Department or Program



This thesis explores the structure, function, and implications of gendered slurs as a kind of metaphor, and how these kinds of metaphor constitute instances of epistemic injustice, specifically hermeneutical injustice. In setting a foundation for this argument, a background on the pervasiveness of metaphor and prevalence of linguistic sexism in everyday discourse will be provided. An analysis of the nature of metaphorical meaning will introduce different perspectives, where I argue according to the view of Max Black, that the function of metaphors integrates the salient qualities of one thing with another. Discussions on the structural and cognitive analyses of metaphor and gendered slurs, drawn from Katya Plemenitaš which will reveal important similarities between the two, and help to bolster my claim that gendered slurs are a kind of metaphor. These points of comparison will thus reflect important epistemological impacts of gendered slurs and will help to defend a novel way of understanding the nature of a gendered slur’s offensiveness, that can serve as a more expansive mechanism in accounting for its offense across contexts. Finally, I will discuss the argument that the use of gendered slurs constitutes cases of hermeneutical injustice and will encourage discourse on ways to effectively address these injustices.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Ashwell, Lauren

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.