A feminist guide to taking back the English language

Release Date
May 28, 2019
Amanda Montell
8h 23min
Audiobook, Feminism, Non-fiction, Language
What to expect
Academic but easy and funny
Who's it for?
This is chocolate for word nerds
Goodreads rating


-There is a simple way we can be part of the shift toward a less judgmental linguistic future: instead of acting crotchety and pedantic toward new language trends, we can feel curious and fascinated by them. Whenever we get the urge to criticize women or anyone else … for a certain dialect feature, we can remember to think like a linguist, reminding ourselves that systematic speech patterns are almost never mindless or stupid. Believing that only reinforces a screwed-up linguistic standard.

— Amanda Montell, Wordslut


Bold, brash, unapologetic. Laden with words that have been contorted through time to prevent women gaining equality.



Laurence Bouvard reads the Australian version with aplomb. The humour is rife throughout, the tricky linguistic gymnastics land and I felt like I was in a conversation, not a lecture.



Montell packs a punch with her informative yet approachable writing. No barbs are held back, no apologies are given. This is feminist academia for the modern person.



For centuries, language has morphed, splintered and gone a long way in holding women back from gaining equality.

Montell deconstructs language with research from history books through to pop culture, to reveal its power and poison.

You’ll read about gendered insults, cursing, alternate names for genitalia and how women and men can can embrace language to reshape gender narratives.



w o w … easily one of my fave books of the year. I believe everyone should read this — friends, family, colleagues and cat-callers.

Reading this book made me equal parts mad and uplifted. Above all, it made me better informed. This is the kind of book that does not go quietly into the night. It is loud, proud and unrelenting, although rarely accusatory. Linguistics, to paraphrase Montell, isn’t about correcting but observing how language changes through time.

Montell’s writing makes the subject matter feel like everyday conversation and makes me feel like I can have a personal effect on how language is shaped in my own world.

I recommend this book with a thousand yassss’s. (If you know, you know.)


“We’re also living in a time when we find respected media outlets and public figures circulating criticism of women’s voices—like that they speak with too much vocal fry, overuse the words like and literally, and apologize in excess. They brand judgments like these as pseudofeminist advice aimed at helping women talk with ‘more authority’ so they can be ‘taken more seriously.’ What they don’t seem to realize is that they’re actually keeping women in a constant state of self-questioning—keeping them quiet—for no objectively logical reason other than that they don’t sound like middle-aged white men.”

— Wordslut, Amanda Montell




What to expect
Chocolate for word nerds⠀
An empowering, patriarchy-smashing, mind-blowing read
Academic info presented in witty, easy writing
If you liked
‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez
‘Fixed It’ by Jane Gilmore
‘Because Internet’ by Gretchen McCulloch
A colourful, curated blend of books, wine and creativity, with a soft spot for Australian work and female-centric narratives.

Fable and Fizz would like to acknowledge the Whadjuck Noongar people as the traditional owners and continual custodians on the lands and waters this content is primarily written on. I pay respects to their Elders — past and present. This always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.
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