Why Don’t Men Get Called Diva?

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Apparently the rare usage of the word diva as applied to men shows how deeply patriarchal our society is, how demeaning to women and cont. pg 94. On the other hand it might just be that it actually is a gendered insult. That is, not one which shows the contempt or hatred for a certain gender, nor anything structural about our society, but instead just one where we have different words for the same behaviour dependent upon the gender of the one being insulted. Or perhaps accurately described:

It helps that the public has been “groomed” to accept the idea of celebrities as divas, mainly because so many of the spoiled twerps are. Who hasn’t heard of Carey insisting on kittens to pet backstage, or declaring that she doesn’t “do stairs”? The recent Netflix documentary on the Fyre festival debacle is a salutary lesson in what happens when ordinary, everyday Instagrammers “go diva”. However, “diva” isn’t always a women-only deal, even though, apart from some gay men, it’s generally famous females who get saddled with the demanding, high-maintenance “diva” label, which is then easily believed and hard to shake off. By contrast, it seems to take many years and incidents (sometimes real ugliness) before men get branded divas. Johnny Depp was firing the remains of the writer Hunter S Thompson from a cannon (estimated cost: $3m) before people started questioning his “lifestyle choices”.

Diva is simply the feminine of the word. The masculine being perhaps “complete d**khead”.

Whining that men don’t get called diva is as the complaint that women don’t get called cuck or bastard – that last in the vernacular being equivalent to bitch, not a comment upon the mode of production. Just one of those times when gender is actually important in the English language – something a writer might know rather than build a column upon. But then, you know, how could the Observer fill its opinion columns if we all insisted upon logic and knowledge?

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Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

It’s like complaining that women aren’t called Paul and men Pauline. Yes, dummy, it’s ‘cos English has gender-declined names.

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Men can be called a diva – but it implies behaving in an effeminate manner. Like most male insults, it can be used jocularly: “Don’t be such a diva, mate.”

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

We need to know why Barbara Ellen is getting hysterical about this 🙂