General Question

Shuichi's avatar

What in the world does it mean to be an "amazon"?

Asked by Shuichi (316points) June 13th, 2010

I don’t understand, like i’ve seen some guys say “You’re going out with that amazon?” or “she moves like an amazon”.. is that slang for something a girl represents? SO CONFUSED!!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s an answer for you.

ragingloli's avatar

an amazon is a female warrior

earthduzt's avatar

Wonder Woman is an amazon

Trillian's avatar

@earthduzt and yet she seemed to have both breasts….

Jeruba's avatar

The Wikipedia article I cited points out that the ancient Greek images also show women with both breasts:

Among Classical Greeks, amazon was given a popular etymology as from a-mazos, “without breast”, connected with an etiological tradition that Amazons had their right breast cut off or burnt out, so they would be able to use a bow more freely and throw spears without the physical limitation and obstruction; there is no indication of such a practice in works of art, in which the Amazons are always represented with both breasts, although the right is frequently covered.

tadpole's avatar

aren’t amazons from some long lost mythical female tribe set somewhere in south america and the rainforests, known for their huge and statuesque physiques, their matriarchal society, which i think didn’t even include men at all, and their beauty, independence, and inner strength, and superiority over and lack of reliance on men…

MissAnthrope's avatar

There’s at least two meanings that I know of. One has been mentioned, the Amazon warrior of legend. The second is in reference to a woman’s physicality, such as being tall, broader than average, strong, that sort of thing. I personally dated a woman once who I refer to as an Amazon because she was so large in proportion (not related to weight, but in reference to her being tall, broad, and strong).

JLeslie's avatar

I use Amazon to mean a very tall woman who appears strong, solid, but still feminine. When I talk about the upper midwest, I sometimes say that many of the women are amazons (I think I recentl used the term on fluther when I described myself when I am with a bunch of much shorter women) I think they come from viking stock or something up there? I say that kind of tongue and cheek. It is not a negative term to me.


A mythical female warrior with masculine attributes.

tadpole's avatar

used in a modern sense yes it is about women who have strapping and statuesque physiques, maybe said slightly tongue in cheek…flowing long hair too? a nice tan?

anartist's avatar

One-titted and good at archery.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m familiar with the classical origins of the term, but isn’t there also a racial subtext to the word amazon? I’m thinking of the mysterious/exotic dark-skinned woman stereotype. I was under the impression (perhaps erroneously) that the use of amazon to describe a woman was considered derogatory, similar to using the term “oriental” to refer to Asians.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@JLeslie – Interesting you say that about the upper midwest, as that is where my Amazonian ex is from. I hadn’t realized it was a ‘thing’.

@gorillapaws – I don’t think it’s usually intended in a derogatory manner. I know I don’t use the term that way at all and I think many people, especially women, have a kind of romantic admiration toward the Amazons of legend. Guys perhaps might be somewhat threatened by a woman who is tall and strapping, as men generally seem to prefer women who are shorter and physically weaker than them.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t think of it that way at all. The Amazon women I refer to are generally blond and Nordic looking. Like I said Viking’s come to mind. look down towards the bottom of the page where they talk about settlements in North America. Think Minnesota Vikings football team.

I have never heard people in the US really talk about people who live in the Amazon or by the Amazon river as Amazons. I don’t think the term is ever used that way?

downtide's avatar

I would think in this context it refers to a woman being tall, broad, muscular and not particularly feminine. Unlike Wonder Woman :-D

gorillapaws's avatar

@MissAnthrope @JLeslie it seems as though I’m probably wrong about this. I’ve studied a bit about African-American and Caribbean literature, so I’m familiar with the archetypal image of the “powerful dark woman” that is often portrayed in literature (e.g. Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”). Also this archetype is carried into Slave folklore as the voodoo priestess, or the powerful matriarch.

I guess my signals must have gotten crossed somewhere, because I was under the impression that the term Amazon had been re-purposed to refer to this archetype. Thanks for sorting me out.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws It’s understandable. I think you were thinking more literally instead of how people commonly use the term. Both definitions might be right?? I think pop culture and Wonder Woman may have changed the word if it ever did imply what you are talking about.

tadpole's avatar

interesting how different people here have different definitions….i was sure the mythical amazons were from south america, hence the tan and probably blonde hair too..never heard of viking amazons…

i don’t think either definition, modern or mythical, is meant to be derogatory, by itself….it only becomes offensive when mis-used, probably by men, in a chauvinist or sexist manner..

JLeslie's avatar

@tadpole Not Viking Amazons. I am saying that I use the term Amazon for tall women, we joke that the women in the upper midwest are Amazons. I think they tend to be tall there because of their Viking descent. It could be that there are Germans and others, it’s just a generalization we throw around.

downtide's avatar

@tadpole historical Amazons weren’t from South America, they were from what is now the Ukraine, and surrounding areas. The Amazon river was named after them, not the other way round.

anartist's avatar

And I thought Amazons looked like Wonder Woman [Princess Diana] and her mother Queen Hyppolyte

josie's avatar

When guys say that, they are talking about a woman who has physical stature that you might more often associate with a male. Taller than usual, ripped or a little overweight, but certainly not skinny. Broad shoulders. Beard (just kidding). Stuff like that.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther