Advanced search wish my mum wouldn't refer to middle aged women as 'poor little kid'?!

(23 Posts)
erebus Fri 27-May-11 09:37:37

OK, completely trivial, I know but this is the place to rant about trivialities, isn't it?

I have a cousin exactly a year younger than me. I have no direct contact with her but I know here to be a happy-go-lucky sort of woman, but she'd need to be what with the knocks life has dealt her; allergy causing her to have to give up her hairdressing job, jail bird DH (nice bloke but inevitable ishooz with their DS being teased at school and his virtual unemployability), no money (see above!), constant breaking down of domestic appliances (usually bought as recons due to tight finances), DH's work boat (very seasonal income!) needing a new engine, PLUS her recent diagnosis of a nasty incurable all adds up to real bad luck (with a teensy bit of poor choices, like with everyone's life).

But when my mother recounts this as heard from her own sister, the woman's mother, apart from the edge of schadenfreud I always detect, mum refers to my cousin in a patronising 'aw, poor little kid' manner.

She's 46!

I also object to the young male doctors at work referring to the late middle aged women in the booking office as 'the girls'.

Now wonder women don't get respect in our society when older women and younger men refer to them as 'girls'!

themildmanneredjanitor Fri 27-May-11 09:40:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squeakytoy Fri 27-May-11 09:41:20

You sound like the sort of person who goes around looking for things to be "offended" by.

bleedingstill Fri 27-May-11 09:43:18

im late 40s and more than happy to be referred to as a girl!

MonstaMunch Fri 27-May-11 09:47:49

what squeaky said

Birdsgottafly Fri 27-May-11 09:48:18

Both my partner and i often refer to the men that he works with as 'the lads', they are the same age as our eldest children and we knew some of them growing up.

One of my bridesmaids (aged 8) had a very tough time as an adult (she is now passed away, aged 26) but i never think of her in adult terms, i always think of her as a 'youngster', it is a term of affection.

Birdsgottafly Fri 27-May-11 09:49:19

Just to add calling them 'the lads' doesn't mean that we respect them any less.

tabulahrasa Fri 27-May-11 09:52:50

My nephew turned 18 last week, he's passed his driving test, he's just about to leave college and is to almost everyone a young man, to me though, he's still the 3 year old who cried because I took him to the zoo then got massively excited because he saw a seagull. I don't think I'll ever really think of him as an adult.

erebus Fri 27-May-11 10:11:50

Don't you think, though, that by referring to grown adults as children, we are actually showing disrespect? We imply a childlike inability to 'cope', and in doing so maybe we 'big' ourselves up as 'the adults'?

I wish my mother would view my cousin as an impressive and strong woman who has more than demonstrated her maturity and tenaciousness in the face of great adversity and is actually to be admired, not referred to as a 'poor little kid'. It's demeaning and patronising.

And there are gender issues here: Regarding a grown man who heads out for 'a beer with the lads', this confers upon him and them a desirable, raffish, youthful air, a brief return to the environment of his prime at the peak of his virility, something to be smiled at, at worst. Calling 50 year old women in a booking office 'girls' implies their helpless subservience.

themildmanneredjanitor Fri 27-May-11 10:12:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MonstaMunch Fri 27-May-11 10:15:54

blimey, you have a lot of thinking time on your hands OP

dont you have girls nights out, or girlie nights in

crazynanna Fri 27-May-11 10:17:41

being a londoner,i call everyone 'girl'...even the 'fellas'

squeakytoy Fri 27-May-11 10:24:34

You can use as many long words as you like, but its still a load of bollocks. smile

erebus Fri 27-May-11 10:24:34

This all perhaps goes to show that women's biggest problem with entrenched sexism does come from other women despite the 'received wisdom' that it's all men's faults!

For the record, we actually refer to our nights out as 'the old bat club'. Seriously. And the docs at work are told in as many words not to mess with us 'middle aged old bats' as we form a decent slab of the workforce. They soon find out their smarming and wheedling doesn't get met by girly eyelash fluttering and compliance. We are not 'the girls', we are fellow workers worthy of the same respect as them.

erebus Fri 27-May-11 10:25:37

or squeaky, maybe it's an intelligence issue?....

squeakytoy Fri 27-May-11 10:29:54

I think it more derogatory to call yourself an "old bat" than a "girl". But hey, if it keeps you happy and less entrenched.

I am 42 and would much rather be considered a girl than middle aged.

Even in her late 70's my mum still went out for lunch with "the girls".

squeakytoy Fri 27-May-11 10:32:01

Oh, I am perfectly capable of understanding your words. I just wonder if you talk that way in real life. I prefer to type the words I use in everyday language rather than sound like I am parroting a chapter of "Feminism for beginners".

mumblechum1 Fri 27-May-11 10:36:49

My mum also refers to her mates as the girls.

She'll be 80 next year smile

Ormirian Fri 27-May-11 10:37:10

I don't like the use of the word girl or girls about adults. But this is a bit differenet. She says it because she always looks on her as being her sister's child. My parents refer to DB and I as 'the children'.

whackamole Fri 27-May-11 10:39:34

My mum does the same, anyone under her age (, 46!) is a boy or girl.

It annoys me a bit but I don't overthink it too much.

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 27-May-11 11:04:06


Tho I think there's a different dynamic when families continue to infantilise members than when people who only know each other as adults use infantilising terms.

It's interesting.

I find it challenging but exciting to start thinking of people as adults when I once changed their nappies. Even more so when they get offered research posts or open their own businesses.

It's a huge change in the pecking order, but one I must accept graciously and indeed celebrate, as it means they're doing well. My seniority to them came purely from age and has now largely vanished. Hurray, we're equals!

Not a comfortable shift to make, but a rather wonderful one.

Reading some of the posts above, I can't help thinking of all those threads about "DM/DIL doesn't seem to realise that we're grownups and are ourselves parents now."

Birdsgottafly Fri 27-May-11 11:41:58

Op it is you that hasput the negative conotation on the term 'girls' as opposed to 'lads'. You are assuming a lack of respect towards females. I come from a matriarcal family and have £DD's, so it does not enter my head to think in terms of gender (i am aware that this is not the case in wider society). I would not consider one group superior to another. Terms become offensive when applied to people that we don't know, for example using the term 'good girl' to an adult with learning difficulties or infantilising elderly people, so i do see where you are coming from, but imo it is different (and acceptable) within families.

Birdsgottafly Fri 27-May-11 11:43:50

3 DD's sorry for the typo's. BTW anyone who called me an 'old bat' would get 'floored'.

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