A brash, enlightening and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.
English is scattered with perfectly innocuous words that have devolved into insults hurled at women. The word ‘bitch’ originally meant male or female genitalia. ‘Hussy’ was simply a housewife, and a ‘slut’ was an untidy man or woman.
Amanda Montell, feminist linguist and features editor at online magazine Byrdie, explains why words matter and why it’s imperative that women embrace their unique relationship with language. Drawing on fascinating research, and moving effortlessly between history and pop culture, Montell deconstructs language – from insults and cursing to grammar and pronunciation – to reveal the ways it has been used for centuries to gaslight women and keep them from gaining equality. Montell’s irresistible intelligence and humour shines through as she makes linguistics not only approachable but downright enthralling.
Far from being crushed by mansplainers and misogynists, women have a superior capacity to adapt to linguistic change, and tend to be at the forefront of linguistic trends. Wordslut gets to the heart of our language, sheds light into the biases that shadow women in our culture and shows how to embrace language to verbally smash the patriarchy.