As Ramona DeFelice Long posted on Facebook on 5/26/11, the word “slut” has no place in politics. People responded with the observation that there is no equivalent word for “slut” for males in everyday language in English. “Whoremonger” is no longer used. “Skirt-chaser” and "Lecher" seem weak by comparison and “hound dog” is a euphemism. "Don Juan", "Casanova" and "Lothario" have literary romantic, almost heroic overtones. “Womanizer” seems to me to link wrongdoing with the word base woman. Have you ever heard the word “manizer?” I have known men to refer to themselves as sluts with the meaning generally associated with that word, but only on rare occasions and probably because there is no obvious alternative word.
Sexism is deeply ingrained in our language and in common usage. So deeply that it is hard to avoid. Someone might “master” a skill with all the gender and slavery related implications of that word. Does anyone mistress a skill? Are children ever told to, “Take it like a woman?”
Do leaders encourage their followers to, “Woman up?”
One of Ramona’s responders commented in essence: There is no male equivalent for “bitch.” “Son of a bitch” puts the onus back on women. So does “bastard” by implication.
I read an article on the top of Want Ads section of my local paper that reported a study comparing letters of recommendation for men and for women. Regardless of the gender of the writer, women were more likely to be praised for their “leadership potential.” Men were more likely to be praised for their “leadership.”
I also read an article not long ago about a woman on the board of directors of a major corporation. The article was a complimentary brief biography. Toward the end it mentioned that after her picture appeared in a newsletter to shareholders, (along with a picture of every other board member) she got a letter from a stranger proposing marriage. I wondered about the agenda of the reporter. Was that supposed to be funny? If any of the male directors had received such a letter would that have been mentioned? Why mention it at all?
I don’t remember the gender of the reporter but my perception is that some members of both genders use sexist language when referring to women
So how should we deal with sexist language?