Chick, chickenhead, and pigeon

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Nov 13 09:48:08 UTC 1999

What about "chickenhead" and "pigeon," the lastest
bird references to females?  I don't think today's
college women regard them as favorably as they do

Margaret Lee

--- Lynne Murphy <M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU> wrote:
> I think I may have said this before, but for me it
> seems that the
> reclamation of "chick" has something to do with its
> phonetic similarity
> to (and thus perhaps connotation of) "chica" (which
> I was using as an
> address term with friends before "girlfriend" was
> popularized) and
> perhaps also associations with "chic"  (remember
> "Chic" Jeans?  They
> pronounced the name like "chick", not "sheik".)
> I think it also helps that "chick" has such a snappy
> sound.  The word
> itself (ignoring the animal reference) is short and
> sharp, with those
> voiceless obstruents and short high vowel.  So,
> "chick" sounds better as
> a reclaimed power-laden label than something else
> (like bunny or kitty
> or baby) would.
> Of course, I look at college age women these days,
> and a lot of them
> look like they are trying to look like the animal
> chick--tiny (and in
> little girl clothes) and cute (tiny barrettes, tiny
> backpacks) and
> cuddly (always smiling).  What I wouldn't do for
> some nice goth students
> who I can relate to!
> Lynne, whose students now laugh heartily when she
> tries to call herself
> a "chick"
> --
> M. Lynne Murphy, Assistant Professor in Linguistics
> Department of English, Baylor University
> PO Box 97404, Waco, TX 76798 USA
> Phone:  254-710-6983     Fax:  254-710-3894

Margaret G. Lee, Associate Professor,English & Linguistics
Department of English
Hampton University
Hampton, VA 23668
Office: (757) 727-5437
Home: (757) 851-5773
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