Are you a woman or a lady?

(48 Posts)
juneau Sat 03-May-14 18:10:11

Speech therapist was using cards this week with DS that had 'man' 'lady' 'girl' and 'boy' on them. I pointed out that it should really say 'woman' and that I always refer to adult females that way, but ST looked baffled. Surely it's man and woman, gentleman and lady? Also, generally speaking I slightly bristle when called a 'lady'. It just seems a bit old-fashioned and condescending and if a man is a man, why isn't a woman a woman. Am I being weird? Please don't be too fierce, I think this is my first time on the feminism branch (although why, I don't know, since I'm definitely a feminist!)

LoveSardines Sat 03-May-14 18:17:16

No you're not being weird. It is gentleman/lady and man/woman.

Our DD has speech therapy too and some of it makes me flinch a bit. Around the "boy" "girl" and how do they know which to say, well obviously the girls have long hair and bows and dresses and the boys have short hair and trousers etc etc etc etc

It feels unsettling to reinforce boys are like this and girls are like that but OTOH I don't know what the other options would be.

Also DD often gets sexes mixed up and I wonder if it's because as a family we don't refer to sex that often ooh look at the pretty girl, etc etc although DD1 has no problems with stuff! Don't know.

For the sake of a child learning to speak just go with it unless it gets really out of hand I guess.

Of course if it's not the word "lady" that's important, but the colour of her shoes or whatever, you can always say woman when you practice.

mummybare Sat 03-May-14 18:17:26

Well, I prefer being referred to as a lady to being called a girl - at least it implies a grown-up. But yes, woman is to man as lady is to gentleman so that would seem a bit odd to me too.

juneau Sat 03-May-14 19:10:08

Okay, not me being weird then. There's other stuff too, just words she uses to refer to things that I wouldn't use, or would use differently, but poor DS then looks like he's not understanding and I have to explain 'Well I would probably call that X'. We've only got three more sessions with her, so I think I may just have to bite my tongue!

tribpot Sat 03-May-14 19:17:16

I agree - man/woman. Using different vocabulary is not very helpful either, is it? That's hardly the aim of the sessions. Annoyed on your behalf.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 03-May-14 19:21:27

'Woman' is 'man' with a 'womb' though, where as 'lady' isn't? I'm pretty sure my old English teacher was a feminist. Like 'history' is 'his story', nothing to do with women. confused

I call everyone 'lady' rather than 'woman'.

blueshoes Sat 03-May-14 19:56:43

When I refer to another adult whose name I do not know, I refer to them as this lady or that gentleman.

tribpot Sat 03-May-14 20:05:40

'Woman' is 'man' with a 'womb' though

Not according to Wiki, LadySybil. It notes this is a common misconception.

History likewise does not have overt gender connotations - in fact the word is feminine in the Romance languages if that signifies anything! Lady seems to come from a word meaning breadmaker, bizarrely!

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 03-May-14 20:08:51

Ah, thank you. I was misinformed! could explain why I only got an E for her subject

nooka Sat 03-May-14 20:14:50

If you think of woman as deriving from man then surely you would also think of lady as deriving from lad?

I see that there are class connotations to the interchangeability of the terms too.

To be honest the only one that bothers me is using 'girl' for an adult woman, although I find to my slight horror that I do this sometimes.

ThatBloodyWoman Sat 03-May-14 20:18:01

I always tell people I ain't no lady, I'm a woman.

HecatePropylaea Sat 03-May-14 20:18:28

The word I would use to describe myself is woman. But if someone wanted to refer to me as a lady, I don't think I would really care.
otoh, if they referred to me as a girl, at 40, I would likely explain at great length exactly how unhappy I was about that. grin

juneau Sat 03-May-14 20:18:34

The using different vocab thing is a bit annoying, but it can't be helped. She and I are just a bit different and we speak differently as a result. I won't be continuing with her after these three sessions are up. She's been good in some ways - giving me games to play with him that have really helped to bring on his language - but in other ways I haven't felt the magic.

claraschu Sat 03-May-14 20:19:33

I'm a person.

ThatBloodyWoman Sat 03-May-14 20:20:02

And, at least when I am specifically talking about women's 'history', I refer to herstory, if it isn't immediately going to get confused < these looks.

juneau Sat 03-May-14 20:21:23

I always tell people I ain't no lady, I'm a woman.

Yes, well this is how I feel too!

Blondieminx Sat 03-May-14 20:21:59

I always think lady sounds nicer - e.g when DD isn't looking where she's going, i'd say "mind the lady please" not "mind that woman please".

Anyone calling me a girl would get a careful explanation as to exactly why I thought they were being daft! grin

meditrina Sat 03-May-14 20:26:13

Woman is the unmarked, neutral term, and for that reason alone the one to be used unless you are using a set idiom like "Ladies and gentlemen", referring to a toilet, or referring to someone aristocratic or ennobled (or a woman married to someone who is).

Using a different term to the unmarked one is usually an indicator of making a point (inadvertently through conditioning or deliberately). I agree it's nowhere near as bad as "girls" for adult women, but it is still a term with class/behavioural expectations and one which can be badly received. It's really straightforward to avoid it, removing the (often inadvertent) barriers it sets up.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Sat 03-May-14 20:33:34

I would describe myself as a girl & would use woman/lady interchangeably. I don't have any issues being called any if them.

ThingsThatShine Sat 03-May-14 20:35:59

I don't like being referred to as lady. I don't know why! A man I went on a date with texted me afterwards and said "you're a beautiful lady" and it just made me cringe and think yuck confused.

Tallypet Sat 03-May-14 20:36:48

Is she doing this to simplify the genders maybe? My son needs to see a ST so I would (maybe naively) assume this is a teaching method and you could explain differences when he's older. Personally I don't think it's a feminist thing really, just a way to simplify things, but I could be wrong.
Maybe if DS needs speech therapy let them help with that and then teach him what you'd like him to refer females as. My DS is referred to a speech therapist and my only goal now is for him to speak properly and deal with the details later

peggyundercrackers Sat 03-May-14 20:41:49

I always use the term lady/ladies and gentleman or gent/s

CaptChaos Sat 03-May-14 20:55:45

I am a woman.

Lady is a title of the peerage. Ladylike implies chintz and doilies, being able to sit with your knees together and knowing which fork to use for snails. I can be a lady, I can behave in a ladylike manner (without chintz and fucking doilies) , but I am, as a descriptor, a woman.

MuscatBouschet Sat 03-May-14 21:01:41

In my house I am known as "the lady with the milk" grin

RyvitaDolce Sat 03-May-14 21:22:28

So what do you call a woman when referring to her, in her earshot.

There's a woman here waiting to see you
There's a lady here who would like to speak to you

You have to call a stranger a lady really, don't you?? Even if she makes Waynetta Slob look good

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