Times haven’t really changed, have they? Well yes, ‘times’ have changed. The world has evolved, but the thing is that it’s still really a man’s world, isn’t it. We don’t like it. We don’t want to admit it. We want to wave the feminist flag of liberation and emancipation but we know we’re lying to ourselves. We women are not free.
A twitter person who pops up on my timeline describes himself as a ‘struggling womaniser’. Très amusant. Très charmant. Clearly anyone who describes himself thus struggles not a tot in the conquest arena. How elegantly self- depreciating. How alluringly century before last. How cute.
I asked some friends “Is there a pithy, roguish female equivalent to a ‘womanizer’? Or is it just ‘slut’.” I got various answers. Cougar, Shark, Hussy, Vamp, Hoe, Wonton-Spinster-Vamp, Sperminator – Ugh! Sperminator? Manizer? Unconvncing. None of them have charm because that is not supposed to be our role. We’re the hunted, not the hunter. We get ized. We don’t do the izing. Manizer isn’t cute.
Cougar is the only one that, perhaps, has some charm. Cougar is roguish and sexy. Cougar suggests you’re over fifty with a rock hard worked out body, a postpubescent dress sense and the sexual appetite of a cat on heat. Cougar suggests seductress. It suggests the predator hunting down younger men who rarely, if ever, resist and using them to assuage her unquenchable lust. Is that charming? Is it elegant? It’s certainly an achievement. The rest are, basically, insults.
‘Womanizer’ has puckish, playful, charm. One can proudly and with self-appreciating humour call oneself a womanizer. What is playful or entertaining about referring to oneself as a ‘hoe’? Where’s the alluring coital sophistication in a hussy?
I don’t know why I’m so arrested by this word “womanizer”, but I am, for a moment. I’m supposing that in the olden days it described a not very nice man. One who preyed on chaste, virtuous, praying women and sullied them. It brings to mind Signor Giacomo Casanova, that amorous gallant philanderer whose golden velvet tongue had eighteenth century Venetian undies dropping like acorns off an oak tree in autumn.
Libertine. What man calls himself that in this day and age? Libertine! One who is morally unrestrained. Casanova was considered to be one. In centuries gone by the morally unrestrained were to be avoided at all costs by women of substantial virtue. It was a word even men used about men of whom they disapproved. “You, sir, are a Libertine”, was censure in the extreme. Would this twitter bloke refer to himself as a struggling Libertine? No, I guess that would be like calling himself a hoe. Imagine a man who gets all that action not being considered ‘the man’ by other men. Maybe it was the century before the century before last. The Libertine was without shame or conscience. Did I say ‘was’? I should say ‘is’. After all, a rose by any other name…… – Player?
“Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion. It is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don’t. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats”. ( from The Libertine, by Stephen Jeffreys)
Is what’s true for the Libertine also true for the womanizer? Is it true of the Cougar? And what about the woman who is too young to be called a Cougar? Is she a cub? No, that’s too gender unspecific and not very sexy. Kitten, then? I hate that. It’s too pink fluffy high-heeled slippers. But then, why are women being shoved into animal equivalency. A womanizer is a human. Why are women cats?
So I’m rejecting “Cougar” because it’s not human. I’m rejecting all the insulting ones, because they’re insulting. I’m rejecting ‘sperminator’, because that has to be a man. It can’t be a woman. I’m rejecting ‘manizer’ because it doesn’t make any poetic sense to me. What’s left?
Is it not a threat to the definition of female sexuality that the English language accommodates the predatory sexual nature of the male of the species in noun form ‘Womanizer’, but doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility of the same nature in women? Are women who hunt men, then, freaks of nature? Is the feminine nature meant to be about sensibilities, vapours and sighs?
But didn’t the female eunuch die a long time ago? Didn’t it give way to female sexual freedom? Wasn’t it crushed by women’s sexual power, creativity and confidence? It was. So, we need an equivalent word, and one that describes a human. Women also deserve their izer nature acknowledged in pithy roguish parlance.