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women over 18 being referred to as girls

(39 Posts)
rainbowtoenails Wed 13-Jul-11 09:39:35

I know it's not as important a feminist issue as violence or the pay gap but i think it contributes to adult women not being taken seriously.

I'm going to get told to lighten up, amnt i?

queenofthemojavewasteland Wed 13-Jul-11 09:44:01

Lighten up, you have no sense of humour, etc :-)

It is a good point, and I do it myself for younger women (as I'm no longer in that category) but I do feel so belittled when someone calls me 'girl' etc, I'm 29 ffs!

MrsKarbonara Wed 13-Jul-11 09:44:14

I hate it. Really do. Really really. I am a 41 year old mother of 3. Way way beyond girlhood.

Darling and all variants from strangers make me cringe too.

Why does everyone have to lighten up anyway? What's the big crime in being serious sometimes?

lostinwales Wed 13-Jul-11 09:47:07

I hate it. Worse still I caught myself calling my group of female friends 'the girls' the other day and I cringed at how I must have sounded. We are all 30's/40's, not children in Lelli Kelli shoes.

Ooh, first post in Feminism. (Been lurking for a while)

Cattleprod Wed 13-Jul-11 09:50:38

I think there's a time and a place, as sometimes men are referred to as 'boys' too - boys night out, old boys etc.

What really pisses me off though is when adult people are referred to as 'men and girls' - happens a lot in songs, newspaper articles etc. Or even worse, in an article I read recently about a mother and her baby DS, she was referred to as a 'girl' and him a 'little man'.

Quenelle Wed 13-Jul-11 09:55:45

It irritates me too but it's so ingrained. I am planning a weekend get-together with three of my oldest friends (without husbands for a change) and we are all referring to it as the 'girlie weekend'. It should be the 'women's weekend' but that sounds wrong. Is the word 'women' falling out of use???

FaintlyMacabre Wed 13-Jul-11 10:04:48

I agree, it makes me cringe. However, I do think there aren't many ways to refer to a group of women in that kind of friendly way. Men can be 'guys', 'chaps', 'blokes' etc. There isn't an equivalent for women (that I can think of), so people fall back on 'girls'.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 13-Jul-11 10:14:52

Macabre, that's quite telling, isn't it, the lack of positive language for a group of women? A bit like all the female words that are use as insults (bitch, whore, cow ...)

I refer to myself as a girl sometimes (e.g. 'I don't read Marie Claire – I'm more of a Vogue girl') and with certain groups of friends we talk about our 'girly dinners' etc. But it's all about context. Women being referred to as girls in the press etc is not on. And there was a thread here recently about someone's boss introducing her to a work contact as 'the new girl', which I think is outrageous.

reelingintheyears Wed 13-Jul-11 10:16:24

My Mum is 86 and goes out for lunch every Tuesday with 'the girls'.

There are three of them and they've been friends since school.

Men call themselves 'boys'/lads too.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 13-Jul-11 10:19:38

That's what I mean by context, reeling. It's when others call women girls and it comes across as patronising or demeaning that I don't like it.

Your mum and her 'girls' sound fantastic! I hope I'm like that at 86.

karmakameleon Wed 13-Jul-11 10:23:32

I find it particularly annoying in a work context, eg the "girl from accounts". It's infuriating when you are trying to protect a professional image and it is absolutely never mirrored with "the boy in Sales" or similar.

reelingintheyears Wed 13-Jul-11 10:25:02 too.

AliceTwirled Wed 13-Jul-11 10:27:10

[waves at LostinWales]

Pisses me right off too.

And it's quite right there isn't a neutral term for referring to a group of women which is telling. I try and get in 'sisters' wherever I can to counter all the 'girls' wink

FWIW I do always consciously use women and young women even though it feels a bit odd. Now there's a word that does need reclaiming.

(Rainbow here is the one place you won't get told to lighten up but instead commended for noticing grin. All the 'little' things do contribute to the wider problems)

NotJustKangaskhan Wed 13-Jul-11 11:04:50

I agree alicetwirled, women as a group term does need reclaiming as normal.

We could also try lasses (the feminine of lads) and ladies, both of those sound just as odd as a neutral group title for women.

porpoisefull Wed 13-Jul-11 11:17:31

'Girls' as a term for women is only acceptable IMO if used in a situation where 'boy' or 'lads' might be used, e.g. 'girls' night out' and 'boys' night out' are both used by my group of friends. And sometimes in a shop I'm served by someone who I definitely think of as young (aged mid-30s emoticon) so a 'girl' or a 'lad'. But 'the girls and the men' makes my teeth itch.

loiner45 Wed 13-Jul-11 11:21:18

I agree ladyclarice context is key

I'm mid 50's and will still refer to "girl's night out" etc but also object to the use of 'girls' when it should read 'women'!

I also don't object to being called "luv" or "dear" or "chuck" in those parts of the country where this is a normal term of affectionate address (usually for both sexes) - having grown up in't North I am now part of the great missionary movement to civilise the South wink so really enjoy some 'terms of endearment' - other times someone calling me 'love' or 'dear' would send me into contemplating strangling them with my bare hands.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 13-Jul-11 11:36:18

Yes, I'm OK with being called 'love, 'chuck', 'duck' etc ('duck' in Derbyshire is particularly great as it is also used by, and to, people of all ages and both genders!). I also get 'darling', mainly from men – and women, come to think of it – on market stalls and in Turkish shops. I'm fine with all of that. 'Thankyou, darling' as someone hands you your massive box of baklava change is very different from the word being screamed out of a white van or some scaffolding in the middle of an unsavoury sentence and accompanied by disgusting hand gestures.

joaninha Wed 13-Jul-11 12:49:45

On account of this thread, I'm going to reclaim the word "woman". When talking to my DS about other women I use the term "lady" because sometimes "woman" seems a bit derogatory which in itself is a sorry state of affairs.

"Lady" to me conjures up images of Victorian ladies embroidering and bossing servants about and I don't like it very much. Not that there's anything wrong with being a Victorian lady embroidering and apologies to any who are still knocking about. grin (oh and apologies to you LadyClarice especially cos totally agreed with your "context" post!!)

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 13-Jul-11 12:54:19

No offence taken at all, joaninha! I of course only Mumsnet inbetween bossing sessions and embroidery jags but I accept that I'm probably in the minority. grin

I don't like 'ladies' applied to women either. It does sound a bit violet-creams and oddly patronising. It's difficult to know what to use though ... I think the word 'woman' has developed connotations of being a bit 'humourless feminist', but then again I always say I'm a humourless feminist and proud of it, so I think it might be 'woman' for me from now on. And 'women', which of course is often applied to humourless feminists but spelled, hilariously, 'wimmin'. Let's reclaim it! <humourless grin>

Ephiny Wed 13-Jul-11 14:00:34

It depends a bit on the context, but generally I find it annoying. Especially when used as the equivalent of 'men'.

Hate it when men refer to going on a date/sleeping with 'a girl'. I always want to ask 'oh really, and how long have you been a pedophile?' hmm.

I think it's really odd how people feel that 'women' is somehow an impolite or derogatory term. How did that happen?

Diziet Mon 25-Jul-11 21:26:23

I quite like being called a girl actually. Also, a Scottish lady I used to know used to call me 'hen'. Lately I've become something of an armchair anarchist so I occasionally call my woman friends 'sisters' (just to remind them that I'm not taking myself THAT seriously). Yikes, life's too short ...! wink

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 26-Jul-11 09:54:37

I quite like 'hen' as it seems to be applied to women of all ages. Also I used to live in Glasgow so I'm fond of it in a nostalgic way!

KellyKettle Tue 26-Jul-11 10:17:28

Oh yes, I hate women being called girls and ladies - though I am not sure why I dislike ladies so much. It is terribly difficult to find a substitute though. I run some groups which are mainly women and struggle when addressing them all. I tend to say "everyone" or just "you".

I also dislike "guys" but I think that's mainly because its a masculine description applied to women too.

If I send an email to a group of female friends I tend to address it to "My lovelies".

Pootles2010 Tue 26-Jul-11 10:21:08

Must say I don't really have a problem with it. I'd describe a weekend away for women as 'girlie weekend' in the same way as dp would refer to a 'boys weekend' or 'lads holiday'.

'Men's weekend away' sounds just as wierd as 'women's weekend away'.

I'd only have an issue with someone referring to 'men and girls'.

tipping Tue 26-Jul-11 10:35:44

I also try to use the worh "woman". I first started to about 15 years ago in my first proper job where I worked with a canadian. She was horrified that the word "girl" was used to describe adult women.

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