#Otherworldly Words: Succubus

succubus)It’s March, and I’m continuing to look at less than flattering words to describe women.  (You can see why, in my first post!)

The second word this month is succubus. As you can see from the illustration, a succubus is a type of temptress. (The male form is incubus.) Looking at the words this month, it makes one wonder if we try to force people into categories. The first words to describe women as “mean and repugnant.” Now, this word describes a woman who is trying to steal a man’s virtue. It’s like you can’t win.

There’s definitely a bit of slut shaming in here. (We have words for men for that too. Think: rake.) But, often these aspersions meant to control are cast at the subjugated, and, in this instance, women. When looking at these words, we must see what the intent was as well as think about who is using them — and what power they hope to achieve in doing so.

The painting by John Collier depicts Lilith, likely the most famous succubus, who is said to have been Adam’s first wife before Eve.


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