Posted by ESC on April 23, 2001
In Reply to: Re: "No Balls" posted by Barney on April 23, 2001
: : : : : : Can anyone shed any light on the phrase "
: : : : : Your understanding is correct--"a lack of courage".
: : : : : Just a guess but I think the origin is quite sexist.
: : : : : In the US women are discriminated against in jobs, pay and status. They are second class citizens to males.
: : : : : The phrase is a reference to a woman's lack of a scrotum and, therefore, her lack of status since she does not have the ability to produce testosterone, that manly of all manly body chemicals.
: : : : We can fix this. How about -- "You don't have the ovaries to do that." Or, if someone is cowardly, call him or her "t*tless." What do you think?
: : : I think the metaphor arose from a comparison between men and little boys, not between men and women, and is based on external anatomy, not on endocrine physiology. This belief is totally intuitive. I have no evidence to back it up.
: : I agree with R.Berg. It's rarely used towards woman. It is usually used towards men to demasculate them.
: I suspect that it is as stated: 'No Balls" equals implied absence of testicles together with the testosterone which powers male recklessness, courage and aggression.
From the "Gumption, Spunk, Grit, Sand, Guts, Balls" chapter of "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976): ".balls, which has meant testicles since the 1880s and manly courage since about 1935."