Isn't it about time we stopped referring to women as girls?

(102 Posts)
PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 17:18:28

I've been thinking about this today and wondering what impact it has on how we view both women and girls. Does it assist the blurring of the age of consent? Or how we reduce women's value by talking about them as children.

And thoughts.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 25-Oct-12 17:29:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 17:33:20

I also think the 'boys' absolves men from responsibility.

Stewie have you blogged about 'girl/woman'?

Girls, for me, implies almost an innocent sexuality for women. The ever youthful woman, the girl. It reduces a woman's respect, the girls in the office....

I can't really express it.

Yes, it's about time.

It's PAST time.

It trivializes women and their accomplishments (ref: The police officers killed in Manchester referred to as 'girls' by press and police, when male officers would have been 'heroes' probably).

I also think it blurs the age of consent - if you call 12, 14, 18, 22 and 28 year old human females ALL the same descriptor, 'girl' you are mixing up adult human women with teenage girls - and that's clearly very convenient for those who want to pretend raping children/teenage girls is okay.

I hate it. I used to refer to 'girls nights' and 'lunch with the girls' when I was in my late teens/early twenties, but stopped pretty soon after I realised that none of the men in my age-group would self-refer as 'boys' - they were men. I thought I was a woman - albeit a young one - and so I started referring to myself and my friends as such.

and YES to 'the girls in the office' - 'oh, we'll get one of the girls to bring us some tea' - it suggests that they are junior, unaccomplished, and subservient - even when these are WOMEN, damnit!

I can't abide it.

Happily I spent most of my 20s working in an extremely right-on workplace (US University English Department) where no such language was used, so I've stopped seeing it as acceptable.

Frans1980 Thu 25-Oct-12 17:38:35

"Girls" is used a lot by adult women to refer to other adult women.
eg

girls night in/out
you go girl!
here come the girls

maybenow Thu 25-Oct-12 17:39:41

While I agree 100% about the police officers and the absolute inappropriatness of the term 'girls' in that statment, for me personally there was a long period of time when I suppose I should have been described as a 'woman' but I wouldn't have been comfortable with it - generally from about 18 to 25ish.. In france i'd still have been madamoiselle rather than madame... and I would never have called myself a woman or talked about my women friends.

In fact, I still don't feel comfortable saying i'm meeting up with some women for a bike ride or after work drinks.
My DH also wouldn't talk about a 'mens' night' or going out with the men. I think he'd use 'guys' or 'blokes'..

ParsingFancy Thu 25-Oct-12 17:40:56

"I think it blurs the age of consent. "

This.

I've been thinking about it a lot listening to Jimmy Saville being described as into "young girls".

maybenow Thu 25-Oct-12 17:49:35

I am interested in this, do people think that 16 is a reasonable age at which to start to call girls 'women'?

I would feel odd calling a bunch of sixth formers, or even university undergraduates 'women' but I guess that's just conditioning, I could start doing it and if I did it enough then I'd get used to it.

Does anybody here use women for everybody female over 16?

Frans I know - I used to be one of those women. Hence my 'yes, it is about time we stopped'' response.

Maybe I think it is significant that we don't have a 'casual' way of referring to women that doesn't diminish them into children. "Blokes" and "Guys" both refer to adult men, don't they?

I remember referring to myself as a 'young woman' in my early twenties and yes, feeling it was rather pompous and inadequate - but also knowing, very sincerely, that I wasn't a girl. I was an adult who earned money and paid bills, and if I wanted to be taken seriously I had to take myself seriously enough to refer to myself as an adult.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 18:07:26

Young women is good enough at 16-21, maybe.

Frans. I note that you seem to think if women participate in the prejudice it's not prejudice? confused

greenhill Thu 25-Oct-12 18:23:29

Personally, I was a 'school girl' but always corrected anyone who said I was a 'girl' once I had left school. I have never been 'one of the girls' or gone on a 'girls night' out. I do not do 'girly' things either.

I alienated a lot of other women, who wanted to remain as 'girls' by saying this sad

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 18:24:18

Yes I don't do girls nights out, at all and never have. I may have a ladies night though.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 25-Oct-12 18:32:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 18:32:39

Am I allowed to post blog links?

I still go out with 'the girls'. DH goes out with 'the boys'. Our friends (ranging from early 20s to mid 40s) use the same terminology in the same context.

I can see what you're saying about it being a derogatory way of referring to women but I don't think that it is always intended that way. I am happy to continue using it in this context.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 25-Oct-12 18:35:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BigBroomstickBIWI Thu 25-Oct-12 18:35:08

'Girls' night out' is an interesting one, though, isn't it? Whilst I agree absolutely with the points that have been made, 'women's night out' doesn't really seem to mean the same!

Or what if I was to talk about going out with 'my girlfriends'?

'Ladies' is even worse, IMO. Although I can't really articulate why ...

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Oct-12 18:36:12

I'd probably tend to call 6th formers 'girls' - though in the context of school just 'student' might be preferable.

But apart from that - yes, women shouldn't be called 'girls' for all the reasons mentioned.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 25-Oct-12 18:38:59

I only ever seem to go on 'mums' nights out' by way of single-sex events. There's a sad old git solution grin

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 18:41:24

I was just thinking that I don't do "x night out" I just go out! I may go for drinks with x,y & z but regardless of the fact that they're all women, we don't do the [boak] girls/lads/boys night out thing in this house.

helpyourself Thu 25-Oct-12 18:43:05

I agree. But strangely it's other women who use the word more than men.

DoIDare Thu 25-Oct-12 18:46:55

We tend to refer to boys/girls night out when we plan to be a bit silly and not act our age.

Obviously dh and I are both adults.,fgs saga mailshot him now.

I tend to use bods/guys/posse (ironically) to refer to men or women.

I am trying to decide whether I like dds school referring to all the students as ladies. On balance, I think not.

DoI I used to refer to my (fresher, uni) classes as "Alright, settle down, y e luminous youth" and "Time to focus, my brilliant mind-hive" ... not sure that's appropriate in a classroom setting, though.

Did foster my 'eccentric' reputation nicely, though grin

ConsiderCasey Thu 25-Oct-12 19:27:30

DS is 11 and gets regularly referred to as "young man" or "little man". In my ex-line of work it was quite common for male mentors to shake hands with a young boy all formal and call them "young man".

It's a way of bigging them up, encourages them to take charge and be responsible. Doesn't happen with girls. I've never heard "little/young woman" addressed to an 11 year old girl.

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