Gendered verbs charted over 100,000 stories

Originally published at:

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Clearly the ladies need to step up their game in the murder and kidnapping department. Kidnapping should be much easier, as people don’t expect them to be kidnappers.

Meanwhile, I think us guys could work on the stabbing and kissing to start off with. Maybe not at the same time.


Men= murder, kill, kidnap. Women=thanks, forgives, kisses.

Come on, men. Didn’t you guys watch Mr. Rogers when you were kids?


interesting how we think of things like rejecting, resisting, crying, and forgiving as “passive”, and things like ownership as “active” - without gender expectations, forgiving would be just as much an action as defeating. passive and active are themselves gendered terms that determine value according to a “male” standard.
I don’t mean this as a criticism of the chart of course, it’s just an observation and a way of thinking of things

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I heard someone take “The Hobbit” and switch Bilbo from male to female. I wonder if many books without gender specific activities could do the same. (Lucy saves Prince Lee from Dora Vader?)

This has been done with (at least) hundreds of books, including the entire oeuvre of Henry Kuttner. I stumble across that sort of thing on the literary web all the time.

Well that settles it. Stories are a tool of the patriarchy, and they must be eliminated. No more stories!

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Hamlet: one act version.

Listen to your ghost dad, and stab uncle Claudius first thing the next morning. This leaves plenty of time for kissing Ophelia, which she will probably like much better than if you just stood there and shit your pants.

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Ha! Haha! When I was a kid, Fred was still in Canada (and even after he moved to Philly, we didn’t get a PBS station until I was 15). My early moral media compass was set by Captain Kangaroo. (Along with my impeccable fashion sense)

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instructs = mansplains

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I see “thinks” hasn’t ade the list.

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Verbs that stick out in my mind are “rescues” and “saves”.
My perception is that historically, the matter is less about the woman’s well-being and more about retrieval of property.

Interesting data, but I’m not sure about the analysis.

The article airily dismissed the fact that their sample was drawn from literature from all time periods.

This immediately stops us from answering the more interesting question- how have these things changed over time? Which words are becoming more male or female, and is the variance changing?

All the data can tell us now is that in the past, English speaking societies had strong gender roles. Well, I think we knew that already.

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