Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

Written by:
Amanda Montell
Narrated by:
Amanda Montell

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2019
6 hours 57 minutes
“As funny as it is informative, this book will have you laughing out loud while you contemplate the revolutionary power of words.” —Camille Perri, author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy

A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.

The word bitch conjures many images for many people, but it is most often meant to describe an unpleasant woman. Even before its usage to mean a female canine, bitch didn’t refer to gender at all—it originated as a gender-neutral word meaning genitalia. A perfectly innocuous word devolving into a female insult is the case for tons more terms, including hussy—which simply meant housewife—or slut, which meant an untidy person and was also used to describe men. These words are just a few among history’s many English slurs hurled at women.

Amanda Montell, reporter and feminist linguist, deconstructs language—from insults and cursing, gossip, and catcalling to grammar and pronunciation patterns—to reveal the ways it has been used for centuries to keep women and other marginalized genders from power. Ever wonder why so many people are annoyed when women talk with vocal fry or use the word like as a filler? Or why certain gender-neutral terms stick and others don’t? Or where stereotypes of how women and men speak come from in the first place?

Montell effortlessly moves between history, science, and popular culture to explore these questions and more—and how we can use the answers to effect real social change. Her irresistible humor shines through, making linguistics not only approachable but both downright hilarious and profound, demonstrated in chapters such as:

Slutty Skanks and Nasty Dykes: A Comprehensive List of Gendered Insults
How to Embarrass the Shit Out of People Who Try to Correct Your Grammar
Fuck it: An Ode to Cursing While Female
Cyclops, Panty Puppet, Bald Headed Bastard and 100+ Other Things to Call Your Genitalia

Wordslut gets to the heart of our language, marvels at its elasticity, and sheds much-needed light into the biases that shadow women in our culture and our consciousness.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.
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hadley prevette

I was immediately hooked by the narrator who did such a wonderful job and really added to the experience of the book. I read a lot of feminist books and really enjoyed this one. I'd say it's fun, practical, and makes good use of the readers curiosity. It took me back to my younger days when I had more time to think of such things and made them relevant now.

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