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The Semantic Derogation of Woman
In the reading of Muriel Schulz “The Semantic Derogation of Woman”, the author talks about words in which describe woman in a slang or profound way. The author says this is because men fear woman’s attitudes and this is the only way they can let it out. Schulz’s talks about how words over time which were nice and gentlemanly like or had a good meaning have become rude and slanderous towards woman. I hope by the end of this paper you will better understand what Schulz’s point of view was trying to make clear.
The main issue the author points out is how the language we use today will carry through to new generations. She says it throughout the paper that men of degenerated all of these words in some way or form to insult woman. For example she says Shakespeare degenerated the word lewd to mean prostitute(Schulz, 45). No matter how small or discrete we are about using slang words sooner or later a new generation will start to use it and unless a generation decides to stop using a part of language it will continue to pass on. Men throughout history have designed the language throughout the generations and have always made unequal’s. For example, “all men are created equal” this statement coming from our founding fathers. Two things are wrong with that sentence: founding fathers, not founding mothers, and all men are created equal not all humans are created equal. Though it is true men have wrote the language and laws we currently and had previously used, the future looks brighter and brighter for woman as they infiltrate the government. Not only this, but woman are a huge part of how we are raised. They are not only teaching us in the classroom, but at home too. This I believe disproves the author who states men help women stay out of the office. There is no way woman would be in office if it wasn’t for men standing up for woman and voting for them too. This is where I believe Schulz lacks evidence for her case.
The next part of the article Schulz talks about is the slander used to describe old or overweight woman. She talks about how men have made words like “cow” and “warhorse” to describe these women(Schulz, 43). I believe half of this is true. I’ve never heard an old or overweight woman called a warhorse(Schulz, 44). A warhorse or steed usually refers to a young, fast, athletic person. However, she does list other terms that I would have fully agreed upon like “hag”. Older ladies still today are called old hags and still today it’s an insult(Schulz, 43). People who are overweight these days are stilled called cows, and old people are called old hags, these are both insults. Once again she lacks evidence and makes a mistake saying that if you called a man a granny he would take it as an insult. If I were called a granny I would just look at the person funny and say do I look like a girl to you.
The next issue Schulz talks about is how words like “tramp” and “mistress” have degenerated over time to become words that describe woman if they have sex too much or cheat on their man(Schulz, 46). She makes a good point in that things woman do which help pleasure men are made to look degrading, and are looked down upon. Such acts for example are stripping and prostitution. I would have to agree with the author full heartily on this issue. Even though men love skimpy little outfits on girls, I can’t help and look back on how hypocritical we are on those girls. Some of these girls are well sophisticated young ladies just trying to make a buck, so they can get through college and become a helpful person to society. A good example would be Lady Gaga who is now a well known pop singer in the country. Even though her parents were well off and could pay for her college, she decided to strip to pay for her college and make herself an independent woman.
The final thing the author brings up is why men fear to be inferior with women. She says men just can’t stand it that girls are biologically stronger than men during the early stages of life because girls hit puberty faster. Girls also have a longer lifespan and are less likely to get diseases. For this men must say hostile things to woman to make themselves feel superior and make woman feel worthless. The author here is trying to finish off the reader here with a last onslaught against men, but she makes some mistakes. Yes, boys do feel a little weaker when girls start to grow taller than the, so they do say mean things to make themselves feel superior. However, when men in their early twenties are taller than these girls a why do they insult these girls now. It’s certainly not because their worried these girls are going to outlast them in life, it’s because guys think it’s cool to show off in front of their friends, and see how bad they can insult a girl. I just feel the author really never covers this age group throughout the article.
To conclude I think this paper was very well written overall. This feminist really has a passion for what she’s talking about and really shows it throughout the paper. However, I do feel that she did lack evidence sometimes during the paper, and this can leave holes in her story. I hope I have helped you understand what Schulz’s feminist point of view was trying to make clear.
King, James. http://thejamkingshow.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/snap-lady-gaga-use-to-be-a-striper/. 7 April 2009.
“warhorse.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 15 Dec. 2009.
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