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To think this is belittling and not ok in a workplace

(27 Posts)
Littleallovertheshop Sat 20-Feb-16 14:59:16

Didn't get a photo but was in a cafe where several school aged looking and middle aged women were working (irrelevant really). There was also one youngish guy who looked about school age too. There was a large, typed, laminated sign with "Girls make sure you..." with something about serving the cakes on it. Someone had added a male name as an after thought in pen.

I can't decide, AIBU to think "Girls" is quite a patronising way to refer to any group of Females? I can't imagine seeing "boys" or even "Girls and boys" in that scenario.

It's not major, it doesn't really matter but I'm becoming more and more aware of these things and it annoys me a bit!


wasonthelist Sat 20-Feb-16 15:08:07

I was telling a male friend (and his GF) who refers to colleagues in his office as "girls" I thought he was out of line recently. Him and his GF looked at me as if I was from Mars. Shortly before this they were taking the piss out of my non-metropolitan ways (I don't live in London or go there any more than I have to). I think it's past its sell-by date as collective noun for anyone other than primary schoolers.

AlpacaMyThings Sat 20-Feb-16 15:35:05

doesn't bother me

GingerMerkin Sat 20-Feb-16 15:44:38

I used to make a point of calling the men at work boys if they referred to me as a girl. I actually didn't mind but used to enjoy their expression when it happened.

CooPie10 Sat 20-Feb-16 15:52:34

Doesn't bother me either.

Quietwhenreading Sat 20-Feb-16 15:58:29

I might collectively refers to my friends as 'the girls' but wouldn't expect anyone in a professional context to ever refer to me as a girl.

Abed Sat 20-Feb-16 15:59:00

Doesn't bother me, if anything at my workplace it's other women using the word 'girls or ladies' etc rather than the men.

insancerre Sat 20-Feb-16 16:01:04

I hate it and always have done

museumum Sat 20-Feb-16 16:01:10

I'm someone who uses "girls" and "boys" to refer to grown people in social settings. But still I don't like it in work situations.
Dh used to think it was odd I used "boys" but meh whatever.

Alexa444 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:08:08

On tills where I work we often get referred to as the girls. Or now that we have a boy its the girls and elliot. Never particularly bothered anyone and elliot frequently refers to himself as a checkout chick. We are all pretty laid back though.

Error404usernamenotfound Sat 20-Feb-16 16:19:14

I can't stand it when people (of any gender) refer to women as 'girls' whilst calling men 'men'; even if it's not deliberate it is a sign of ingrained misogyny, IMHO. If you call women 'girls' and men 'boys' then fair enough. In a professional or formal capacity, I think it should always be 'women' and 'men' though.

That sign in the OP's post doesn't bother me too much, assuming it was written by the cafe workers themselves, presumably when there were no men working there, and not by a head office somewhere! A part of me thinks they should have completely rewritten the sign to remove the 'girls' bit entirely, but it's not worth thinking about too much.

SilverViking Sat 20-Feb-16 16:19:26

What is the non-patronising, non-offensive, politically correct way refer to any group of Females?
I always use girls ... and indeed boys, ("the boys at work did xyz, and one of the girls said bla-bla-bla")
Thinking about it, that would be very common around here!

serin Sat 20-Feb-16 16:37:20

Where I work it's 'Guys' for everyone.

Birdsgottafly Sat 20-Feb-16 16:45:17

""What is the non-patronising, non-offensive, politically correct way refer to any group of Females?""

Depends on their age, girls or women, usually covers it.

Historical Context, 'Girls', was a easy way of disempowering groups of women.

Watch old films, read adverts, study the laws and why they were implimented etc, women were infantilised, not listened to, for decorative purposes etc and needed to understand their place, the language used linked into that.

Birdsgottafly Sat 20-Feb-16 16:46:49

Just to add, I use 'girls' for my adult DDs and personal group, but I also use 'Lads', but it doesn't have a place in professional life.

MatildaTheCat Sat 20-Feb-16 16:51:46

I don't understand what the sign actually said <misses the point>. Why can't you just tell us exactly what was written?

I'm happy with 'Girls', it's how I refer to my rapidly aging friends, it's just a casual phrase.

Tanito279 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:58:26

My female boss refers to the admin team as "my admin girls" and it's usually followed by "have done X wrong. I hate it. Half of the team are older than her but as we're less qualified we're only girls.

0hCrepe Sat 20-Feb-16 17:11:39

I've heard people refer to lads eg 'I'll get the lads to finish this bit' in building work. Rather than being sexist I think it can imply a subordinate role, but often carried out by the same gender. So the girls in the office; the lads in the workshop.

Littleallovertheshop Sat 20-Feb-16 17:56:25

Um because I can't remember word for word? I'd assume it was written by head office actually. It was along the lines of

"GIRLS, make sure you close the cabinet door after serving a customer" or similar

Kbear Sat 20-Feb-16 18:11:26

Along similar lines - at Christmas do last year boss was giving little speech before we left for the restaurant and said "the ladies are all looking pretty today".......

I'll leave that with you....

RealityCheque Sat 20-Feb-16 18:15:47

Nothing wrong with it.

Not everything has to be an issue in real life, despite mn opinion. Hell, even YOU, OP can't decide if there's a problem.


steff13 Sat 20-Feb-16 18:17:31

"Girls" doesn't bother me, but "females" does.

Fluffyears Sat 20-Feb-16 18:21:27

I used to smile when my mum referred to 'the girls' at her work, everyone of them was 40+ so definitely grown women.

Sofiria Sat 20-Feb-16 18:21:31

I hate this. Had an otherwise lovely manager who used to refer to our team as 'girls' on a regular basis and I found it belittling and unprofessional. We were all female, but ranged in age from mid-20s to late 50s. Women, in other words. Not girls. Using 'women' to address us would have been odd, yes, but there's nothing wrong with saying 'everyone' or the department/team name instead.

My general rule is to see if it would sound odd or unnatural if gender-switched. 'Boys' for a group of adult males usually does.

I also find it interesting how teenagers and younger adults are referred to in print - a 17-year-old male, for instance, can be described as a man or a boy depending on the tone of the article, but women in their early twenties are often still described as girls, whereas '20-year-old boy' sounds absurd.

treaclesoda Sat 20-Feb-16 18:32:59

my otherwise lovely senior boss at work refers to us as girls and not one of us is under 40. It does grate with me. But, having said that, at the other end of the office where all the men sit (that isn't deliberate segregation, it is just coincidence) they do tend to refer to each other as 'the boys' so it makes me feel unreasonable that I feel put out by being referred to as a girl...

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