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Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  681 ratings  ·  113 reviews
A brash, enlightening, and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us, written with humor and playfulness that challenges words and phrases and how we use them.

“I get so jazzed about the future of feminism knowing that Amanda Montell’s brilliance is rising up and about to explode worldwide.”—Jill Soloway

The word
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Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published May 28th 2019 by HarperAudio
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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KDV
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I could not put this down! Required reading. Or, at the very least, I thought this passage should be required: "There is a simple way we can be part of the shift toward a less judgmental linguistic future: instead of acting crotchety and pedantic toward new language trends, we can feel curious and fascinated by them. Whenever we get the urge to criticize women or anyone else ... for a certain dialect feature, we can remember to think like a linguist, reminding ourselves that systematic speech pa ...more
Vivian
Etmology and sociology of language bias, and thought provoking discussion points on changing it.

It's hot and my brain's not. 'Let me explain, no let me sum up.'

<<>> "After scanning the database (British National Corpus), Cameron found that when people use female as a noun, as opposed to woman, it's often in explicitly negative contexts."

Re: vocal fry
<<>> "To sum things up, over the first two decades of the twenty-first century, women began speaking wit
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Ari
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this spoke right my nerdy soul. I'm a sucker for any book that's going to tackle any subject (such as language, in this case) with a historical lens, a heavily humorous tone, and a healthy dose of deconstructing social norms. Could there have been more intersectionality in the points made? Of course. And, I was pleased and relieved to see how many voices / experiences that were brought to the forefront (read: this isn't all about straight, cis, white ladies and gents). I had a lot of fun re ...more
Maja Lisa
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
disclaimer: I am an anthropology major who did a focus in linguistics. This book is so up my alley that it isn't really an alley anymore, it's a highway. Or a field? I don't know, you get my metaphor.

OKAY FRIENDS everyone needs to pick this up an give it a whirl. Here are my top reasons why:

1. This book clearly and definitively supports an academic reason for the existence of my "suck my clit" cross stitch. Is it lewd? Yes. It is also a totally legit form of descriptive s
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Fatma
3.5 stars

montell's writing and audiobook narration are delightful.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
“Making a language feminist does not start with making the vowels, consonants, or even vocabulary feminist. It starts with transforming the ideologies of its speakers.”

Full review TK.
Nicole
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I need someone I know to read this so we can discuss!
It's beautifully and honestly written!
Angela
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
I listened to this book on Audible during a road trip, and it was so good, I bought a print copy when I got home. The connections Montell makes between language and culture are mind-blowing. I never realized how deeply rooted patriarchy and misogyny are in our very language, and I'm going to try to be as consciously aware of my own word choices from now on as I can possibly be.

This book shook my world view in amazing and unexpected ways, and I plan to read the print copy slowly so I can absorb
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Genevieve Taylor
Fun, shameless, and loaded with facts, Wordslut covers hundreds of years of linguistic history and today's cutting-edge research. It's all told through a feminist lens, with an eye to intersectional feminism and hope for the future. If you love words, feminism, or sociology, Wordslut is a must-read!
Rachel Wiegand
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW. WOW. WOW. Every single page I feel smarter and more empowered. I cannot say enough good things about this book!! I have learned so much about the influence and impact language has on our lives, especially as women. Each chapter presents a problem or linguistic phenomena, gives you a very digestible and well-researched overview of it, and then tells you how to be a wordy badass and smash the patriarchy through the language we use and the language around us. Montell has nailed the line betwee ...more
Amanda
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Open your mind with this amazing journey into language. So many times during this book I uttered the phrases "Oh my god," and "YES" and "dammmmmn." In this delicious and addictive read, Amanda Montell hilariously articulates how language has impacted and can influence our attitudes toward gender and sex. This book gave me the tools to verbalize what I always felt was wrong with the way people spoke to me. In the past, I'd often feel stumped when trying to explain why a comment was "sexist"... Af ...more
Katie
How often do we really think about language, specifically the language we ourselves use? Thankfully there’s entire fields of scientists studying just that – tracking how language develops and how we use it. Building from her own degree in Linguistics and her interest in feminism and inclusive language Montell gives us 10 chapters exploring how we got to the language we have and suggestions for ways to reclaim certain phrases, find more inclusive alternatives, and generally being comfortable with ...more
Nicole
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly enjoyed reading this book (any book that has sassy footnotes is amazing in book). The author clearly states her case and, in most of the book, has well-researched evidence to back up her point. Montell covers a wide-variety of topics in the book, and she is very current with her evidence. As a word nerd, learning the etymology behind words was fascinating and seeing the evolution of language over time gave me a who
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Crystal Zavala
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tlcbooktours, audio
I loved this book so much. I listened to it on audio and Amanda Montell did a fantastic job narrating. The audio gives the book so much more because when Amanda was talking about the tone or inflection of words, you could really hear it. I have heard of vocal fry, but didn't really know what it was. Now I do!

Amanda covers so many topics in regards to language, including: history of slang and swears, mansplaining, interrupting, girl talk, LGBTQ+ language, nature vs. nurture, etc.
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Jennifer Brady
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and informative

I really enjoyed this book though it did take me quite a long time to read. I couldn't just read it straight through because I wanted to think about the things being said rather than just plow through it.
Therese
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amanda Montell has written a highly informative and entertaining book about language. So many things that I didn’t know about words that have enlightened me on the strength of language and the power language. I had no idea that a word I’ve been using to describe someone as fantastic and fabulous “fantabulous” comes from Polari that originated from as early as the 1500s from queer communities. The exhilaration of reading a book to entertain and inform. I borrowed the book from the library and I d ...more
C.E. Murray
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was sheathing amazing. The English language has been mostly constructed by cis-het-white-males to serve cis-het-white-males, and this book shows how we can change that.
If you are a language nerd (like me) and want to dismantle the patriarchy (also like me), then this is the book for you. If you saw "feminism" as the third word and were immediately repulsed, this book is also for you but you're not going to read it.
NB: I'm a queer brown cismale, but you don't have to be any categ
...more
Angie Dahl
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Linguistics is usually not considered an interesting subject by the masses, but if you’re a word nerd, you’re going to love this book. It’s utterly fascinating how our language influences our thoughts towards women, and the author even tracks language trends throughout English’s history. Even the impact on the LGBTQ community is explored in the book, along with some ways to deal with catcalling. Everyone needs to read this.
Racheli Peltier
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wordslut is going to revolutionize the way we use language. I’m learning so much about where words came from and how they evolved into slang and what we can do now to take the English language and use it to be mindful and conscious about how and why we say things. I feel so empowered with every word Amanda has written. This book is super informative yet extremely personal and entertaining. Amanda has quite the zing- the footnotes are worth the buy... I promise!
Salina
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enlightening, entertaining, and overall empowering. This highly informative book outlines how the way we speak reveals so much about our own personal world views and the surrounding culture that we live in, in a way that is engaging and approachable. If you are at all interested in linguistics or feminism, put this on your reading list.
Amy Barnett
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Amanda Montell! This book inspired me and changed my perspective on so many of the conversations I have every day. I have never recommend a book to so many people and I can’t wait for everyone I know to read it. I’ve told my friends, parents, coworkers, and anyone else who will listen! It’s truly difficult to write this review without sounding trite, but meh - I talk how I talk.
Sarah
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amanda really perfects her blend of humor, intellect, and insight while somehow also remaining completely down-to-earth and unpretentious with her feminism and explanations of how humans use language. The whole thing read like a warm, interesting, fun conversation with a close friend. If any of the above sounds appealing, I recommend this book to you.
Tanya French
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book blew my mind, putting language and feminism together in a way I never expected. honest to goodness made me laugh out loud and say 'what the hell?!?' Within a few paragraphs. The author does a wonderful job on the audiobook, engaging listen.
Greg
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-library
This is a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone. I look forward to trying Montell’s approach to challenging many of the problematic examples cited when I hear them.
Bruin Mccon
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wordslut is a non-fiction reference guide for linguistic badassery.

The author had me by the time she told the story of correcting a woman on the subway who tried to break her of using “y’all” but I became a fan girl when she mentioned the Call Your Girlfriend podcast.

The section on street harassment and confronting the men, or, specifically why it’s hopeless and soul-sucking, will have you tearing out your hair. Yet, the chapter on cursing, which is fucking awesome, is more positive though there are
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Kersten Haile
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible read! It inspired me to take a hard look at how I use language, and how I might adjust my usage to empower myself and those around me to own their power, driving us towards the change we all (or at least most of us) are craving. Adore! Read it immediately!!
Abby
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
This book is a fascinating insight into how gender, history, cultural norms, and sociology all play a part into the words that we use in written and verbal communication.

This book is funny, snarky, and full of facts that will make you think about society norms, grammar, and the use of your words. It explains the origins of many slang words and it's eye opening. It reminds me to choose my words carefully. The most entertaining things about this book are the chapter names and the footn
...more
Angie Lee
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this authors writing style and her concise arguments as to why and how language can be used
Melissa
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-review
An interesting overview of the English language and the ways that words have shifted meaning over time to become more or less genered, patririarchal, racist, bigoted, etc. There's a really great chapter on uptalk and vocal fry and one on whether there is a "gay voice". Lots of sources cited on the page.
Gabrielle
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I think I fell in love with this book. It was a great read. It was well written, and told in such a way that I didn't realize how much I read in a sitting. Personally, I related to so much of the book. From the code switching, using y'all in everyday, and so much more. I also am now making a point to not use words that are gendered.

This book was great. You should read it.
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Amanda Montell is a writer and reporter from Baltimore, Maryland, 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. She graduated from New York University with a degree in linguistics and lives in Los Angeles. Find her on Instagram @amanda_montell.
“We're also living in a time when we find respected media outlets and public figures circulating criticism of women's voices--like that they speak with too much vocal fry, overuse the words like and literally, and apologize in excess. They brand judgments like these as pseudofeminist advice aimed at helping women talk with 'more authority' so they can be 'taken more seriously.' What they don't seem to realize is that they're actually keeping women in a constant state of self-questioning--keeping them quiet--for no objectively logical reason other than that they don't sound like middle-aged white men.” 0 likes
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