I’m in full agreement. Let’s get rid of ‘ette’ altogether. Urg!

language: a feminist guide

Boy: hey dude!
Girl: I’m not a dude, I’m a girl.
Boy: OK, dudETTE!

The feminine suffix –ette is alive and well in the 21st century. It has several entries on Urban Dictionary (I’ve quoted one of them above), and I keep stumbling across it in unexpected places. Like the online magazine Gadgette,  ‘the smart woman’s guide to tech, style and life’. (‘Have you ever been talked down to about tech?’ the editors ask. ‘Offered the pink version of a laptop, or asked to flash your breasts to try a new smartwatch? We have’.) Or Stemettes, an organization dedicated to ‘showing the next generation that girls do Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths too’.

These are both feminist enterprises (though only Gadgette actually uses the f-word), and both deserve credit for tackling the problem of sexism in science and technology. But what are they doing with these twee, girly…

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2 thoughts on “Ette-ymology

  1. Hi Lynn, I didn’t know the background of the word suffragette, how it was meant to follow the many other –ette words in belittling women. My favourite part of the article is where the author explains how language use is an analogy of people’s mentality, by suggesting men are the default form for the human species. I remember from school lessons that science has found out that the contrary is true.

    Although I do connect some words like huntress, actress or enchantress only with women who are independent and who are good at what they do, it is definitely true that any form implying that women are a special case or afterthought are out of question and should disappear. Don’t they do that, I mean, many of these words sound extremely old-fashioned to me.
    Thank you for the food for thought.



    Liked by 1 person

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