As women in a world moving forward in the twenty-first century, we continue to need to work to define ourselves so others aren’t defining us. There are so many names for us out there that we didn’t give ourselves and ideas given to us about how we are that weren’t ever really true. I started looking at some of them that are out there- parts of pop culture I’ve come to accept in a passive ‘I’m grossed out by them’ sort of way.

Before looking through: Ask yourself:

Why are all of these names for women? Are there any for men?

Cougar:

I looked this up in the Urban Dictionary (which often has a misogynist slant- but popular and out there on the internet as truth, like everything on the internet is, of course).

1.An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or milf. Cougars are gaining in popularity — particularly the true hotties — as young men find not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together.

2. (See also hunt, prowl, corner, pounce) Noun. A 35+ year old female whis on the “hunt” for a much younger, energetic, willing-to-do-anything male. The cougar can frequently be seen in a padded bra, cleavage exposed, propped up against a swanky bar in San Francisco (or other cities)waiting, watching, calculating; gearing up to sink her claws into an innocent young and strapping buck who happens to cross her path. “Man is cougar’s number one prey”

3. An attractive woman in her 30’s or 40’s who is on the hunt once again. She may be found in the usual hunting grounds: nightclubs, bars, beaches, etc. She will not play the usual B.S. games that women in their early twenties participate in. End state, she will be going for the kill, just like you.

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Women- would you want to be described like that? Even if you were in the age range, horny and looking to hook up with someone? Being called a Cougar just sexualizes us further.

MILF– An acronym for Mothers I’d Like To Fuck

I’m a Mother. I have a partner, so I’m not looking for anyone. I like to look nice. If I look good am I a mother someone wants to fuck? Oh, I so want to be. What?

These terms are so used to categorize women based on how we are viewed as sexual objects. First we find them strange, funny or horrifying, then we go to: ‘Oh yeah that. I know what that means’ and lastly to: ‘I hope I’m hot enough to be a MILF. Note to self: these are offensive terms. Not just for how they are defined, though certainly that alone could be cause to be horrified, but because women are being defined again by how the systems of patriarchy want to see us as sexual objects. When we are seen that way, that’s all we are and when sex is only one part of life, it becomes a small part that is only important for that.

Shorty or Shawty: used to describe a “sexy woman” though there are definitions out there that are more explicit and offensive as well as ones that just use it as a greeting and/or imply that it would be used for a younger person. I’ve heard it mostly in pop songs- like Flo-Rida featuring T-Pain with “Low”-

(T-Pain)

She had them apple bottom jeans (jeans)

Boots with the fur (with the fur)
The whole club was lookin at her
She hit the flo (she hit the flo)
Next thing u kno
Shawty got low low low low low low low low
Them baggy sweat pants
And the reeboxs with the straps (with the straps)
She turned around and gave that big booty a slap (heeeey)
She hit the flo (she hit the flo)
Next thing u kno
Shawty got low low low low low low low low

[Flo-Rida]
Hey shawty what i gotta do to get u home
My jeans filled with guap and they ready for showin
Cadillacs layed back for the sexy grown
Patron on the rocks thatll make u moan
1 stack (come on) 2 stacks (come on) 3 stacks (come on)
Now thats 3 grand
What u think im playin baby girl im the man
I’m dealin rubberbands
Thats when i threw her legs on my shoulders
I knew it was over
That heny and cola got me like a soldier
She ready for rover, i couldnt control her
So lucky on me i was just like clover
Shawty was hot like a toaster
Sorry but i had to fold
Like a pornography poster
She showed her

Does this song sound familiar? It was really popular a year plus ago. The beat’s catchy, but it’s super objectifying of women and was all over the radio, like it’s no big deal. Popular- popular. So much so that our work holiday party last winter was in a banquet room of a nice hotel and there was dinner and a DJ and they played that song. We were all out on the floor dancing when that came on. My partner and I left the floor. Not only are the lyrics offensive, it’s just odd to be dancing in front of your boss with your co-workers and everybody to this really sexually explicit song that’s degrading to women. Awkward.

Another way the media tells us who we are is through advertisements geared toward female consumers.

Check out this piece by Sarah Haskins. Hilarious, brilliant, and you can really see who they want to define as and how they want to do it.

http://current.com/shows/infomania/90189621_sarah-haskins-in-target-women-lady-friends.htm

My lady friends and I want to be seen as women who have interests other than shoes and relationships deeper than products. A cougar is an animal. A MILF is not something I want to be because the person I’m with wouldn’t call me that or refer to women that way.

At the coming together point where women are front and center in a positive respectful and honored way, the Matrifocal Point, we (women) wouldn’t have labels slapped on us like violator hands groping women’s bodies in a dark club. We wouldn’t be defined like that. We aren’t defined like that. We would define ourselves. We do define ourselves.

The Grrl Code here: Let’s not use these terms or think they’re cool or amusing when we hear them (unless it’s on 30 Rock, because Tina Fey is basically making fun of them anyway). When we hear those terms and are among other women, notice them out loud to the other women and to the men if they’re around or if they’re using them. Say they’re offensive. Say, “Oh please, that word is so ridiculous.” or Say “Don’t be talking about me like that.” Or “Why do they always have to make up some weird word for us?”

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