- June 20, 2019
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
The word bitch conjures many images but 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 many more terms, including hussy—which simply meant "housewife"—or slut, which meant "untidy" and was also used to describe men. These words are just a few among history's countless English slurs hurled at women.
Amanda Montell, feminist linguist and staff features editor at online beauty and health magazine Byrdie.com, deconstructs language—from insults and cursing to grammar and pronunciation patterns—to reveal the ways it has been used for centuries to keep women from gaining equality. In her latest book, Wordslut, she moves effortlessly between history and popular culture to get to the heart of our language, marvel at its elasticity, and shed much-needed light on the biases that shadow women in our culture and our consciousness.
Join author and organizer Kim Tran for a brash and enlightening conversation with Amanda about gendered language and the way it shapes us.
Amanda Montell is a writer and reporter from Baltimore whose writing has been featured in Marie Claire, TIME, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Woman's Day, The Rumpus, Byrdie.com, and WhoWhatWear, where she is the staff features editor. Amanda is the author of the nonfiction book Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language. Amanda graduated from NYU with a degree in linguistics. She lives in Los Angeles.
Kim Tran, PhD is an author, organizer, and facilitator interested in building diverse and sustainable coalitions. In 2008, she was an establishing member of the LGBTQIA+ YouthSpace in San Jose for a county of 2 million residents. In 2017, Kim was a core planner for the Hai Ba Trung Organizing School, a racial justice incubator. For over a decade, she has facilitated trans-inclusion and anti-Black racism trainings for a wide array of organizations including Stanford University, the Northern California Association of Nonprofits and the United States Consulate. Currently, Kim is a postdoctoral fellow in African American Studies at UC Berkeley where she is working on a book manuscript titled: The Death of Allyship: A New Era of Solidarity.