March is Women’s History Month, so I’m gong to take an odd approach to words this month: I’m going to look at oppressive words against women. (No, not THOSE words.)
Most oppressed groups have a long history of words being used against them in an ugly way. This month, I’m going to look at four that have been used against women and are gendered, to mean a woman specifically.
Hold on to your hats, it’s an ugly world out there.
First up is gorgon. Stolen from creatures of mythology (the most famous of which is Medusa) this word means a mean, ugly, or repulsive woman. Wow! That’s harsh.
Looking at words like gorgon (and their gendered aspect) is important, because language is more than a way to convey ideas. It is a reflection of us and our culture. How words change meaning and popularity shows how we progress or regress.
We must ask ourselves why do we have so many demeaning words for women and minority groups. It cast a slanted reflection of who’s in control of language and the power it wields.