Fed up with women being described as "girls". Name and shame the worst culprits.

(128 Posts)
MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 01:50:47

Nick from The Apprentice for starters.

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 01:54:30

The X Factor talks about "girls" and "boys" for the under 25s, so not too bad, I suppose. Although I wouldn't rate them as as a hive of feminism.

Boots advertising.

Yougotbale Sat 26-Oct-13 01:55:09

Jamie oliver

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 01:55:18

Absolutely MrsCakes

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 01:57:09

Lots of quizmasters. Bradley on The Chase. Chris Tarrant.

I would love a contestant to turn on them.

[apologies - quiz show freak!]

FarelyKnuts Sat 26-Oct-13 01:58:11

My female boss!! Hacks me off no end!

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 01:59:29

Also the bloke who runs my choir.

He never refers to the basses and tenors as "boys".

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 02:14:26

Maybe I should confront him, but I feel that would brand me as mardybitch.

HumpdaySelfie Sat 26-Oct-13 02:18:43

Honestly, I don't care. It's the shite those same people tend to say after the 'girls, ' bit that gets me. I hate more emails that start with 'Guys' or 'Chaps'. Usually reply to them starting 'Ladies'.

zippey Sat 26-Oct-13 02:32:53

I don't care about women being called girls. Its not something you should worry about.

perplexedpirate Sat 26-Oct-13 03:23:27

Whenever I see this I always hear Margi Clark going 'Isn't that right, giiiiirrrllls?!'.
In my head, obviously. She doesn't follow me around or anything.

DropYourSword Sat 26-Oct-13 03:28:40

I guess it depends. If someone said "girls" and "boys" it wouldn't be an issue to me. However if it was "girls" and "men" I'd be fuming!

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 03:29:15

"I don't care about women being called girls. Its not something you should worry about."

So men are rarely referred to as "boys". Yet adult women are referred to as children. if you can tell me that men are equally infantalised, then it wouldn't be a problem for me.

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 03:40:07

I don't think it's infantilising as such. I think that somewhere down the line the other possible terms got connotations that, rightly or wrongly, means people aren't comfortable using them.

How would you rather a group of women were addressed?
Ladies? Women? People? Peeps? <shudder>

With men, you can use lots none of it means anything other than 'you lot'. Gents, chaps, fellas, guys, and yes, even boys.

I'm much more concerned by the intent than the word, and as long as I don't think the intent to offend is there, or that the use of the word will cause others to treat 'the girls' differently than they would 'the ladies' or 'the women' or whatever else, I really don't mind.

MardyBra Sat 26-Oct-13 03:40:31

"If someone said "girls" and "boys" it wouldn't be an issue to me."

What about "girls" and "guys", which I've heard a lot recently?
What about "guys" meaning men and women?

I am genuinely curious about the best terms. My main concern is that young women (including dd in a couple of years' time) aren't dismissed as non adults.

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 03:41:47

But yes, I also hear Margi.

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 03:45:27

I have mixed feelings on 'guys' for mixed groups. I don't mind it when I know absolutely that they know they're addressing a mixed group.

I mind it a lot when I suspect it's because they have forgotten women are present. (I work in IT, for clients in the ME, so I get a double whammy of that fairly routinely...)

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 03:46:37

But I didn't mean to kill your thread! Carry on naming offenders!

ZingWantsCake Sat 26-Oct-13 03:52:05

doesn't bother me at all. to quote Alanis Morisette:

"I'm a bitch I'm a lover
I'm a child I'm a mother
I'm a sinner I'm a saint
I do not feel ashamed"

and I'm a girl too. so I'm ok with it.

ZingWantsCake Sat 26-Oct-13 03:53:51


how about "Laydeez"? grin

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 03:55:55

Only from singers on cross-channel ferries.

verysomething Sat 26-Oct-13 03:56:02

stop in Australia 'guys' has become v accepted for a mixed group. I like it for social things but would not use it for work groups unless I was sure everyone else was on board with it.

ZingWantsCake Sat 26-Oct-13 03:59:33


DropYourSword Sat 26-Oct-13 04:07:33

I live in Australia and I will often use guys as a term for a group of people, regardless of gender.

verysomething Sat 26-Oct-13 04:19:51

I often use "folks" blush

it's not perfect but it works for group emails in my guardianista workplace

In a fit of post-modern irony I tried out 'chaps' once. It was not a success.

ZingAnyFucker Sat 26-Oct-13 04:20:58

grin @ chaps

I'll be using that. thanks for that!

ForwardSheCried Sat 26-Oct-13 05:09:24

@Zing - That was Meredith Brooks, not Alanis.

Most of the time I generally mind 'girls' as long as it's not used in a patronising way. It does kind of get my goat when it's used as the equivalent of 'men' though. I'm not a girl, I'm a grown thirty-something woman.

ForwardSheCried Sat 26-Oct-13 05:10:56

* don't mind, not mind. Doh.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sat 26-Oct-13 05:36:31

I had an email from a supplier recently talking about a sale they had coming up & 'to ring one of his girls to make a viewing appointment'.

Was bloody cross all day.

NewbieMcNewbie Sat 26-Oct-13 05:37:57

The only people I know who refer to groups of adult females as girls are female themselves.

TheLeastAccomplishedBennetGirl Sat 26-Oct-13 06:20:25

using the word girls for adult women most certainly does infanticise them, 'girls night out' is a prime example. Obviously women out all enjoying each others company have reverted to their childish ways, having shaken off their responsibilities for the duration. :/

It's a reenforcement that women are defined by their actions and men by their status.

TheLeastAccomplishedBennetGirl Sat 26-Oct-13 06:21:14

And yes, my user name has the word 'girl' in it smile

verysomething Sat 26-Oct-13 06:25:12

TheLeast you're the Lydia, obvs grin

I don't mind it when someone says 'people' as a place holder for getting the attention of a roomful of people - all women or mixed - but some people don't like it? Not sure why, surely it's neutral? confused

ZingWantsCake Sat 26-Oct-13 09:47:49


I only know the song so I'm not incorrect. but thanks

But Zing, the song you quoted was sung by Meredith and not by Alanis. I'm not sure what you mean about only knowing the song!

perplexedpirate Sat 26-Oct-13 10:01:37

Did Alanis sing that? Much of the 90s is lost to me. sad
'Girls night out' is awful. So bloody patronising. Woman could spend most evenings down the Kebab and Calculator discussing Nietzsche and solving the Middle East crisis and we'd still be a gaggle of kids screeching along to The Saturdays in the eyes of the media.
See also: 'girly day'. Expect hair rollers and ill fitting bathrobes. Apparently. hmm

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 10:09:51

My experience of 'guys' for mixed groups is mostly from a female boss in a fairly evenly mixed workplace and what I got from it was that she was trying to be egalitarian and a bit matey, when it suited her, to disguise the fact she's a massive control freak and quite autocratic. So it rings hollow to me.

Girls, of course, Sometimes it's genuinely confusing and I think 'what girl?'. Worst when singular I think, 'that girl', even 'the girl in charge of...' sounds really odd - the auditor at work used to do that.

YoniTime Sat 26-Oct-13 10:34:36

I will be totally ok with 'guys' for mixed groups if one woman can also be called a guy. But right now a guy is a man.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 10:41:28

I think guys is just a bit American, so an attempt at informality. There, I think a woman might well address a group of women as 'you guys' yet guy, singular is still male. I think the singular and plural have diverged to have different meanings i.e. guys is not actually the plural of guy... (Well it can be but I think the intonation is different).

Chaps is much more 'letting women into the men's club'. Folks is ok but a bit twee perhaps. what's workng with people, or everyone?

ForwardSheCried Sat 26-Oct-13 11:51:36

I have no problem with ''guys'' being used as an overall term... but that is undoubtedly down to my having lived in the States for three years during my early teens before coming home to the UK in 1992.

ForwardSheCried Sat 26-Oct-13 11:54:45

...and no, that Bitch song was definitely by Meredith Brooks, not Alanis. Trust me... I have a tone deaf younger sister who used to sing along to it every bloody night for at least six months! grin

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 12:10:09

So what do we want people to use for an all woman group, particularly where the point is that the group doesn't include men? (ie for girls' night out type things)

If someone told me to call his girl at the office I'd be fizzing too. Maybe because in that case she's presumably junior to him?

No problem here with 'girly day' either though. The point of a girly day is that it involves rollers and bathrobes. If I was going kayaking with my girl friends (women friends? Lady friends? I mean what am I meant to say?) it wouldn't be a girly day.

BelaLugosisShed Sat 26-Oct-13 12:31:11

I don't mind girls as a term, it's Ladies that makes me stabby, it sounds very smarmy and slimy when uttered by men.
Young women refer to themselves as "birds" or "girlies" around here, it sets my teeth on edge.

I find being called "mate" by a man far more odd tbh.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 14:25:33

Isn't a group of women 'my/some friends', or colleagues, just as a group of men is, for men? I suppose 'mates' is usually male friends, its use by women is probably regional, as is 'lads' night out' as equivalent to 'girls' night out' - both implying youthful abandon.

I'd just say 'some friends' but if pushed to specify would use women friends, if they all happened to be women, or, if it's deliberately an exclusively female group, 'female friends'.

I do accept that in established useage, a girl is not just a child, the word is used for 'young adult' up to about 25 and lad and, increasingly, boy, is used in the same way (something about the extension of youth into 'adult' years).

Girl definitely impies 'young', 'junior' and 'subordinate' though, which is why 'the girl in charge of that department' sounds so very odd and 'give my girl a call' implies he identifies her as a subordinate person, not as a person on an early step in a career.

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 14:30:06

I use "Guys" for a mixed group (social and work). Darcy and Alesha always call the other judges "The Boys" on strictly - which I think is great & quite nice! (I'm a boy),

I also refer to other groups of men as "Boys" - "what are you boys up to?" whereas I'll always say "What are you ladies up to?".

The only people I've noticed refer to groups of women as girls tend to be women - "Girls night out", "off to see the Girls". (But that might be because I don't really register it).

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 14:30:59

Eeek - BelaLugosisShed - I promise it doesn't come across as smarmy!!

damejudydench Sat 26-Oct-13 14:31:53

I couldn't give a monkeys. I often say girls. It's a term of endearment.

I often call the blokes at work 'chaps' - shock horror!!!

mignonnette Sat 26-Oct-13 14:32:46

Ladies is most definitely unacceptable

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 14:32:46

I think it also depends on where in the country you are - Darn Sarf there are a lot of references to Boys & Girls by both sexes....

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 26-Oct-13 14:50:32

I think that somewhere down the line the other possible terms got connotations that, rightly or wrongly, means people aren't comfortable using

So the word "woman" has a connotation that people aren't comfortable with? How did that happen?

Here's a thought: If it is true, then maybe we should "reclaim" the word by calling ourselves women.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 14:54:52

Ladies does usually sound awful. I rarely make a point of countering with women though, as it sounds bolshy at the time but it is what I'd use naturally... except that I do use ladies, with women who I think expect it and would be offended if I used women!

Generally, I think ladies is appropriate if you are addressing people who you'd address individually as 'Mrs X' or 'Miss Y' rather than their first names. Generally older women or in a formal situation.

Otherwise it makes the speaker sound uncomfortable with women as people, so placing a barrier of formality, comic formality, or faux respect (which can actually be either smarmy, leery or insulting) between them and the women they're addressing, to distance themselves.

I'm afraid 'boys and ladies' falls into one of those categories. It sounds as though you're comfortable and jokey with you male friends but see the women as 'other', as a group, not as real friends. I say sounds like because I expect it's habit and you'll tell me they'd rather be called ladies and address each other that way (plenty do).

Other women, like me, will hear it as distancing and as a restrictive definiton conveying an expectation of 'nice' unchallenging behaviour.

Being called a lady always gives me a childish urge to behave in a very unladylike way - because I'm not a lady in the titled sense and haven't signed up to any code of restrictive 'ladylike' behaviour and I'm not going to accept you trying to impose one upon me. I'm a fairly kind and well-mannered woman though, so I usually don't.

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 15:08:57

Oh no, I only say Ladies with women I'm comfortable with & know - thinking about it, it's in a jokey way that I say it. If I walked up to them & said "Morning Women" they'd think I'd gone mad, & "Morning Girls" wouldn't be at all appropriate (at least one is my senior in both age & position).

If I didn't know them at all then I wouldn't use any group salutation, it's probably the same for a group of men, I'd just say "morning" or "morning all"...

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 15:11:50

I'm not going to accept you trying to impose one upon me. isn't this a case of reading things into a polite greeting that aren't intended?

Not being silly, but what are people to do? The Oxford Dictionary has "a polite or formal way of referring to a woman" as it's first definition of Lady. So being Polite is now an imposition?

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 16:04:55

I used the term 'ladylike' a lot to prompt thoughts about what being a 'lady' might mean and what it might exclude.

All greetings carry expectations, whether conscious or not. Addressing a room full of people as 'ladies and gentlemen' is in part showing respect, in part requesting a certain style of behaviour from them in response. Similarly, choosing to address a room full of older teenagers as 'ladies' or 'gentlemen' conveys an acknowledgement of near-adulthood along with an expectation of adult behaviour.

You could just as well say that the OP is 'reading things into' a friendly greeting when she expresses discomfort at the man who runs her choir using 'girls' to adult women. He probably doesn't set out to patronise and belittle but he is doing so.

That's the thing with language. It's use is mostly unconscious but it has become embedded as a result of social training and experience, so it reflects societal norms and expectations. You can only start to examine and challenge those norms when you step back and consider the meaning behind what you are saying and how its use may affect others, your ideas about others and perpetuate social values. (I think that must be on day 1 of 'feminism 101').

You could say this whole thread is about people 'reading things into' perfectly nice, well-intended greetings. Or you could step back and consider why it is common to refer to adults as 'men and girls' or to women as 'ladies' and what this says about our culture and the people who use these terms.

StopDoingThat Sat 26-Oct-13 16:37:19

I didn't mean the word 'women' had negative connotations in general, only in the type of contexts we're discussing here.

And I don't think I've ever heard anyone address a group if women as 'women'. It would be ladies. But people don't like that, so 'girls' has gained currency.

You know what? We need a new word!

grimbletart Sat 26-Oct-13 16:45:46

I give talks to people of all ages. I found that the easiest way is to say "Good afternoon everyone" as it gets round the issue of sex and age.
But of course, that doesn't work if you are referring to, say, friends when you are talking to someone else.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 16:48:54

Ref 'The Lady is a Tramp' sung by Ella Fitzgerald. She does what she wants, when she wants and enjoys life enormously - hence, according to social norms at the time, she is not a lady.

'Ladies' isn't the worst thing you could say, tone counts for a lot and, as I said, I use it myself sometimes because it is widely expected. Still makes me cringe a little.

Alright Laydeeez?

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 17:09:28

Easiest for me to ask the people I use the greeting with what they prefer TBH, but given their senior status and their "trade" I'm pretty sure they'd have torn me a new one if I'd been unreasonable.

So please, what gender specific greeting would you find agreeable to address a group of women? I'm thinking that you could ask 100 women the same question & get a myriad of answers.

I'm personally not convinced that "Ladies" is a norm that requires challenging & examining, but I am that "Girls" (coming from a man) probably does as that does come across as belittling, which actually drags me back onto the OP's track....

Bonsoir Sat 26-Oct-13 17:16:46

I get much more annoyed about my family (DP 48, me 47, DSS1 18, DSS2 16 and DD 8) being collectively addressed as "Guys" as in hotel receptionists or waiters saying "Hi Guys how are you today?".

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 18:05:28

I must admit, the only one that really grips me is being called "mate" by someone I don't know. Whether some scrotey teen on a till or a drunk in the pub - hate it!!

lottiegarbanzo Sat 26-Oct-13 18:57:06

I suppose I wonder why you need to be gender specific. Why not 'hello everyone'?

I'd say you can only arrive at a view about what needs changing after you've examined it but we are all starting from a point of having noticed and thought about these things already.

DixonBainbridge Sat 26-Oct-13 19:24:56

I suppose because I've always said hi guys, hi ladies etc. As I said, I'll have a chat with the ladies at work (women seems too impersonal in this sentence) & see what their view is.

Unless they have an issue with it I don't see a need to change.

EBearhug Sat 26-Oct-13 19:44:47

I tend to say "hello everyone" when I'm not just ignoring everyone because I haven't woken up properly yet.

I find "ladies" can quite often be used in a patronising way, at least in my experience at work. But it doesn't tend to get me quite as riled as "girls" does - especially when used by a man at work who is not as senior as I am, and I am old enough to be his mother. He didn't do it again, at least not in my hearing.

But the one that really used to wind me up was my mother saying, "We're all going out on Friday, all of us girlies at work." She was in her late 50s, and she's never been pink and fluffy, not at all girly - more likely to be wielding a sledgehammer in the garden than anything else.

I don't mind "guys" to mean "everyone", though. I wouldn't use "chaps" unless I'm in a Biggles mood - "I say, chaps! What's going on here?"

My lovely female boss yesterday sent an email only to the women in our small office about redecorating, asking for ideas and wishes for the revamp. Email started 'ladies'. I slightly pointedly forwarded it to the male team member with a sort of jokey comment about gender stereotyping.

My previous seriously amazing boss once turned down a brief because the client was very annoying. Her start point by way of explanation to our chairman was 'if I have to get another email addresses to 'girls' I was going to crack and send back a very rude response. Think PR nightmare. Be glad we aren't in touch anymore'. grin

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 26-Oct-13 20:03:18

I love being called a girl. But then I'm 53 sad. Much prefer it to the middle aged lady to who sits at the end of the corridor.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sat 26-Oct-13 20:09:34

Doesn't bother me in the slightest and I use it myself. I don't agree that it infanticise females and anyone that thinks it does needs to realise that it's only their opinion. I get a little tired of that being stated as fact.

ZingWantsCake Sat 26-Oct-13 20:28:40


I agree with you Girl!grin

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 26-Oct-13 20:53:07

I do realize that it is my opinion, but is is not only my opinion. Many women share it.

Also I am more than middle-aged. I do not wish to be young or to look young. I don't want to be called a word whose first meaning is female child.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sat 26-Oct-13 21:04:06

Scone - several people holding the same opinion still does not make it fact. You can dislike being called girl, that's fine, what's not fine is people dictating how others should/must feel about it.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 26-Oct-13 21:26:47

I don't believe that I was dictating anything. Merely stating my views -my feminist views- as it happens, and we are in FWR.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sat 26-Oct-13 22:20:31

Scone - why are you making this all about you?

YOUR feminist views. I'm entitled to my own feminist views. Yes - both of us are in FWR and we are both entitled to our own views.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 27-Oct-13 00:59:31

Back to the question of addressing groups, I do a lot of public speaking in my job, much of it in a feminist context. Like several others on this thread, I use "good morning, everyone." It works for all groups, regardless of gender.

I think Lottie's post of 16:04:55 makes some good points, especially the last two paragraphs.

HumpdaySelfie Sun 27-Oct-13 01:08:37

I know there are non-gender specific terms.

But when you do want to specify gender, what would those of you who have a problem with 'girls' suggest?

What about where you are directly comparing the women with the men, as per the X Factor 'girls' and 'boys' categories?

What about a 'girls' night out' where it is quite specifically about the 'girls' and it's not a couples' night out or a mixed night out?

And FWIW, because I don't like using 'Guys' to mean a mixed group, I have been known at work to use 'Kids'. Pretty sure it pisses some of them off as much as being addressed chaps/guys/gents does me. Oh well.

mediarek Sun 27-Oct-13 01:45:19

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Sun 27-Oct-13 01:53:49

It's not really an opinion as such to say that someone calling an adult a child is infantilizing them though is it? That is basically the definition of a fact.

If I call you Moggie, I'm technically, I don't know the word, Cat-izing you right?

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Sun 27-Oct-13 01:59:31

I don't care about women being called girls. Its not something you should worry about.

Fascinating to me that people think they can dictate what others worry about. I shall go and immediately tell all of Telly Addicts that they should stop talking about Xfactor whatever it is they are on about...Purely because I think it is rubbish

ColderThanAWitchsTitty Sun 27-Oct-13 01:00:58

"Bitch" is sometimes misattributed to Alanis Morissette, who was at the height of her popularity at the time of this song's release (having herself released Jagged Little Pill, her most successful album to date, two years prior), due to the similarity of her voice and musical style to that of Brooks.[24]

From WIKI grin

I used to love that song

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 27-Oct-13 01:10:21

Colder Thanks to you, I have discovered that "felinization" is an actual word. grin

ForwardSheCried Sun 27-Oct-13 06:55:40

Fascinating to me that people think they can dictate what others worry about. I shall go and immediately tell all of Telly Addicts that they should stop talking about Xfactor whatever it is they are on about...Purely because I think it is rubbish

Well, quite. It winds me up no end when people say ''Worry about something more important!'' etc. We're all individuals. What gets my goat might mean nothing to someone else, and vice versa. I wouldn't have the cheek to tell someone they shouldn't be bothered by something that riles them - who am I to do so?

sashh Sun 27-Oct-13 07:52:11

Back to the start of this thread - all sports commentators.

Bunnylion Sun 27-Oct-13 09:10:41

The news when it talks about prostitutes or strippers - that really pisses me off.

KaseyM Sun 27-Oct-13 09:22:21

I think girls is fine when boys is also used. But I got told off once by a man who thought "boys" was infantilising. Having spent my life being regularly referred to as a girl the irony wasn't lost on me. My friends say "girls" amongst us and "boys" for the DHs and that's nice cos its informal. I wouldn't do that at work.

What I want to know is what is wrong with "woman"? Someone told me recently that they wouldn't use it because it sounds derogatory like you're saying "stupid woman". I think that is the core of the problem that the word "woman" itself has negative connotations.

I absolutely loathe "lady" probably a bit irrationally but it makes me sound la dee dah which I'm not.

MissOtisRegretsMadam Sun 27-Oct-13 09:34:40

Nick from the apprentice also refers to the male team as 'the boys'

What about 'girlfriends' or 'hey girl' or 'you go girl/s' as that's often said in an encouraging or celebratory way?

KittyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 09:37:28

Why on earth would you need to say separate "good morning"s to people by their gender? I say a general "Morning all" to everyone who happens to have got in before me, I don't wish male and female colleagues different sorts of mornings confused

Whether it's intended as such or not, 'girls' is infantilizing. 'Boys' is rarely used in the same way, I can only think of "boys in blue" for police officers as an example. My adult female friends are women, and when we go out for an evening we don't revert to childhood. I get particularly stabby at the phrase "my girlfriends" - the word means something entirely different. Can't see DH ever going out for the evening with his 'boyfriends' grin

KittyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 09:38:48

Cross post MissOtis. "You go, girl" is if anything, worse. Would you ever tell a "boy" that he "went"??

Bunnylion Sun 27-Oct-13 09:47:18

kasey I've pulled a man up at work for talking about the "girls" on reception before and he said the same thing - that he thought the term "women" was derogatory. confused

Maybe the battle is far worst than we think!

MissOtisRegretsMadam Sun 27-Oct-13 09:50:37

This thread has really got me thinking... I have a colleague who said we should not say master key as it was sexist and some people thought it was over the top.

I think people (myself included) just say many of these things without a second thought.

MardyBra Sun 27-Oct-13 11:43:29

"kasey I've pulled a man up at work for talking about the "girls" on reception before"

It's always the girl on reception or the girl on the checkout or other service jobs. But you'd never hear boy on reception.

You dont get it with the professions though. I've never heard of "girl doctor" or "girl lawyer".

DixonBainbridge Sun 27-Oct-13 12:42:09

No, they tend to use "Lady Doctor".... It's even in the dictionary definition of "Lady".

DixonBainbridge Sun 27-Oct-13 12:43:04

Although that's dying out as "Doctor" is one of those catch all jobs that doesn't have male or female versions.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 27-Oct-13 12:55:56

Ah but what really annoys me is the doctor, male of female or their reception staff, who have sufficient respect to address the doctor as doctor so and so but insufficient respect to address the patient as Mr or Mrs or Miss and assume it is acceptable to use the patients first name without asking or offering their own or the doctor's first name.

I am not my doctor's subordinate and I don't expect to be addressed as my doctor's subordinate either by them or their staff. If the doctor or the doctor's staff wish to use my first name then I expect them all to use the doctor's first name. That is an equality issue and one which is passively aggressive and which silently confers subordination to the customer.

KaseyM Sun 27-Oct-13 13:05:39

The problem is that casual misogyny ait

I expect female dogs are having this same conversation and discussing ways to reclaim the word bitch!

KaseyM Sun 27-Oct-13 13:07:56

Sorry - that casual misogyny gives the female of the species negative connotations, eg. Cow and bitch. Is what I meant to say!

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:08:33

Colder Thanks to you, I have discovered that "felinization" is an actual word.

I like to be useful. grin

that he thought the term "women" was derogatory. confused

That's probably even worse that using the word girl..thinking woman was some how shit.

I admit sometimes I bristle a bit though when someone says "She's such an intelligent woman", or "a very successful woman" She's a very funny woman"

I think I hear an implied "She's so intelligent for a woman".
She's very successful for a woman. "She's very funny for a woman.

Which is ridiculous because you would say "he is a very intelligent man" or "he is a very successful man" "He is a very funny man"

Maybe because I am aware that "man" is also default for "person" to a lot of people.

Or maybe I am just a wee bit over sensitive grin

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:11:53

I am not my doctor's subordinate and I don't expect to be addressed as my doctor's subordinate either by them or their staff. If the doctor or the doctor's staff wish to use my first name then I expect them all to use the doctor's first name. That is an equality issue and one which is passively aggressive and which silently confers subordination to the customer.

Maybe miw, I always thought it was about putting the patient at ease, and have been introduced to doctors with their first names. Which to me makes me feel uncomfortable. If I have spent 8 years in medical school, I'd bloody well have my husband call me doctor!

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 27-Oct-13 13:21:13

I'm afraid it doesn't put me at my ease to be called by my first name by a complete stranger with whom I have no relationship whatsoever. What would put me at my ease would be "hello I'm Dr Jones, do call be Elizabeth if you wish. Is it OK if I call you Married or would you prefer Mrs Inwhite".

I think that's basic courtesy and I'm sorry if it's something glossed over and forgotten about at medical school. My solicitor spent a total of about 7 to 8 years training and that's how he behaves, as indeed so most professional advisers. I really don't see why doctors think they are so special just because they spent 8 years training. My DH did too I think and he doesn't think he's any more special than the next person.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 13:31:53

Well you'd be totally right to correct them if you felt upset by it. I think that probably is why they do it to most people though..not passive aggressiveness.

CarlaBrooni Sun 27-Oct-13 13:35:13

I go "out with the girls" and we are mostly 40+ (and some 50+). Is there something wrong with that? confused

KaseyM Sun 27-Oct-13 13:38:43

Of course not Carla!

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 27-Oct-13 13:59:24

married I agree with you. I think equality of address is important in almost all settings, but especially professional ones. I also agree that putting people at ease is the reason that doctors do it, but they should ask. My doctor and his entire practice address all their patients by title and last name.

Bunnylion Sun 27-Oct-13 17:25:32

married I gave birth recently and my son had some complications that meant he had to spend a few nights in an incubator. Thankfully he's fine now.

I was so tired and stressed that I didn't have the energy to pull the doctor up on it, but every time he spoke to me over the 4 days I was there, he called me "mummy" - that was very very weird, coming from a grown man who's around the same age as me.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 27-Oct-13 18:52:41

I think being called Mum by hospital doctors, when your DC is the patient, is ok actually. I experienced the same when dd was very young and thought it was odd but, it is an effective way of getting your attention when others are around and, you're dc is often seen by a number of doctors, who each see many patients.

You are not their patient and your surname might be different from your dc's, so 'Mrs dc surname' is not a safe bet. Learning and remembering patients' relatives' names is too much to ask, unless you're there regularly.

freyasnow Sun 27-Oct-13 23:26:01

It isn't okay though, is it? There have been numerous threads on here where many, many posters have said they hate being mummed by HCPs. So HCPs should stop doing it. If you don't know somebody's name, don't call them anything.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 23:36:50

Ooh, good thread.

Bunnylion Sun 27-Oct-13 23:46:09

freya I really hated it, I would have preferred not being called anything.

<unknown face pops round the ward curtain> "Hi mummy, I've just inserted a feeding tube up his nose" hmm

I found it far too overly familiar for the situation. Far more so than even using first names.

Back to "girls" (sorry mardybra) my post office had a sign up about being rude and aggressive to "the girls on the counter", the workers were all women over 50.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 23:58:06

Lottie, babies in the UK have their mother' s surname on the ward, so if mother and father have different names, baby will be Baby Mothersname.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 28-Oct-13 00:52:41

What you say is only true on the maternity ward doctrine, not at any other time in a child's life. My dd was admitted to a peadeatric ward, at five days old, in her own name.

If you're trying to gain someone's attention, in a room containing a number of people, calling them nothing doesn't work.

I do find the Mum thing strange and am sure it could be avoided in lots of situations where theres a bit less urgency but, in a busy hospital ward, with a number of staff involved, where the important thing is to administer effective treatment to a child, it was both quite understandable and the least of my concerns.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 28-Oct-13 01:32:38

Actually, personally, I found 'Mum' (first from a registrar a few years younger than me) quite touching, in that it acknowledged my still very new status as dd's mother and the importance of that role to her. Mostly, it made the point that she was the patient, the subject of every sentence, I was there in a supporting role, and they were busy.

Mostly, when things were calmer, in daily ward rounds and chats with nurses, no direct address was used and i was talked to as the competent adult I am but, when the doctor on duty, who i hadn't seen before, was trying to insert a new cannula without success at 3am, while I held her, I really didn't mind being addressed as Mum, or that he said 'sorry baby' rather than focusing on getting our names right.

I'd feel totally differently if a HCP at a regular appointment did it, as they have time for basic introductions and pleasantries.

DixonBainbridge Mon 28-Oct-13 10:00:22

So is there a specific age that a "Girl" becomes a "Woman" or is it relative - i.e. someone 30 years younger than you will be always be a Girl?

Thinking about the example of receptionists given above - our receptionists are young (sub 20) so isn't Girl accurate in this situation?

Although they're never actually referred to as individuals, just lumped into the faceless entity that is Reception - "You have to speak to Reception" etc. which could be considered even worse as they're not even considered to be individual people in their own right....

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 10:41:47

What age would you stop referring to a male as a boy, DB?

To me, 16-17 is the oldest I'd call someone a girl (or boy) and even then I'd probably use young woman. 18 would definitely be woman.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:04:37

I think "you'll have to talk to Reception" is fine, as is "you'll have to talk to Accounts" or whatever.

NotAsTired Mon 28-Oct-13 11:10:59

Interesting thread.

I was called mum by hospital staff when DS was horn, it took a little getting used to. DS's pre-school staff also called me mum, which always used to throw me.

I say guys to a mixed gender group. I also say folks. I say girls about the group of women I work with, it's an affectionate term. I only use it with people I am comfortable with.

I think the hardest one is when you don't know people very well or are complete strangers. For example, If I am talking to DS about a woman, who is within earshot, I usually say lady rather than woman because woman sounds rude "Wasn't that lady kind to...?" Actually, it's not something I am comfortable with but I haven't come up with an alternative. hmm

killpeppa Mon 28-Oct-13 11:11:56

I hate being called a women!
I'm not 90!
same with lady!

I'm a girl, separated from a guy.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:22:11

Agree NAT I do tend to use lady not woman like that, odd cos saying "man" doesn't feel rude in the same sentence.

YoniTime Mon 28-Oct-13 11:22:52

Are only 90 yo women women?

I'm not judging btw I also find it weird to be called a woman - and isn't that weird? Most adult men wouldn't find it weird to be called men I think. Man is something to be proud over. Man up, and so on. Why is woman thought of as possibly offensive but not girl I wonder? Is it because youth is valued so in female humans.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:22:58

Killpeppa, are you a girl til you are 90 then?

Howlsmovingcastle Mon 28-Oct-13 11:24:09

I always say 'Let's pay the LADY' at the till (not with that intonation, admittedly) to DS1 (2yo) because, as others have said, 'woman' would sound rude to me. I have no issues with the word 'man'.

The upshot is that as we pull away from the till, DS1 will cheerfully wave and shout 'BYE BYE LADY!!!!' which I find quite sweet and nicer than 'Bye bye woman' grin they always seem amused anyway!

But it is a pervading problem op, you are right (IMO of course, which is the humblest of such).

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:27:38

Yoni, I think it's that "ladies and gentlemen" is polite and gentleman is more likely to have evolved into "man"

Howlsmovingcastle Mon 28-Oct-13 11:31:01

I think it's historical language use yoni. I used to read a lot of Austen, Bronte, Elliott etc (not to mention Agatha Christie, to whom servant girls were emphatically NOT 'ladies' hmm) so the word 'woman' does imply not-lady to me.

killpeppa Mon 28-Oct-13 11:40:58

yep I shall be forever youngwink

no I just feel at 21 I'm not quite old enough to be called lady or women & it makes me feel awkward. god knows why.

NotAsTired Mon 28-Oct-13 11:44:33

Agree about the historical context too. Although women of a certain class were called gentlewomen though, weren't they?

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:45:01

Killpeppa, do you think of males your age as men or boys?

NotAsTired Mon 28-Oct-13 11:45:01


TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:56:15

Yes, NAT, not sure when that dropped out of favour.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:58:05

Yes, NAT, not sure when that dropped out of favour.

Howlsmovingcastle Mon 28-Oct-13 11:59:24

I think they were gentlewomen, yes. Let's re-introduce that into the workplace: 'What's up, gentles?' grin

killpeppa Mon 28-Oct-13 12:10:57

I think of them of boyswink

no seriously I'd just call them guys, if my friend said 'I met a man last night I'd picture him to be 50+'
no offends to those fellows of that agegrin

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