The Chickenization of Women

by Anne Hart

Have you ever noticed how often women are referred to as poultry? Young women are brow-plucking chicks. Married women ruffle feathers. They egg men on at work and cluck kids off to school. Mothers watch their broods. Child-rearing ends with the empty-nest syndrome. Husbands at home are henpecked by their wives. Runaway wives have flown the coop, while stay-at-home husbands feel ‘fowl' cooped up...

The object of W.C. Fields' affection was "My little Chickadee." Married women feather their nests. She squawks her alimony is birdseed, but her ex calls her a vulture. "Wait ‘till that poulet digs her talons in your wallet," grooms are warned. "She'll watch you like a hawk." She scratches for a raise like a hen dancing on a turntable, going in circles to get visibility and recognition. Long experience makes her the sharp-beaked mother hen who trains younger males for her dream job.

In Arabic, a beautiful woman is a ‘fistoo,' a piece of chicken thigh. Women are elder biddies, old crows, or Ladybirds. "She's no spring chicken," say men about mature women. A sorority is called the "hen house." A woman alone is a sitting duck. Either her goose is cooked, or she gets goosed in a crowded elevator. An Amazon parrots the old boy's network.

When her husband uses anger to get power, she walks on egg shells. To be feminine is to be chicken. Is it any coincidence that so many women's wages are chickenfeed?


Originally written in 1979 by Anne Hart, writing under maiden name, Anne D'Arcy also appeared in the Mensa Bulletin, 1979, the San Diego Union-Tribune June 17, 1985 also appeared in Dear Abby in 1984. (copyright by Anne Hart)

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