SOCIAL SCIENCES

Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

Harper Wave. Jun. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780062868879. pap. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062868893. COMM
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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.
VERDICT For general audiences as well as new and seasoned writers seeking a culturally conscious guide to language.

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