our vocabulary.  On the men’s categories I have emphasized the negative terms or ones that objectify guys.  On the Female entries, I emphasized the neutral or positive words.

Guys that have a lot of sex:

Balla, Chick-magnet, Gigolo, Hustler, Mack, Pimp, Playa, Play-boy, Player, Stud

Females that have a reputation for having a lot of sex:

Cougar, Easy, Floozy, Harlot, Ho, Hooker, Hussy, Loose, Prostitute, Sex-Kitten, Shorty, Skank, Slut, Sorostitute, Tease, Temptress, Tramp, Promiscuous, Whore

As you can see, the men have just one negative connotation among a plethera of positive proclamations, while all but one of the women’s terms villianize them for having sex.  This says our society pats boys and men on the back for having intercourse, even if it’s considered a lot of sex, but look down on girls and women for doing the same thing.  Or being accused of doing it.  Or just acting like they might want to. . .  This double standard is unfair.

When it comes to sex, our language proves that we are not very educated.  At most the terms are ignorant and show a lack of knowledge of our most private parts.  At worst, the words are harsh and evoke feelings of shame while implying the body is dirty.  Remember that I have emphasized words that can be construed as negative for men, and terms that are neutral to positive for women.

Slang for Male Anatomy & Physiology:

Balls, Boner, Cock, Cum, Cumshot, Dick, Jism, Jizz, Johnson, Juice, Junk, Load, Nut, Pecker,  Schlong, Skeet, Splooge, Spunk, Wang, Weiner, Willy

Slang for Female Anatomy:

Bearded-clam, Beaver, Boobs, Box, Bush, Button, Cooch, Coochie, Cooter, Cunt, Hole, Jugs, Love-button, Muff, Poon, Poontang, Pussy, Slit, Snatch, Tits, Titties, Tuna-fish, Tuna-juice, Twat, Vag,

Even using the highlighted words, the rule still stands that men get a lot more positive ways to describe their anatomy, while women’s body parts convey mystery and secrets.  Or, if we are familiar with them at all, are described as disgusting.  Dick and pecker are neutral slang terms for a man’s penis, and are only highlighted because a guy could be called these terms in an angry tone of voice to show displeasure.  Boobs, Box, Button, Hole, Love-button, and Vag and emphasized as neutral to positive only because they do not make me cringe as the other words in the set do.  Granted, they are still not the most stellar or accurate descriptions.  What does it mean for women if the best words to describe their bodies are still ignorant or just borderline horrid instead of absolutely insulting?

Gendered Terms Used to Describe Males:

Buff, Charming, Cocky, Cut, Douche, Dude, Gay, Fag, Faggot, Handsome, Hunk, Prince, Pussy, Queen, Studly, Strong, Stud-muffin, Suave, Tall, Transvestite 

Gendered Terms Used to Describe Females:

Babe, Bangin’, Barbie, Beautiful, Betty, Bimbo, Bitch, Buxom, Chick, Cupcake, Curvy, Cute, Dear, Delicious, Delightful, Dog, Dumb-blonde, Drama-queen, Dyke, FineFoxGorgeous, Goddess, Honey, Hun, Lesbian, MILF, Muffin-top, Pretty, Pumpkin, Stunning, Sweetie, Sweetheart, Tight, Voluptuou

Based on the descriptive terms of men and women, what do you think our society values about females?  Just look how many words are in bold to signify a positive connotation!  BUT is it positive to sexualize and objectify women?  What happens when looks are valued above personality and character?  These words show an impossible standard that women are supposed to live up to–and not many do.  Even worse are the emphasized terms on the men’s side.  Note how all the negative words that describe males mean homosexual or feminine.  So the worst thing a guy can be–is female or gay (= too feminine)?

The take home message here is 1:  Our English language shows our bias against females and 2:  We need to be especially careful how language is used to avoid stigmatizing and marginalizing any population.

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