Amanda Montell, reporter and feminist linguist, deconstructs language--from insults, 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. She’s here to speak about her book, Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language (Harper).
“In her first book, Montell (features editor, Byrdie.com; host, "The Dirty Word" web series) blends academic study with pop-culture attitude to examine language usage, stereotypes inherent in our current speech, and how to apply language in ways that normalize and empower women outside the confines of patriarchal standards. Chapters such as "'Cackling' Clinton and 'Sexy' Scarjo: The Struggle of Being a Woman in Public" are especially timely in the context of the 2020 election and notable increase in women running for public office. Montell further delves into topics such as how to handle catcalling, beliefs about women and cursing, and what it means to "sound gay." At its heart, this work reflects a tenet of sociolinguistic study: language is not divorced from culture; it both reflects and creates beliefs about identity and power. Modern stylings situated within foundational research will hopefully bring a new audience to the field of language and gender studies.” - Library Journal.