I find it way too easy to write in a way that could be considered gender normative. I would describe someone with gusto as having balls (regardless of their gender) and things like that.
In an attempt to move away from potentially sexist words I decided to have a think about some gender neutral swear words I can use when I want to rant but in a non-sexist way!
Some examples of sexist swear words
These are obviously sexist in that they put down a person by ascribing them a gender characteristic. You can argue about the intent all you want but until the meaning of "Bitch" stops meaning a female dog then calling someone a little bitch has to be considered sexist.
Some swear words that might be sexist?
Both of these mean the same thing, and whilst both genders masturbate it is almost exclusively assumed to be a male trait. Personally I don't think they are gender normative but others might consider them so, or at least in a grey area.
Gender Neutral Swear Words
Now onto the fun bit of this article!
I should say this was way harder than I thought it would be to come up with a list.
- Asshole – (see also: arse, ass, a-hole, etc.)
- Fuck – (see also: fucker, fucko, etc.)
- Toe-rag – (a personal favourite)
- Shite – (see also: shit, shithead, shower of shites, gob shite, etc.)
- Eejit – (Northern Irish favourite, it means idiot)
You will note I haven't included things that are equally as bad as gender biased put downs, so things that are based on race or sexuality don't have a place in my lexicon of swear words.
Swearing in Other Languages
When I was doing research for this a short while ago Jonny Buchanan shared with me that Dutch folk sometimes swear using words related to illness and disability.
I quite like the idea of the phrase: alles ging naar de pleuris, everything went to the tuberculosis.
In German you can call someone a Schweinepriester – This literally translates as Swine Priest and I think is a good example of a gender neutral animal to compare someone with.