Thursday, March 06, 2008

Coed

I don't know why this word drives me so crazy-- it is just a word. It is, however, a bit unusual to have a word the denotes only the female gender of a particular category. While we have waiter/waitress, actor/actress, steward/stewardess, etc., what exactly is the opposite of a "coed"? Furthermore, there are more women than men enrolled in college, rendering "coed" as something of an anachronism.

In today's usage, I really care less about the gender politics of language and more about the lurid qualities of the word "coed." It is STILL used in modern media. It seems like dirty old man-speak--- like something out of a 50s pulp novel. In keeping this blog semi-respectable, I spare you the NSFW* direct link, but if you want an eyeful, try a GIS** of "coed." I don't know how far down in the ranking you need to dig before you find one with her clothes on. I could see the word mildly having its place as more women entered academic institutions, yet it still seems unduly associated with crime blotters.

Seriously, who actually uses this word in casual conversation?

*NSFW= not suitable for work
**GIS= google image search

2 comments:

Lyndon. H. LaRouche, Jr. said...

Yes, it has gotten to be a pretty ridiculous word and seems to be most commonly used in a semi-lurid context, e.g., "When Billy went off to college he found himself surrounded by sprightly young coeds."

Becky said...

I noticed that a while back and wrote about it too. It's just an outdated term -- like spinster -- and I think media folks are lazy and use it because it fits easily into a headline. But, yeah, it needs to be retired.