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In this age of awakening, we’re learning a lot about the flaws in our thinking about gender, race, and a number of other social and cultural constructs. But several terms that are rather offensive to women have stuck around, perhaps because they are not overtly derogatory. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t damaging. Some men may argue, “There is nothing sexist about that word—that word could be used to describe a man or woman.” Of course, if we followed those men with a tape recorder, we’d find that they only applied these terms to females, meaning they are, in fact, sexist and designed only to bring down a woman. Here are subtly derogatory terms men need to stop using to describe women.



To truly nag, someone has to continually find fault with someone, or pester them repetitively about something. But men will be very quick to use the word nag, often saying, “My wife is nagging me to pick up the kids” the very first time she’s even mentioned them picking up the kids. Women don’t call men nags, but by men calling women nags, they are perpetuating the idea that we are overly critical and that they don’t listen to us, so we must repeat ourselves.



Have you ever heard a man be called prude? I highly doubt it. And that could be because, if we’re being honest, it’s easier for women to get sex than men. For that very reason, it’s more likely that a woman will turn down sex than a man will. But to call her prude for that is to imply that she is somehow wrong in turning down sex, or not wanting to do a particular sex act. In other words, men are somehow entitled to sex with that woman. And that has undertones of sexual assault.

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A tease

The trouble with this term is that it implies a woman is consciously, purposefully making a man attracted to her. The reality is that most women who men call teases are not interested in those men, and have no idea they are enticing those men in any way. But calling that woman a tease takes agency away from men—it suggests they cannot help but lust after and have inappropriate thoughts about that woman because she’s drawing them in.

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Ball and chain

Balls and chains are used to imprison people and hold them back. Ironically, men often talk about their “ball and chain” wife when referring to the fact that she is just wondering when he’ll be home because she prepared dinner. Huh. She made you food—the thing that keeps you alive. That doesn’t sound like she holds you back. But furthermore, women don’t refer to men as balls and chains. This double standard spreads the obnoxious myth that women demand and need the attention of their partners more than the other way around, and that simply isn’t true.

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When a man calls the woman in his life his “wifey,” it’s usually after she’s done something like make dinner, pick up his dry cleaning or some other domestic task. In other words, men tend to only associate the concept of the “wife” with some sort of domestic servant. They never call a woman their “wifey” when she’s just being an amazing best friend or supportive partner. Plus, adding “y” to anything is belittling.



Men are never referred to as bossy. Why? Because men are expected to be assertive, confident and secure in stating their demands. But if a woman displays those behaviors, men can’t seem to handle that she just is that way, too. Instead, they must call her “bossy”—as if to say when a woman is assertive or confident, she is somehow oppressive of other people.




Women are often called emotional while men rarely receive this descriptor. But human beings are emotional. So to call a human being—male or female—emotional is redundant. In fact, using it to describe a woman at all is to imply there is something wrong about displaying emotions, which is not true.



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Women are not dramatic; men are restrained, self-oppressive and uncomfortable admitting the gravity of situations. But they can’t admit that, so when a woman accurately points out how urgent, upsetting or wrong something is, and men feel pressure to reject that reality, they just turn everything around and call the woman dramatic.


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Men tend to call women aggressive when they are just a hint of assertive, straightforward or forthcoming. But “aggressive” implies they were too much of those things—perhaps a rude level of those things. In reality, they receive this descriptor when they’ve displayed a small percentage of those traits that men display all of the time.




Men shouldn’t call women manly just as women shouldn’t call men girly. Using these terms suggests that certain traits are strictly female and others are strictly male, and that is just not true. Calling someone manly perpetuates constricting and dangerous gender norms.





Having a “blonde moment”

At some point in history, one blonde woman had a moment in which she spaced out rather obvious information, and men decided to believe all blondes do that all of the time. How would men like it if women saw one short guy behave in a way one time, and forever said they were having a “short guy moment” when they acted like that?

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Acting like a mom

If a woman simply wants to know what the plan is for the day, wants to keep everyone organized or doesn’t want her partner and his friends to light their shoes on fire when they’re drunk, she’s suddenly “Acting like a mom.” Of course, when a man displays those behaviors he is praised for being mature and responsible.


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For the record, Bimbo is actually an Italian word that means brutish man or baby boy. So when men call women bimbos, they are using the term incorrectly. But that only furthers the point that men can take nearly any adjective and manipulate it so that it is a negative term about women—they took a negative masculine term and turned it around onto women.



Should a woman dare to disagree with things men say, start arguments or love a good debate, she’s called feisty. If a man does these things, he’s called intelligent, interesting and well-spoken.


A 10

The one to 10 scale needs to stop today. Nobody should be subjected to be graded on a scale that they didn’t even aspire to be on. Oh, and most men who call women “a 10” are, let’s face it, two’s. How does that feel, men?

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