What not to call a female character

During my Christmas stay at my brother’s place (and I think during one of my many mentions of my superheroine Holly Hansson), my niece gave me a list of names that I should never call a female character: spunky, feisty, fiery, and frisky. I got to thinking about how I have heard those words, those cliches, those stereotypes, used on movies and TV.

FEISTY: After the teen girl tells the teen guy that she is NOT interested, and she walks away, and the camera zooms in on her swaying butt, the teen guy says to his buds, “Ooo, she’s so FEISTY, I’m gonna HAVE her!”

FIERY: A white male will call a Latino female “fiery” at least once per episode or movie. More if the Latino lady is one of the lead characters in the movie, where (you guessed it) the male will say he is gonna HAVE her.

SPUNKY: Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show said best why that word should not be used. Lou (smiling friendly): “Say, you’ve got spunk!” Mary (smiling modestly): “Well, yeah.” Lou (gruffly): “I hate spunk!”

FRISKY: I have not heard this used in movies or TV, but I have no doubt it is there somewhere. I plead guilty to using it in my Fault Zone story. At the end of that story, Holly went a little bit fangirl on her boyfriend. It’s her Batman thing. I will watch that in the future.


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