When a male is reduced in stature, standing, face, etc., if the reducing has been done by a female, she is often said to have "robbed him of his manhood," "castrated" him, "emasculated" him. All of these terms refer to the male sexual equipment, which seems rather limiting to me.
If a woman is reduced in stature, standing, face, etc., what is that called? "Getting what is coming to her"?
Have you ever heard of a female being robbed of her womanhood, or being effemininated? Perhaps the answer to my puzzle is in the difference between what women value most about themselves and what men value most about themselves. Not the same things, I think.
Have you seen the word we're looking for? Care to coin one of your own? Join the hunt in the Word Fugitives conference of Post & Riposte.
E-mail Barbara Wallraff to propose new Word Fugitives.
Back to the introduction ...
Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.