5 ‘women-centric’ terms I’m obsessing over, right now

Do you know something exciting happening in Twitter right now? Women are describing themselves as the feminine gender is depicted by male authors.

It sparked off by YA author Gwen Katz and snowballed into something bigger, brilliant and funniest ‘thing’ I’ve read in months.



It triggered me to discuss words/idioms that popularly describe (read: demean) women who don’t conform to conformity.

1. Passé

Meaning: Outdated, gone-by etc.

However, do you know that passé used to denote a woman who is past her ‘sell-by’ date?

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Une femme a passé (1928) is a silent era French film.

I don’t know French but I’m assuming it’s indicating a woman beyond her prime. Hopefully passé is not pointing only to the ‘femme’ anymore.

2. Hag

Meaning: Old or middle-aged woman who is undeniably ugly as hell.

Do you ‘hag’ was originated during 1250-1300 in Middle English language? And it first used only for ‘witches’, ‘sorceress’ (the tribe men loathed, feared, burnt down and lust over since antiquity) etc.

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

I don’t know about films, but in my part of world (English-speaking, elite-one) hag is tossed around in conversations. I

have found it out in classic literature sometimes; hardly seen it in modern-day fiction.

3. Cow

Meaning: apart from specifying the bovine variety, cow is also used for fat women or who are perpetually pregnant.

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?


Film/literature? can’t remember.

Conversation? Yes.

Social Media? Check this question out.

Here’s another important point:

So, abusive language directed at women might encompass unladylike sexual behavior, such as whore, slut, skank, pussy, cunt, dyke, twat, etc. or might compare women to sub-human animals, such as bitch, chick, dog, cow, horse, pig, porker.

Source: https://daily.jstor.org/ (link: https://daily.jstor.org/the-language-of-nasty-women-and-other-gendered-insults/)


Now let’s discuss few idioms-

4. “Over the hill”

Meaning: Same meaning as archaic passé. This idiom is majorly targeted towards women old and unattractive (both in life/career).

Here, what Urban Dictionary has to say-

“Reaching the average mid-point in life, which is age 40. Therefore 40th birthdays are generally thought of as making it “over the hill”. You’ve gone up the hill for 40 years ⬆ (healthy, youthful appearance, etc.), now 40 more years down the hill ⬇ (decreasing health, loss of physical beauty, etc.)”


Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?

Ans: Don’t know.

5. “Mutton dressed as lamb”

Meaning: This is pretty self-explanatory. Old woman dressing/acting/pretending to be younger.

Do you know the term was referred in a gossip journal back in 1811?

Apparently, the then Prince of Wales was attending a musical party and someone asked him why he didn’t show any interest/dance/flirt with some ‘girl’. He retorted-

Girl! Girls are not to my taste. I don’t like lamb; but mutton dressed like lamb!

(Source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mutton%20Dressed%20as%20Lamb)

Is it widely used (in films, literature, day-to-day conversation, and social media)?


Film/literature? Hardly.

Conversation? Sometimes.

 Social Media? Check-out the comment section of popular fashion sites.

You might spot the term under the picture of a female celeb that is over 40 and wearing slogan-tee/crop-tops/super-short dresses/tiara etc.


If all these, made you, the mademoiselle, a little dejected, here’s come the sunny side. These tweets made me spill my precious masala chai out because of hyena laugh-



.. this


…and this


Do you have any other word/idiom to add in this list?


2 thoughts on “5 ‘women-centric’ terms I’m obsessing over, right now

  1. Isabelle Flynn says:

    Oh my god this made me HOWL with laughter! This was one of my fave things to happen recently on twitter. I love the word ‘Hag’ too, and ‘Crone. They both feel like a woman who has embraced age and ugliness and through it has become a terrifying, powerful force. Always here for the idea that women don’t stop being powerful if they stop being beautiful.

    • Jheelam says:

      Yes, ‘crone’ is another of my favorites. I like ‘harridan’ and ‘gorgon’ as well. As they say, “Bitches Get Stuff Done “. 😀

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