from Amazons, Bluestockings and Crones: a feminist dictionary, a woman’s companion to words and ideas, by Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler

A hefty book of over 500 pages of entries, but worth, at the very least, a skim through for words of interest to you.  Here are a few that I love:


Academia: a hierarchy whose “purpose is the production of prestige”  (Jo Freeman, 1979)

Acknowledgements: … where authors acknowledged the ideas and intellectual contributions of males and the clerical and editorial assistance of females and where men thanked their wives for critically reading their manuscripts without asking for co-authorship.

Adam: History’s first nonfunctioning head of household (Midge Lennert and Norma Willson, 1973)

Chivalry: In 1694, Mary Astell called chivalry a praise of women’s incompetence and ignorance …

Flattery; Words of praise commonly given to women in substitution of money and occupational status.

Jockocratic Society: “In a jockocratic society, you can turn on the TV and find out the score of some basketball game in Alaska—but you can’t find out how many states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment.  You can turn on the radio, and hear every score in the country repeated all day long—but you don’t hear how many women died from illegal abortions.” (Florynce Kennedy, quoted in Gloria Steinem, 1973)

Love: Andrea Dworkin defines romantic love as the “mythic celebration of female negation…” (1976)

Marriage: [too long to retype, but I found them online:]

Maternal Instinct: Concept invented by males “to ensure that we would [assume] full responsibility for children per se …”

Men’s Studies: “The academic curriculum.” (Dale Spender, 1981)

Militance: “they call us militants, but General Westmoreland, General Abrams, General Motors and General Dynamics—they’re the real militants.  We don’t even have a helicopter.” (Florynce R. Kennedy, quoted in Gloria Steinem, 1973).

Parenthood: A condition which often brings dramatic changes to new mothers—”loss of job, income, and status; severing of networks and social contacts; and adjustments oto being a ‘housewife’.  Most new fathers do not report similar social dislocations.  (Lorna McKee and Margaret O’Brien, 1983).

Politics: “A male invention that emphasizes conflict and confrontation.” (Tom Peterson, 1984)

Reproduction: “It is noticeable that those who urge women to breed are men, or imperialistically-minded women, to whom consciously or unconsciously more babies are but material in the great game of personal or national aggrandizement.” (B. Liber, 1919)

“Women are not oppressed because of the biological fact of reproduction, but are oppressed by men who define this reproductive capacity as a function.  ‘The truth is that childbearing isn’t the function of women.  The function of childbearing is the function of en oppressing women.'” (Ti Grace Atkinson, 1974)

Waitressing: A physically and mentally difficult restaurant job in which women facilitate the decisions of men.” (Susan Wood, 1979)

War: A sense brutality that causes many men to “forswear their culture, thei humanity, their intellectual efforts, their fruitful labours, to wallow in the joys of regimentation, brainlessness, the abandonment of the will, the primitive delights of destruction.”  H. M. Swanwick, 1935)

“What connection is there between the sartorial splendours of the educated an and the photograph of ruined houses and dead bodies?” )Virginia woolf, 1938)

Welfare Queens: Women who through persistence and ingenuity have learned to operate efficiently within the welfare system and are therefore often assumed to be ‘cheating’ it.  “There’s lots of discussions of welfare queens.  No juicy word for businessmen who cheat the government of thousands of dollars.”  (Julia Lesage, 1982)

Woman: “If you are willing to grant that language and literature are important, why is it irrelevant to you that wimmin are called ‘girls’ until we die?  Wy is it irrelevant that female address terms (Miss, Mrs.) serve to indicate whether or not a woman is sexually available (on the market’) while the male Mr. does not?”  (Julia Penelope 1978)

Women and Work: “As if women who worked were the exceptions!”  R. J. 1884


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