IntersectionalityFeminism 101 11 Seemingly Benign Words Re-explained In The Context Of Women

11 Seemingly Benign Words Re-explained In The Context Of Women

The most ordinary words, like 'night' and 'compromise' acquire a whole new meaning for women! 11 words re-explained for your understanding.

The most ordinary words, like ‘night’ and ‘compromise’ acquire a whole new meaning for women! 11 words re-explained for your understanding.

  1. Ambition (noun): The quality that if a woman has too much of, will be considered inappropriate for familial life.

Origin: Patriarchy
Contemporary Usage: Women should be ambitious, but not “too” ambitious.

  1. Education (noun): The thing you acquire that makes you get shortlisted in Bharat Matrimony Ads by “educated” bride seekers. However, the level acquired must be acceptable to your potential partner and certainly must not be higher than the level acquired by said potential partner.

Origin: Antiquity. When negotiations for dowry started getting skewed results in favor of the groom, parents of women though this particular arsenal (education) can help equal the plane.
Contemporary Usage: She is getting a Ph.D? Doesn’t her education intimidate her boyfriend?

  1. Traditional (adjective): A fuzzy word that encompasses connotations ranging from your virginity to your propensity to cook Gulab Jamun on any impending festival.

Origin: virilocality.
Contemporary Usage: I am a traditional girl. I wear jeans but I can also cook aloo gobhi.

Also read: Marital Inequality – “Tradition” And The Subjection Of Women

  1. Opinion (noun): A personal view which when held or expressed by a woman can make her appear suddenly unattractive, and said view must be immediately negated or squashed to preserve the social order.

Origin: Abrahamic religion, probably dates back to Adam and Eve. When Eve professed her skepticism towards being created from Adams rib, Adam asked Eve to keep her opinion to herself.
Contemporary Usage: She: Umm, in my opinion, there is a need to address the misogyny in our country. He: Since when do you know anything about this?

Also Read: How To Be A Misogynist, Entitled, Sexist Man On The Internet

  1. Reproduction (noun): The act of producing individuals by a woman to populate the earth which is 7-going-on-8 billion, for purposes of propagating the special genes of her special partner.

Origin: Arrogance. When someone thinks they are so good that the world deserves their genes to perpetuate for generations to come.
Contemporary Usage: 1. A woman who does not reproduce is not fulfilling her biological imperative. 2. Indian women must reproduce and have 4-10 children.

  1. Fair (adjective): A skin color which when acquired by a woman will make her the boss of her boss and enable her to enchant the boy of her dreams as she wins all beauty pageants around the world.

Origin: In the 1970s, with the launch of Fair and Lovely and other skin whitening creams.
Contemporary Usage: She is so dark but her daughter is so fair, how lucky!

  1. Western (adjective): A characteristic which is possessed by a woman by virtue of her liberal ideology, attire, hair or body piercings, that will illegitimize her credibility particularly in times of duress.

Origin: 1990s. Post-Liberalization India has seen a spate of western influence.
Contemporary Usage: 1. We don’t want girls with western morals living in our apartments 2. She’s very western, no wonder she got harassed by those men.

  1. Night (noun): The time between sunset and sunrise when a woman must stay within the confines of their homes to uphold her honor as well as that of her family.

Origin: Right Wing Conservatives.
Contemporary Usage: Our mothers, daughters, sisters and wives must not go out at night as it can give a wrong message about their character to our neighbors.

  1. Sexual Harassment (noun): The normalized groping, touching and staring at a woman in public spaces usually brought upon the woman by her own actions.

Origin: In 2000’s by an MP of some political party trying to explain why rapes happen.
Contemporary Usage: If a woman in half-attire goes out at night she will invite sexual harassment.

  1. Independent (adjective): 1.A description for an unmarried woman who having achieved economic and social self-sufficiency is unable to find a worthy spouse because of said achievement. 2. May also be used for women in relationships to describe their stubbornness when faced with an imminent compromise.

Origin: First used by your friendly intrusive neighborhood aunty, when you brought your parents a new car and had a drink to celebrate.
Contemporary Usage: 1. You are so independent, perhaps that’s why you don’t have a husband! 2. You should compromise and wear the saree, don’t be so independent!

  1. Compromise (noun): A settlement approach usually prescribed to a woman. Best achieved when a woman can squash her own dream to achieve end goal.

Origin: First observed usage dates back to the genesis of ambition.
Contemporary Usage: If you want to go out and he doesn’t, you must compromise – for the sake of your relationship!

Also Read: 10 Dating Tips For Women Who Are The “Feminazi Type”

Featured Image Credit: Valfre


  1. Shreya Das says:

    This post is kickass!

  2. Satires like this help the movements to go beyond the thinking of a common man. Very well put. I could feel every sentence of the post with an incidents from my childhood happened with my Mom, sisters, friends, and even lady teachers. It really is kickass!

  3. Sana says:

    11 should be “sacrifice”. That is Indian aunties fav word to use when talking to newly married girls.’Compromise’ is benign.

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