An exploration of the histories and meanings of over 300 words relating to women. It shows how words like "hysteria" and "hussy" acquired perjorative meanings, how words like "slut" and "frigid" were formerly used of men, and how women are likened to food and animals.
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The imagery of food is frequently drawn upon in the English language to portray women and their external sexual organs as edible objects for male consumption. The concept of woman as an empty container to be filled up by a man, his sex organ or his semen, is another common image. Dish, C20th slang for a sexually alluring young woman, combines both. Although also used of an attractive male, its development explains why it is more frequently used of a woman.
In Old English dish denoted a broad shallow vessel; in the C15th it also denoted food ready to be served. In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare made use of these two senses: "I know that a woman is a dish for the gods." The 1811 edition of the Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue defines dishclout (ie, dishcloth) as "a dirty greasy woman" and explains that the phrase "He has made a napkin of his dishclout" means "One who has married his cook maid."From Library Journal:
The semantic history of words dealing exclusively with women is the subject of this lively dictionary. Mills traces how, when, and why these words have changed over time and makes many fascinating observations. Words such as harlot, hussy, tart, and tramp all originated with either neutral or favorable connotations and evolved into derogatory female terms. Many words define women as edible such as cheesecake, dish, honey, and meat, or as destructive such as banshee, hag, siren, and vamp. Mills has done extensive, thorough research which is biased somewhat toward British English, but this does not detract from the significance of her findings. This belongs in every linguistics and feminist collection. It makes a nice complement to Tama Starr's The "Natural Inferiority" of Women ( LJ 10/1/91), a book of quotations about women.
- Eva Lautemann, DeKalb Coll. Lib., Clarkston, Ga.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Henry Holt & Co (P), 1993. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110805026096
Descripción Henry Holt & Co (P), 1993. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0805026096