Friday, August 6, 2010

Stud: Compliment or Insult?

Photo Source: Wikipedia entry on Stallions

A guest post from Jon

stud
noun

1 an establishment where horses or other domesticated animals are kept for breeding : [as adj. ] a stud farm | the horse was retired to stud.
• a collection of horses or other domesticated animals belonging to one person.
• (also stud horse) a stallion.
• informal a young man thought to be very active sexually or regarded as a good sexual partner.

2 (also stud poker) a form of poker in which the first card of a player's hand is dealt face down and the others face up, with betting after each round of the deal

Is there anything negative here? It sounds all pretty complimentary to me. I have always loved being called a stud! It meant I was a man. Like Clint Eastwood, Buzz Aldrin, or Buzz Lightyear–"to infinity, and beyond! Only last week did it really don on me what stud meant. This is how I connected it. Kjerstin called me a stud. I thought of a song called "Tennessee Stud" by acclaimed blue grass artist, Doc Watson. I thought about my sister Jenn and how she had talked about the breeding of horses and the part the studs play. And that was when I realized that I had been really called a highly sexually active breeding machine!!

Now,  Kjerstin didn't mean to call me me a highly sexual, active breeding machine. I am sure that like all other girls that have used this compliment to describe me, she was just trying to be nice and help me feel like a worthy part of the community. I was a stud. Strong, dependable, worth-while, and I guess unbreakable. But what is the female equivalent of a stud?

 Here comes WIKI!! The word mare, meaning "female horse," took several forms prior to A.D. 900. In Old English the form was mere or mȳre, the feminine forms for mearh (horse). The Old Germanform of the word was Mähre. Similarly, in Irish and Gaelic, the word was marc; in Welshmarch; and in Breton mar'h.  The word is "said to be of Gaulish origin." The word has no known cognates beyond Germanic and Celtic. Some derived terms are a mare's nest, an expression for "excitement over something which does not exist"; and nightmare, which began as a term meaning "an evil female spirit afflicting sleepers with a feeling of suffocation." 

However, "nightmare" may not be directly etymologically connected  with the word for female horse, but rather connected to homophones that meant "incubus" or "goblin."

So not exactly complimentary, but not really understandable anyway. Think about some of the names given to males and females. Ask yourself, which ones are positive and which on es are negative? Would it be ok if someone referred to me using this term? I am sure there are some that come straight to mind. I can't think of any woman appreciating the terms heifer, cow, sow, or a.... I guess if you called someone a Jenny they might not mind as long as that was their name. 

Why is it that it is so hard to find an equivalent to the word stud that is not degrading? And why is it right for men to be applauded in there sexuality while woman are only degraded? But on the other hand, why is it that men allow themselved to be defined by their sexuality? Is that a win or a loss for men? Does it mean we are better than women just because words of equivalent degradation have opposite connotations?

Here is an interesting list of the names used for male and female animals of the same species. 


Animal
Male
Female
Young
Jack
Jenny
Foal
Boar
Sow
Cub
Tom
Queen
Kitten
Bull
Cow
Calf
Rooster
Hen
Chick
Buck
Doe
Fawn
Dog
Bitch
Pup
Drake
Duck
Duckling
Bull
Cow
Calf
Dog
Vixen
Cub
Gander
Goose
Gosling
Stallion
Mare
Foal
Lion
Lioness
Cub
Buck
Doe
Bunny
Ram
Ewe
Lamb
Cob
Pen
Cygnet
Boar
Sow
Piglet
Tiger
Tigress
Cub
Bull
Cow
Calf
Dog
Bitch
Pup


Jon is a recent but enthusiastic member of the feminist world. For more of his work, go to Depthful Thoughts. 


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