Sex sells, we are constantly reminded by billboards, newspaper articles, television programs – but which sex sells? Ours, of course. However, not only women’s sexuality has made it onto billboards or indeed into language, ‘man’ has equally claimed a sexual place. But while women are confined to be promiscuous, objectified, sexy, his sexuate body only signifies one thing: authority. What a seminal idea!
Let’s take the word ‘seminal’ itself for a start. While we might now use it in the context of “strongly influencing later developments”, its linguistic, and conceptual, origin goes right back to the physical specificity of ‘man’: “relating to or denoting semen” (OD 2012). So where does this leave ‘woman’? Incapable of ‘producing’ seminal ideas, it seems. Further, is ‘woman’ able to ‘penetrate’ a concept or feel entirely ‘impotent’ at the mere thought of it? Will she have the ‘balls’ to take both (linguistic) ‘penetration’ and ‘impotence’ like a ‘man’? And as she physically cannot, will she simply cry about it ‘like a woman’? You get the ‘thrust’ of my argument.
In short, the male body, or male sexuate body to be precise, has also come to be equated with linguistic strength and virility, while the female, well, you guessed it. But I am no longer taking this ‘lying down’! And while I am proud of my ovaries, I won’t rely on them to provide me with (all my) inspiration. ‘Man’ might have liked to do his thinking with his body, I for one, would much rather trust my mind.