I don’t know who my father was — and maybe that’s why I got so riled up about a recent news story about “fertility doctors” scamming their patients who were trying to get pregnant by substituting their own sperm for donor sperm.
Try this timed writing exercise: First, make a list of the insults used only against women. Then, make a list of the insults used only against men. Compare your lists.
You’ll see that most derogatory terms for women have to do with promiscuity and most derogatory terms for men have to do with homosexuality.
I used this excercise back in the twentieth century when teaching college writing to women in a re-entry program. The point of the exercise was to demonstrate how language both creates and reflects cultural values. It’s very easy [surprise!] to come up with a long list of insults that get slung against women, but not so easy to write a list of insults slung only against men, especially if you don’t use slurs against specifically gay men. . . .
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