I considered checking the collocations for boobs and tits in my post yesterday, but I thought that would be unnecessary padding. However, the topic has come up in the comments, so I can’t resist checking to see what words occur most often near the words in question. Continue reading
When you don’t call breasts breasts, are you more likely to call them boobs or tits?
Let’s take it as a given that you are more likely to talk of them at all if you are a male novelist. That’s intuitively obvious (at least to me, and to many others) and has lately been much remarked on. To the annoyance of many women, breasts are sexualized in the male gaze in our society (but by no means in all societies; some find the idea frankly silly). So men, and notably horndog novelists, are apt to talk about them. But…
…here’s the thing. When women talk about how tiresome this is, I have been struck by how often they use the word boobs.
I’m not going to say guys never use the word boobs, because that’s not true, but my experience is that if you see the word boobs, it’s probably written by a woman. Guys talk about tits, hooters, jugs, cleavage, a nice rack, and, of course, breasts, but my impression has long been that boobs is a word that skews strongly to female authors (let’s be scientific and call this hypothesis 1), while tits, on the other hand, is a word male authors are more likely to use (hypothesis 2).
So I decided to check this out with a little corpus research. Continue reading