Should I be more annoyed about this man calling me a girl?

(14 Posts)
DailyMailIsAFeckingDisgrace Tue 31-May-16 08:09:39

I will just type this out very fast and then I am off to work so I won't be able come back to this during the day.

In short, I've met a man. He is about a decade older than me. It's early days but he seems very nice. He knows I am a feminist because I always get that in very early. We live in a rural area where the older generation refer to the next generation as laddies/lassies, no matter how old. I told an aunt I was going out with him and she said "Ah yes, he is a nice boy". He is mid 50s.

I am the sort of person who would go all eye-rolly if someone suggested I had a night out with the girls, and when people address a group of women as girls I get exasperated.

This man keeps referring to me as a girl in texts. Not in a patronising way. I can't bring myself to be bothered by it. Does that make me a bad feminist? Do I need to point out to him that I am a middle aged woman? I just can't bring myself to give a shit. However the previous person I was seeing is now going out with someone my age who referred to herself as a girl on her dating profile (we are all on the same site) and I judged blush. That might just be sour grapes though.

0phelia Tue 31-May-16 09:02:43

As it bothers you, you really need to say something! Be upfront just say "Sorry, I cringe when grown women are referred to as girls".
Then if he carries on doing it, he has no respect for you.

I'm guessing it's not something he's particularly thought about before because maybe it's a colloquial thing, and he might well be attracted to your intellectual side, so you could have a good chat about it all.

Don't know how old you are but I'm almost 40 and would never dream of referring to myself as a girl. DP however is older than me and sometimes affectionately jokes by calling me a whatever girl, but would never do it seriously. We refer to each other as "My partner" never "boyfriend/girlfriend" Ick!

DailyMailIsAFeckingDisgrace Tue 31-May-16 09:24:25

The thing is that it doesn't bother me, but I feel it ought to bother me, and that I am a bad feminist for not being bothered. Don't get me wrong, if he was my boss or something it would really bother me. And in the circumstances I have described above it would bother me. But I can't get aerated about it for some reason.

happyanddappy Tue 31-May-16 09:27:42

Just tell him not to do it, whether it bothers you or not, there is a whole culture of men / society calling women girls as if we are fucking kids and therefore need to be guided / looked after etc - despite how it comes across, consciously or unconsciously, it IS patronising.

MrsJayy Tue 31-May-16 09:28:52

It's just the way he speaks as you say it could be a local thing we are all lassies where I am he is being friendly unless he actually traats you like a girl and unequal theb I wouldn't worry there is no such thing as a bad feminist imo

I wouldn't say it makes you a bad feminist, not being that bothered. A man let me go on the train before him today and said "ladies first" and I didn't even growl at him or anything.

Why not start calling him a boy and see whether that starts a friendly conversation about it?

AuntDotsie Tue 31-May-16 10:55:55

Meh, there's enough general feminist guilt around to be going on with if you ask me. You are allowed to pick your battles!

situatedknowledge Tue 31-May-16 10:59:17

Obviously if it bothers you, do say something. However, you mention Laddies and Lassies. Where I am from, you'd be one of those till you were more likely in your 70s. In fact, my DF (pushing 80) would refer to his peers as boys.

TeiTetua Tue 31-May-16 11:06:10

If you have a friendly relationship with this man, and it already sounds as if you feel like his accomplice in sexism(!!) you could say something like "You really shouldn't be calling a grown woman a 'girl' and I shouldn't be tolerating it. Can we please agree not to do it any more?"

Agree that it's wrong, and that it's pervasive, but it's not the worst thing in the world. And also possibly present a feminist outlook as not placing immediate guilt on men, but make it more of a process of respecting women as fully capable adults, which we can all be responsible for doing.

SomeDyke Tue 31-May-16 16:12:48

Can I just get something straight here -- feminism isn't a religion! You don't have to do sixteen 'Hail Germaines' every time you neglect to correct every single person who uses some non-sex-neutral term. The whole frigging language is patriarchal, and it won't suddenly be put right if we do correct everyone every time, nor will it be our fault if such usage continues.

So there is no such thing as a bad feminist - there are non-feminists, and feminists I agree with, and feminists I don't, and feminists who call themselves feminists but actually don't have a clue, but there are no bad feminists.

I think that this PC language-checking (see, I said chair there, rather than chairman, aren't I GOOD!) is used as pretty much a smokescreen to try and disguise the real power imbalance. So, see how non-sexist we are by our use of language, whilst ignoring the fact that only some minimal percentage of the board, or management, or whatever are female. And even the ones that are don't get listened to, or get interrupted by men, but that is fine as long as they don't call them ladies or girls as they do so. Going from overt, to covert sexism, but I suspect very little actual change of behavior or power relations goes along with the cosmetic change in language.

Which brings me back to religion, it's akin to mouthing the correct responses, whilst not actually believing in it at all!

P.S. One amusing consequence of lesbian marriage -- if anyone does call us ladies, then we can have a competition as to who can say 'That's no lady, that's my wife!' first! smile

AuntDotsie Wed 01-Jun-16 14:35:40

Arf @ Hail Germaines. And six Mater Nosters every time you say 'binman' instead of 'waste disposal operative' grin

And yes - if he were treating you as if you were a girl, or if it pissed you off, that's a different ballgame. I personally can't stand grown adults calling other grown adults 'baby girl' and have been known to raise a sarcastic eyebrow when it happens to me.

AHellOfABird Thu 02-Jun-16 10:16:35

" sixteen 'Hail Germaines' "

Snort!

OP, no need to think of yourself as a bad feminist. If it bothers you, say something, if it doesn't, don't.

onahorsewithnoname Fri 03-Jun-16 19:12:06

Next time I get the urge to do something baaaad, I'm going to do some hail Germaines instead grin

oldlaundbooth Fri 03-Jun-16 19:13:37

Someone as work referred to me as 'girl'.

I called him on it. I was bloody furious.

He never spoke to me again grin

Result.

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