Ladies, stop saying you have “Big Dick Energy”

The first time I heard someone say “Big Dick Energy” they were referring to Christine Baranski — I want to say it was a BuzzFeed article about Baranski and how she’s amazing in Mamma Mia and life in general.

First, we need to start with what “Big Dick Energy” is before I can tell you why it’s cringe-worthy.

According to my trusty friends at Urban Dictionary the definition of “Big Dick Energy” is, “that confidence you got knowing you got an enormous penis, but BDE isn’t exclusive to the well-endowed. Anyone can have big dick energy if he (or she!) exudes the BDE aura.”

I literally wanted to vomit reading this definition. Great that the definition is including women. You know me, all for the female empowerment but this statement is also incredibly demeaning.

Sorry ladies, if you’ve been saying you have Big Dick Energy then you’ve been selling yourself short.

Why are we using the penis as a power symbol ladies? Listen, fellas, if you want to talk about your BDE be my guest. You have a penis. You’re allowed to have confidence from having a big member.

Ladies, you don’t get to have confidence from having a big penis. You get something wonderfully unique to you. You have pussy power.

Photo by Joe Munn

Now, of course, I had to head on over to Urban Dictionary again to get you a definition but alas, even the term pussy power has been taken over by men on the site. The top definition for the term comes from a man and his version of the term is and I quote, “The vaginal control of a woman over a man AFTER he has hit it and not before. Because EVERY man is stupid before he starts fucking. Thus, any woman who can keep him stupid after he fucks possesses Power of the Pussy.” Gag.

Naturally, we scroll to the next definition, which should come as no shock to be written by a woman and had the actual definition. Pussy Power is meant to be shared the same way someone would say Black Power. It’s meant to be a united power source.

Ladies, in a time where women’s rights are under attack daily, it’s time to make your united front something that comes from you and not men. Let the men have their BDE, you can embrace your PP.

But this issue isn’t limited to just BDE, how often do we hear that someone “has balls?” All.the.time.

Now, I get the definition of the phrase. Y’all I have an English Degree so you’ll have to deal with my word definitions. I love them. To have balls is to have courage. But why?

Photo by Joe Munn

Some of my other favorite phrases include:

“Don’t be a pussy”

“Wearing the pants”

“Like a girl”

“Man up”

Here’s the big problem. The language is sexist and it does more harm than good. Now, it’s no one’s fault. Ladies, we adopted the sexism in the language and continue to allow it. Every single one of these phrases is common and damaging. According to Sociology Professor Sherryl Kleinman,

“All those “man” words — said many times a day by millions of people every day — cumulatively reinforce the message that men are the standard and that women should be subsumed by the male category.”

She goes on to say, “Most of us can see a link between calling women “sluts” and “whores” and men’s sexual violence against women. We need to recognize that making women linguistically a subset of man/men through terms like “mankind” and “guys” also makes women into objects. If we, as women, aren’t worthy of such true generics as “first-year,” “chair” or “you all,” then how can we expect to be paid a “man’s wage,” be respected as people rather than objects (sexual or otherwise) on the job and at home, be treated as equals rather than servers or caretakers of others, be considered responsible enough to make our own decisions about reproduction, define who and what we want as sexual beings?”

We speak the way we think and culturally, we are trained to see women as a subset of men.

It’s not just these personality trait phrases that are harmful. Let’s talk about the beauty phrases.

Author Timothy Beneke once asked, “Ever notice how the words we use to describe women’s beauty — bombshell, knockout, stunning, femme fatale — are words that connote violence and injury to men?”.

When we’re describing women using violent terms, it’s really easy to justify violence against women. It’s already there in your subconscious.

I know you’re probably thinking, “Ashley, it’s just a word.” I get it. Sticks and stones and all that jazz.

But words can have a profound impact. Wars have started over words and the miscommunication of those words.

Sharon Presley summed it up best for us.

Sexist language defines women by putting them “in their place.”
Sexist language is a way of perpetuating inequality between the sexes. It perpetuates images of dominance and submission, stereotypes of weak, trivialized, sexualized women and powerful men. It subtly reminds women of their place as the soft, submissive girl whose identity is defined by a man. It defines men as dominators. If we object to these stereotypes and want to work for a society of equals, where individuals are free to be judged as individuals, sexist language is one of the elements of society that must change too.

Language cannot change overnight. We won’t wake up tomorrow and suddenly all of these phrases will vanish. But what I am hoping is that you’ll be more cognizant of the words you use. Change starts with awareness.