Sunday, April 20, 2014


Language itself frequently displays our ideas about gender and the value we ascribe to certain practices or objects. I feel like the trend to masculinize words to allow men to better "own" them is an absurd practice but one that doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. 

Some of the portmaneteau's I can remember here are:
- manbag, or "murse" to describe any kind of satchel or bag that a guy happens to carry. It's apparently very important to make sure people know it is NOT a purse, but is in fact a man purse (hence "murse") or manbag (a play on handbag).

- Manorexia - male anorexia - is one that I find particularly bothersome. The disorder is not distinct or that much different just because a man happens to experience it. In fact, I feel that buy giving it a certain term when men experience it, there is a furthering of the idea that Anorexia is innately a female disease when it clearly is not.

- "Murse", though sometimes used to refer to a man purse, is also a term for male nurses. I guess the term nurse in itself is too innately feminine to be used for men, and saying male nurse is highly difficult. 

- "Brony" - a portmanteau of bro and pony, to describe male fans of My Little Pony. The Brony trend in its entirety is actually very interesting, but in particular because it is a movement of men who gather around what has always traditionally been a show for young girls.

Other terms I've heard pop up on several occasions:
- bromance - to describe two men who have a close / loving friendship. This term could pretty much only exist in response to an anxious masculinity that needs to label a certain degree of friendship between men as exceptional, and sometimes worthy of derision.
- mancrush - similar to bromance, though this is sometimes used to describe situations in which men really admire or appreciate one man in particular, in a way that is either perceived as slightly erotic / romantic in its intensity, or is in fact erotic and a byproduct of homosexual attraction.

Can you think of any other portmanteau's that have been created to describe men and masculinity?

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