AN 5.55, quite an odd sutta

Buddha’s time seems a little bit early for me, but not too much farther down the path, with the Dharmasastra, laws to protect women only covered married women in purdah and mendicants. The rest were “public women” and fair game.

What’s wrong with “woman”? Usually you don’t try to use different English words simply for the sake of distinguishing between Pali words do you?

A quick search would indicate that you never use “males” to indicate men. With good reason—it’s odd sounding.

Moreover, using the word “female” when referring to women is well known and widespread usage on the internet by incels and garden variety misogynists. It really does give the impression you are talking about animals not people.

In normal English, do we refer to women as “females”? Like, “Have you seen the female in the white coat?” Or “About five males and three females came to the talk.”? It’s just weird.


Question: Late to the conversation, realizing this will be bumped up… please forgive. This is a subject of investigation currently. I wrote on Mātugāmasutta SN37.1 many moons ago. Contrasted with Purisasutta SN37.2 there didn’t arise any sense of misogyny but rather parallels of appropriate behavior/ mate potential. Has the idea of women of child-bearing age been mentioned? In this sense itthi would be the general term and mātugāma, the more specific. It is these women that would be a temptation for a bhikkhu, not prepubescent girls and not women who have aged past menopause but women who can give off pheromones when ovulating and thereby stimulate testosterone production in all men, bhikkhus included?