Favorite Word: Maneater

Maneater – noun

a dominant woman who has many sexual partners.

I hope no one thought I was referring to the other definition of maneater because I was definitely not referring to an animal who likes killing and eating humans. But that’s okay when I hear the word maneater, I think of that definition too. However, the definition that makes me love the word is the one listed above. When you first read the definition of the word, it sounds pretty misogynistic. It actually sounds misogynistic any way and every time you read it, but I prefer to think about the word in a different mindset.

My first experience of hearing the word maneater was because of the widely successful Hall & Oates song Maneater. I didn’t know what they meant by calling a woman a maneater, but I thought it sounded nice. The way they describe the woman they sing about makes her sound powerful. Someone you don’t want to mess with. I liked the idea of a man being alluded to by a woman, but she did not have any interest in him.

The word maneater was used as an insult toward women for being with many men, but not caring about them. It is an awful insult to give toward women, but more common than ever before we as a society have changed the meanings of words that were once considered negative and have embraced them. Forcing them out of their awful meanings. You can see this with women embracing other former known insults like b*tch and sl*t.

By embracing these words, we are changing and creating a whole new impression of those words that once held power over us. Accepting the nickname maneater shouldn’t be seen as a negative, it should be seen as a woman taking back the power that once controlled her. A woman who is referred to as a maneater is no longer an insult but more like a badge of honor. I see women who are considered maneaters to be strong, independent, resourceful, and intelligent for being able to see and do whatever or whoever they want.

Now I may be a hypocrite because a man who does this would be considered to be a player and nobody likes a player. And I’m not saying if I met a woman who was a maneater that I would like her, more likely the opposite. However, I would admire the confidence that she has to have in order to do some of the things she chooses to do. I think one of the reasons why I’m interested in the word is because when a man does the things a maneater does, it’s normal and typical. No one would bat an eye, but when I see a woman that has the courage to do the same I see it as bold and powerful. Because how dare a woman not only act like a man but outdo him at his own specialty (hopefully you got the sarcasm)?

Ending with the song that solidified my opinion about what a maneater is and how really badass they are. Nelly Furtado’s Maneater (also inspired by Hall & Oates song by the same name) is a classic and big reason why I love the word as much as I do. So it seems only fair I end the post with it.

My book Living Rent Free In My Head: Essays On Pop Culture comes out on August 2, 2022. Pre-order it now for only $3.15 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other vendors.


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