From Daily Mail: Have you ever been branded ‘bossy’ for speaking your mind, been labelled a ‘drama queen’ for showing passion or been called a ‘bird’? These are are just some of the words British women have deemed derogatory and would most like to ban from the English language.
‘Bird’, ‘doll’, ‘chick’, ‘babe’ and ‘queen bee’ are the top five most hated pet names while ‘hormonal’, ‘drama queen’, ‘bitchy’, ‘high maintenance’ and ‘hysterical’ are the descriptions women find most offensive.
The survey of more than 2000 16-24-year-old British women also found women feel their strength as a female is undermined four times a day. One third of women reported they have been told to ‘man up’ in the workplace.
Former Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts, spearheading the Special K ‘Strength Is…’ campaign that commissioned the research, said: ‘It is so important for women to grow up learning that you are not a “ball breaker” if you are successful – you are simply a strong woman succeeding.’
‘It is a strange thing that in a modern society we still have room for language that holds strong women back,’ she added.
‘Hormonal’ was the word British women said they would most like to see scrapped from everyday language, with two thirds putting it top of their most hated list. ‘Ball breaker’, ‘highly strung’, ‘attention seeking’, ’emotional’ and ‘controlling’ were among other words women felt had sexist or derogatory undertones.
Words such as ‘honey’ and ‘gorgeous’ were also labelled inappropriate. Forty per cent of respondents said they felt ‘patronised’ when subjected to such remarks, especially in the workplace.
Top of the most-hated pet name list was ‘bird’, which nearly 60 percent would like to be banned from the social dictionary.
To strike a balance, 72 per cent of women said they would like to see more women being described as ‘confident’, or ‘resilient’ (46 per cent) and ‘courageous’ (35 per cent). The study also showed that one in ten believed strong female role models were lacking in high powered jobs, with careers in the City being least well represented.
Nearly a third of British women surveyed said they had been described as a ‘flirt’ or a ‘show off’ for being confident growing up – with 30 per cent admitting this has affected their self-esteem later on in life.
Nicola said of the survey: ‘Female strength is something to be celebrated and encouraged, not diminished by unfair labels by unfair labels to undermine their passion and drive. Women are too often called ‘bossy’, ‘feisty’ or ‘attention seeking’, now is the time to change the conversation and rewrite the vocabulary we use to empower women and not let others define us,’ she added.
In an inspirational video for the campaign, Nicola speaks to real women about the demeaning language they have experienced. In the clip, the women pop the balloons emblazoned with the derogatory words.
‘I chose “bossy”,’ says one woman featured in the clip. ‘What’s wrong with a woman really knowing what she wants, saying what she feels?’ Another says: ‘When people call me a “drama queen” I feel like you are devaluing my principles and they want me to adhere to what they are thinking. It’s a bit similar to being called “hormonal”.”
‘If there was one word one I could ban it would be “queen bee”,’ says another. ‘”Hysterical” makes me feel like I’m being irrational,’ she adds.
Emphasising the importance of positive language in the video, Nicole says: ‘These words can really undermine a person’s inner strength.’