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A lady-centric political dictionary for men

Lady-centric terminology: A lexicon for men in politics.

sweetheart [sweet-hart]


1. A woman, probably younger than you, who insists on asking you unpleasant questions in the capacity of her job.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, I’d love to give you an answer, but my aide here is telling me I need to duck into this automobile.”

perky [pur-kee]


1. Shorter than you

2. Energetic, in that adorably lighthearted way that women always are.

“She looked so perky when she recommended changes in the laws regarding debt collection and predatory loans.”

unbecoming [uhn-bi-kuhm-ing]


1. Prone to discussing vulgar subjects, such as ladies’ private parts.


2. Frequently choosing the wrong time to criticize a man, such as when he is trying very hard to restrain himself from yelling at a woman on camera.

shrill [shril]


1. Displaying an unpleasant tendency to raise objections to an opponent’s policies or practices.

2. Taken to speaking at a pitch that is unpleasantly high and woman-y.

“I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on my latest campaign finance scandal, but not if you’re going to be so shrill.”

binder [bahyn-der]


A detachable cover, with holes or rings — used to fasten papers about women you have heard about, through networks of professionals who keep their eyes peeled, at all times, for evidence of female competency.

controlling [kuhn-trohl-ing]


1. A woman who inexplicably would prefer that you to do something different from what you have been doing for all of this time.

2. Acting in her capacity as a wife

ice queen [ahys kween]


Displaying a suspicious lack of likelihood to cry or emote in public on a daily basis. [see: hysterical]

“She didn’t burst into tears over my hard-hitting press release. What an ice queen.”


hysterical [hi-ster-i-kuhl]


1. Likely to put the public in jeopardy via recurring crying jags and fits of sudden anger.

2. Steadfastly refusing to be stoic and robotic at all times. [see: shrill]

3. Tending to repeat the same complaints and slogans. Contrast with male politicians, who are not known for repetition.

ladylike [ley-dee-lahyk]


1. Sufficiently deferential in debates and public exchanges

2. Likely to dress in nice-looking shoes with heels. And not those chunky man-heels.

double standard [duhb-uh l stan-derd]


1. Complaint that women frequently make when they are held to contradictory models of behavior [see: ice queen, hysterical, controlling]

2. When a guy does one teeny-tiny centerfold spread, decades ago, and nobody will stop talking about it.

Joanna Weiss can be reached at weiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaWeiss.