Feisty is used to describe someone who is touchy or quarrelsome, generally of smaller stature. As seen with the word bitchy, feisty originates from the German word ‘fist’ which means a small, aggressive and lively dog. The word association of women and dogs is commonly used when providing gendered insults. It insinuates that a woman is unnecessarily aggressive, or it is used to dismiss their concerns as just being cranky. It is uncommon for a man to be called feisty and it is almost always used to describe a woman. Women in politics are often described as feisty and recently the Women’s Media Centre created a guide to improve the media coverage of female politicians. They included feisty as a word that should be avoided. The term has often been used against women of older age. The New York Times wrote an article “Goodbye Spry Codgers, So Long Feisty Crones” that reported on the International Longevity Center in New York and the Aging Services of California, and how they have put together a book to guide professionals on using political correct terms when identifying the elderly. Feisty was listed as one of the terms not to use, because it insinuates that a woman is senile.
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