Monstrous regiment of women


      • discourage someone
        Advise against engaging in a particular activity or task, cautioning that it will not result in any positive outcome or benefit

      • criticize a group of women in power
        Express disapproval or opposition to a group of women who are in positions of authority or control

    Examples of Monstrous regiment of women

    • The all-female version of the classic play "Julius Caesar" has received mixed reviews, with some critics claiming it's a serious challenge to the traditional male-led reproductions of the play, while others call it a "monstrous regiment of women" intent on ousting men from the theatrical scene.

      This idiom is used to describe a group or situation where women have taken control, particularly in a traditionally male-dominated field, in a negative or extreme sense that is perceived as excessive or overwhelming. This expression is commonly used to criticize or derogate situations where women hold positions of power or influence, implying that it goes against the natural order or traditional gender roles. However, in contemporary times, the use of this idiom has evolved to reflect a more ironic or sarcastic tone, as seen in the example above where the all-female production is both praised and condemned by critics using this phrase.

    • After winning the gold medal in the women's 100-meter dash, some sports commentators accused the athletic committee of allowing a "monstrous regiment of women" to compete in the men's event, despite the fact that the rules explicitly forbid any such demotion or gender-switching.

      This idiom is used to satirize absurd or unfounded claims about women's achievements or successes, implying that they have crossed a line or violated the boundaries of what is deemed natural or acceptable for women. Here, the commentators' accusation is presented as absurd, with the speaker highlighting the obvious disconnect between the alleged "monstrous regiment of women" and the reality of the situation, which is governed by strict rules and fair play.

    • Following the revelation that the majority of the company's board of directors are women, a group of male shareholders called for an overhaul of the organization, accusing it of being a "monstrous regiment of women" that lacked the necessary business acumen and strategic expertise to lead the company forward.

      This idiom is frequently used to cast doubt on women's abilities to lead, manage or run an organization, suggesting that they are not qualified or experienced enough to handle the job. The phrase implies that women's leadership is unusual, strange or illegitimate, and invites criticism and negative sentiment. However, the context here is more complex, as the male shareholders' demands to replace the female board members with men is presented as a reactionary and misogynistic move, prompting questions about the real motives and intentions behind such actions.

    • Some religious conservatives have protested against the appointment of women to leadership positions within the church, fearing that it will create a "monstrous regiment of women" that will undermine the traditional gender roles and values upheld by the institution.

      Here, the idiom is used to describe the perceived threat posed by women's leadership to traditional gender roles and expectations, implying that their presence will lead to chaos, disorder and instability. The phrase is commonly used in religious or conservative contexts to justify the exclusion of women from leadership positions, as well as to stigmatize and discredit women who challenge these norms. However, the example above illustrates how this idiom can also be used ironically, as the speaker highlights the absurdity and exaggeration inherent in such claims, and emphasizes the need to challenge and dismantle traditional gender roles in order to create a more inclusive and equitable society.

    • In her latest novel, Mary Shelley has created a monstrous regiment of women, with a cast of feisty and intelligent female characters taking centre stage and challenging traditional gender roles.

      The phrase "monstrous regiment of women" is a satirical idiom coined by Thomas Fuller in the 17th century. It refers to an all-female ruling body or government, which was seen as a violation of the natural order and a perversion of the divine right of kings. The imagery of a "regiment" suggests an army or a group of people organized and trained for a specific purpose, while the word "monstrous" adds a sense of exaggeration and surprise. By using this idiom to describe Mary Shelley's female-led fiction, we are highlighting both the subversive and the empowering qualities of her work, which challenges traditional gender norms and celebrates the intelligence and agency of women.

    • In the aftermath of the political and social upheaval of the past decade, we see a monstrous regiment of women rising to the forefront of global leadership, from Angela Merkel in Germany to Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand.

      In this example, the idiom is used metaphorically to describe the increasing number of women in positions of political power around the world. This use of the phrase emphasizes the significance of these women's leadership and their impact on governance, while acknowledging the historical prejudice against women in positions of authority.

    • Some critics have described Dornford Yates' Detective Anthony Gideon series as a monstrous regiment of women, with the recurring character of Dr. Derek Le Queux as the only male character of note.

      Here, the idiom is being used to highlight the dominance of female characters in the narrative, with the notable exception of Dr. Le Queux. This use of the phrase reveals both the imaginative license of the author and the unexpected twist of having a male character take a back seat to the women.

    • In her latest short film, Nida Manzoor creates a monstrous regiment of women in hijab, subverting traditional notions of Muslim women's identities and agency.

      In this example, the idiom is being used to describe the female characters in Manzoor's film, who wear hijabs and challenge the stereotypical representation of Muslim women. This use of the phrase highlights the subversive nature of Manzoor's work, which challenges traditional notions of Muslim women's identities and agency, while also emphasizing the agency and power of the women depicted.


    The idiom "monstrous regiment of women" can be used to discourage someone from pursuing a certain activity or to criticize a group of women in power. It carries a negative connotation and is often used to express disapproval or caution.

    Origin of "Monstrous regiment of women"

    The idiom "monstrous regiment of women" originated from a pamphlet published in 1558 by John Knox, a Scottish clergyman and writer. In the pamphlet, Knox expressed his disapproval of the rule of Queen Mary I of England and her female advisors, whom he referred to as a "monstrous regiment of women." The term "regiment" in this context refers to a group or rule, and "monstrous" is used to convey Knox's negative opinion of the female rulers.

    The phrase has since been used to criticize or express disapproval of women in positions of power, and it has also been used more broadly to discourage certain actions or activities. Despite its historical origins, the idiom is considered controversial and offensive by many, as it perpetuates negative stereotypes about women in leadership roles.