Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Our society admires courage, and our favorite vernacular for expressing it involves male genitalia, e.g.  "That took a lot of balls."

Balls equate to testes, which, actually, are not very courageous in and of themselves.  They produce sperm and don't like to be kicked. Women have ovaries, which produce eggs and aren't so sensitive to kicking, though I think it is fair to say that no one particularly likes to get kicked in the ovary.  No one ever says, "That took a lot of ovaries!" or even, "Man, she's got ovaries the size of grapefruit!" Actually, they do occasionally say the later, but only when referring to ovarian cysts, which occur occasionally but do not increase your courageous factor.

Both testicles and ovaries are "gonads" which is a really fun word to say.  "Man, that girl's got gonads!" "Wow, that took a lot of gonads!"  "Dude, he's got gonads the size of grapefruit, yo."  

Chutzpah is Yiddish, and also fun to say, but you really need to master the back of the throat, phlegm clearing CH sound to do it properly, and the down side is that outside of New York, people don't really have a basic understanding of  Yiddish idioms, or Yiddioms as I like to call them.

Either way, I think it is time to banish gender exclusive terms, and this goes for putdowns as well.  

For example, it is common to  call someone a gender differentiated word for genitalia, either male or female.  This could easily be replaced by a gender-neutral body part of the anal nature.

The same is also true of the popular phrase of condescension involving a bag of cleaner for a woman's inner workings.  The gender neutral enema can be substituted equally well.

The truth is, gender neutrality can be just as mean and cutting, and often times funnier than the knee-jerk gender exclusive terms common in our language.  The next time you want to extoll the positive or negative virtues of someone, let's think a little deeper, or just go with the universal loser, wuss, or fuckface.

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