Is “Pussitude” a Bad Word?

I have to assume that newspaper editors long for the days before the internet, when human communication was much slower, and when they could simply publish whatever it was in their interest to publish.

As someone who knows a thing or two about American history I can tell you that throughout the nineteenth century newspapers in the United States were entirely partisan.  The Whigs had their newspapers and the Democrats had their newspapers and then the anti-slavery Republicans had their newspapers.

And everyone was singing to the choir.

Things are not so simple today.

I recently wrote a blog post at the Times of Israel entitled, The Pussitude of Progressive-Left Jewry, which apparently displeased some of the editors here.

My fundamental assertion is this:

Western-left Jews, who make up the majority of diaspora Jewry, are fairly worthless when it comes to standing up for the Jewish people in the Middle East.


This is a huge disappointment because the Jews of the Middle East represent a tiny historically persecuted minority and because their country, the State of Israel, is at once the most democratic and the most liberal throughout that part of the world, and yet it is also the most reviled.  The hatred pointed at Israel throughout the oppressive and brutal Arab-

Muslim world is genocidal to the extreme and, yet, in Europe and the United States progressive-left Jews are generally weak, worthless, and equivocating in their defense of Israel or heap scorn upon it…

That is my essential point and I very definitely stand buy it.

I received an email today, however, from TOI Ops & Blogs Editor, Miriam Herschlag, that something was amiss.

She wrote:

offensive title


Mike, I’ve changed the title of today’s post. It was unacceptable.



Miriam’s obvious implication is that the word “pussitude” is sexist and therefore unacceptable.

I understand that, but I am not sure that I respect it.  Let me explain to you why, if you will give me a fair hearing.

A term like “pussitude” is thought of as sexist.  It is offensive to feminists, if not women, more generally, because it conflates weakness with womanhood.

Whatever else women might be, however, they are certainly not weak.

Nonetheless, I have to wonder just why it is that we should honor feminist sensibilities when it is clear as day that the western feminist movement has entirely abandoned Jews and women and Gay people in the Middle East?

The foremost writer and analyst on this question is Phyllis Chesler who wrote The Death of Feminism.

I normally restrict my comments to the Long Arab War Against the Jews. It becomes difficult to do so, however, when western feminists refuse to stand up for universal human rights by refusing to stand for the rights of women in the Arab-Muslim world.  There was a time when feminists stood up against the Taliban in a manner that was reasonably prominent within western-left discourse, during the Clinton administration, but those days are done.

The real problem today is not my admittedly insensitive use of the made-up word “pussitude,” but the failure of western feminism to stand up for their own rights, and our rights, in that part of the world.

That is what counts.

If they refuse to do so, then I feel very little need to bow to their petty linguistic concerns.

Nonetheless, I do want to thank TOI editor, Miriam Herschlag, for giving me the opportunity to raise the question.


Mike Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at