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"The girls." What's the difference between these?

(19 Posts)
MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 19-Jun-09 22:51:21

Is there a difference between these statements?

"The girls are going to a meeting about it" male colleague about more junior, but same age, female staff.

"I'm going out for a drink with the girls" Woman about female colleagues.

"That girl who's an MP around here..." Said by man.

And if there is a difference, how do you explain it to someone who "doesn't mean to offend" but is a bit old school.

MrsPickles Fri 19-Jun-09 23:06:04

I think all these statements are alright in that context.

I do think of girl = female under a certain age
But then "drinks with the girls" not necessarily under a certain age as group of say ladies in their 60s could refer to each other as girls quite easily.

1st statement - not offensive, if a group of females are going to a meeting, and also could refer jokily without offence to slightly older women surely. Doesn't imply girls = junior

(c) Probably most old fashioned statement as MP sounds unlikely to be a youngish female and a bit of a dismissive statement

Why do you feel the need to explain the difference?

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 19-Jun-09 23:18:04

a) would be women aged 30+ and professional. Not thick and there to be respected. Male is the new boss.

I'm wondering about the need to explain the difference because I don't like some of these statements. As you say, Mrs pickles, it's dismissive. But then, I don't have a problem with (b).

I can't properly work out why that is and how I'd explain it to someone.

BananaFruitBat Fri 19-Jun-09 23:20:09

I think it's because you're a little over-sensitive.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 19-Jun-09 23:23:13


That's a bit sharp.

This isn't AIBU you know.

YanknCock Fri 19-Jun-09 23:28:32

Is it because in statement A, it's about work-related stuff, while in statement B, it's about social things outside of work?

Statement A rubs me the wrong way a bit too. Is there some reason he didn't just say 'They are going to a meeting?'

Statement C, agree it sounds dismissive.

BananaFruitBat Fri 19-Jun-09 23:38:13

Sorry, I didn't mean it to come across as sharp, but I do genuinely think you're being a little (I stress the little) bit over-sensitive.

I work in a team of women aged 30+ and professional and our manager calls us girls.

But then she herself is a 30+ professional woman.

mablemurple Fri 19-Jun-09 23:41:01

"drinks with the girls" refers to a non-hierarchical social activity and you can call yourselves anything you want. I wouldn't use the phrase myself as I don't like it, but that's just me. The use of "girl(s)" in the other two sentences is definitely patronising and dismissive and reveals a lack of respect for adult women. Girls always = junior.

BananaFruitBat - perhaps you are not sensitive enough.

BananaFruitBat Fri 19-Jun-09 23:44:13

More likely that I'm in denial about my age.

juneybean Fri 19-Jun-09 23:47:30

The women are going to a meeting about it sounds horrible to me.

Since when does girl = junior, I am a girl! lol I'm certainly not a boy.

JudyBlume1019 Fri 19-Jun-09 23:48:08

I think that your new boss referring to a group of his contemporaries as 'the girls' is fucking patronising, and he shouldn't be such a twunt.

A woman referring to 'the girls' is more OK

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 19-Jun-09 23:48:47

Interesting. As a fiery feminist in my youth I hated being referred to as a "girl" once I was over 16 18, but now I'm 47 I'll quite happily tell DH I'm off for a night out with "the girls" when the youngest of us is 35 (and the oldest pushing 60). I wouldn't care for some young whippersnapper bloke to call us "girls" while we're out though - that has to be "ladies". Which, oddly enough, is another word I hated in my fiery feminist youth.

hmm at myself.

tigerdriver Fri 19-Jun-09 23:54:34

I would never say "off for a drink with the girls". But that's my preference and unimportant. Otherwise, what mablemurple said.

At work I refer to my team (mainly women) as "chaps, guys, or "dare I say this, ladies"". But I would bridle at someone else asking me to put one of my "girls" on a job. Girls are still at school, in work terms.

mablemurple Sat 20-Jun-09 00:15:40

Juney - did you not stop being a girl when you were about 12? Girls aren't adults, but women are smile.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 20-Jun-09 00:48:11

I was a woman between 18 and about 35, I think. Somehow I got mixed up with a bunch of women bikers and we all became girls when we met up. I think it started as taking the piss out of ourselves, in a way - we knew we were not girls, we knew we were not ladies, but we still talk to/about each other using those terms.

Still hmm at myself.

RibenaBerry Sat 20-Jun-09 09:36:52

For me a) depends upon the language this boss uses when referring to men. I know a guy who regularly refers to everyone as boys and girls (e.g. "the boys and Sarah are having a meeting about X"). In that context, I don't think it's offensive. I think it's more if a distinction is drawn between the language used for women and that for men.

Then again, I personally don't get too worked up about this type of thing. I know it really bothers some people...

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sat 20-Jun-09 12:51:03

See, I'm with Judy on this one grin

It's ok if it's amongst equals of gender and seniority, but I do find the first one patronising. And the third is just downright rude. IME.

It makes me cringe every time he does it, and I know I'm not the only one, so I think I just need to find a way to raise it without sounding stroppy.

Altagloria Sat 20-Jun-09 13:17:08

IMO it's ok to say 'girls' if you're including (or would include) yourself in that group, not ok if you're not.

So a) and c) are not ok! Very patronising and reveals their attitude towards women. They don't take women seriously.

woodstock3 Sat 20-Jun-09 20:46:31

i think it's not just the phrase "the girls" that's annoying about no 1. if he said "the women" it would still be bad - the point is drawing attention to the fact that it's all women - if a bunch of blokes were going off to a meeting (ie a normal situation, at least in my office hmm) would be be making a comment about "the men are going to have a meeting about it"? hard to know from the context but it sounds dismissive.
no 2 - wouldnt use it myself but not offended
no 3 - patronising but find it less offensive as its not about his colleagues (people say a LOT worse about MPs...)
that said i wouldnt make a fuss about it myself. worse things happen in offices adn anyone silly enough to use the word "girls" about grown women is silly enough not to understand why its patronising and to take offence at you for mentioning it. not worth it over relatively small beer

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