Isn't it time for some positive, powerful words to describe women we admire?
News stories are filled with emotionally-riled reactions to a single, vituperative word used publicly. In our world of 140 character abbreviated messages, it would seem that single words should become even more valued communication tools.
Let’s start with the basics. Woman, lady, female, girlfriend, babe, diva, gal, matron, chick, broad, madam, sweetheart.
Terms can become weak and inaccurate with overuse and the mixed and muddled messages they’ve been employed to convey for decades.
Isn’t it time we start using some fantastic words that capture the essence of the powerful women we know and admire?
Here are some of my favorites with examples.
A female victor; a woman who is victorious
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of dragons, is a strong, confident ruler and leader of armies.
A woman who is the most experienced, respected or prominent person in a particular field
Helen Thomas, a pioneering journalist whose decades long career, spanning ten presidents, was described as the doyenne of the White House press corp before she was ousted at age 92.
An Irish term of endearment meaning “my darling” or “my love”
Who doesn’t want to be loved and cherished by our sweetheart?
A woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities; a female warrior
Back to Game of Thrones, Brienne of Tarth is skilled at combat and dreams of becoming a knight. She pledges her allegiance and protection to Lady Catelyn and later to Catelyn’s daughter Sansa.
An older widow, especially one of both wealth and dignity
Dame Maggie Smith embodies the essence of the word dowager as Violet Crawley, the Countess of Grantham in the TV series Downton Abbey.
A boisterous, brawling, harsh-tempered, overbearing woman who argues noisily to achieve or get what she wants
I’m tempted to name a few contemporary female political figures here. Perhaps a movie reference would be a safer choice! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes to mind.
This word possesses all the authority and dignity of any female ruler. This refined word could be useful as more women step into leadership roles and come into their power.
A woman excelling in both beauty and goodness
Although this word is all but obsolete, it should be revived. Meghan Markle just might be a bellibone given her beauty and devotion to charity work around the world.
An educated, intellectual woman who is interested in books and ideas
I have to give two examples here.
Gertrude Himmelfarb, an American scholar drawn to examining the roots of social progress and decay, is best known for her sympathetic portrayals of Victorian society, dealing with similar social problems to those faced today.
Margaret Atwood, an iconic Canadian feminist novelist, expresses both the “goddess” and “activist” modes of the mid-twentieth century movement, via a confrontational style that gained converts by avoiding both violence and eccentricity.
A woman who enjoys or seeks adventure; a female adventurer
In the novel by Graham Greene, Travels With My Aunt, Aunt Augusta drags Henry Pulling out of suburbia and on to the Orient Express to Paris, Istanbul and South America; and showing him, on the way, just how much fun aunts can have.