All in a Huff over Vocabulary Reserved for Women

Recently I had a moral disagreement with someone, so I left. Later he told me that I “stomped out in a huff”. That kind of fascinated me. First of all, I would look rather silly, at the age of 51, if I “stomped” anywhere. And here I thought I was leaving out of respect for the other person. I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of 150 people, and I didn’t want there to be tension for either of us. So I took myself out of the equation.

But it did get me thinking about that phrase. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that a man stomped out in a huff. It even sounds weird. Men might retreat, or leave decisively, or take their exit or deescalate a situation, but they’re never accused of being prone to huffs.

That put me in mind of an article I read recently entitled If Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women, by Meg Elison. I highly recommend that you read it. It will really open your eyes to the stereotypes that we all just seem to take for granted. For example, you never hear of men gazing up adoringly at anyone. It just isn’t done.

Here are some more words or phrases that seem to only be applied to “the fairer sex.” (Ugh!)

  • Hysterical
  • Bitchy
  • Irritable
  • Brassy
  • Flaky
  • Airhead
  • Hormonal
  • Emotional
  • Tart
  • Shrill
  • Catty
  • Jail Bait
  • Blonde
  • Brunette
  • Neurotic
  • Not Bad for a Girl
  • Easy
  • Frigid
  • Asking for It
  • Moody
  • Headstrong
  • Plus Sized
  • Cat Fight
  • Gold Digger
  • Intense
  • Gossipy
  • Too Ambitious
  • Slutty
  • Little
  • Irrational
  • Touchy
  • Prude
  • Ball Buster
  • Tease
  • Sensitive
  • Loose
  • Diva
  • Shrew
  • High Strung
  • Ditsy
  • Nag
  • Fishwife
  • Bossy
  • High Maintenance
  • Nasty
  • Fretting
  • Abrasive
  • Breathless
  • Whiny
  • Pushy
  • Mousey
  • Bubbly
  • Illogical

Make no mistake. We live in a sexist society. This didn’t just happen after Trump was elected. The only difference this election made is that now there is no hiding from this fact. The people have spoken. They are okay with a leader who brags about grabbing pussies, and this has caused the scales to fall from our eyes. So now that we have a clear, unobstructed view of the disease, what are we going to do to cure it?

First of all, every woman out there should memorize the words above and strike them from her vocabulary. It’s bad enough when men use them, but it is inexcusable when we use them against each other. We have to stick together if we want to stay strong. And when anyone uses them, we all need to call that person out. We can’t move forward until this type of talk becomes socially unacceptable.

Go forth and conquer gender speech!


Check out my refreshingly positive book for these depressingly negative times.


16 thoughts on “All in a Huff over Vocabulary Reserved for Women

  1. Sam Ramirez

    I agree with you Barb. There has always been a disturbing double standard in our society. If it’ll make you feel better, I also have certain terms for men. For example, for a man who was born with looks, but little brains, I call a “male bimbo”. There is no excuse for either sex to use negative stereotypes against each other. I also dislike when women refer to men as big gorillas, stupid jocks, nerds, or wimps. I rarely hear those terms used against women. Unfortunately, we now have a President elect who feels very comfortable using very negative terms against women. What a disturbing climate to be living in!

  2. lyn sutton

    I’ve had men looking up at me adoringly… but they stalked me when I didn’t respond in kind. I guess I shouldn’t have worried my pretty little head over them but at least I looked cute when I got angry about it. 🙂 (is there an emoji for sarcasm?)

    You know who’s asking for it? Anyone trying to spread this disease in my presence.

  3. lyn sutton

    I tried listing positive terms specifically attributed to women. Sad to say it takes a lot more effort but we need to promote a vocabulary that negates this every growing demeaning list. Not a diva but a goddess. Not bubbly but effervescent. Not head strong but determined… perhaps being the wordsmith that you are you should take over now.

      1. lyn sutton

        My dial is permanently set to your channel. I’m always listening even if I can’t find the energy to comment.

  4. lyn sutton

    Thanks for the link. Many of Mr. Groban’s songs are uplifting and inspirational. (Helps me tolerate the pain since I can’t tolerate the meds.) Maybe he can gather them all and go on a tour to lift and strengthen the nation… a “Make America Sane Again” tour.

  5. Pingback: Better Words for Women – The View from a Drawbridge

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