Pop-Culture | Posted by Celeste D on 10/24/2012

On Cougars, Catfights and Cows

Fox, cow, bitch, vixen, cougar, whale, chick. What do these terms have in common? They refer to animals. Anything else? They also refer to women.

As someone who learned to speak English as a second language and was not surrounded by these colloquialisms at an early age, I remember being puzzled when I first heard a woman called a “cougar” or “fox.” I remember finding the terms “cow” and “whale” particularly jarring and harsh, though the person who uttered them didn’t give it a second thought.

Admittedly, all human beings are sometimes associated with animals. Someone who eats quickly “wolfs down” their food, someone who is bossy “barks orders,” and someone who is dangerous is “animal.” (Not to mention the animal metaphors referring to sex or the organs associated with …

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