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Isn't it about time we stopped referring to women as girls?

(102 Posts)
PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 17:18:28

I've been thinking about this today and wondering what impact it has on how we view both women and girls. Does it assist the blurring of the age of consent? Or how we reduce women's value by talking about them as children.

And thoughts.

GunsAndRoses Wed 16-Jan-13 01:52:53

I was sat in the dentist chair the other day and as the injection was being administered the dentist said 'good girl'. Seriously WTF, I am in my late thirties! I was not impressed!

TeiTetua Tue 06-Nov-12 13:51:27

I think you could talk about a "girls' weekend" in the same tone of voice as a "boys' weekend". But the lack of any female equivalent to blokes, guys, chaps, fellows seems to say something about how we think about women versus men. And it's not that having informal ways to refer to people is either elevating them or demeaning them--it's just that we're used to talking about men in a neutral way. And somehow when we want to do the same about women, we haven't got the language.

grumpyinthemornings Tue 06-Nov-12 12:57:54

DP has nights out "with the lads". Or "boy's weekends". But I hate when people call me a girl. Or a young woman. I'm a grown-up, thanks. grin

Hullygully Sat 03-Nov-12 21:44:48



SinisterSal Sat 03-Nov-12 21:34:06

I wonder how it works in other languages.
Maybe we can adopt one of their words, if indeed they have one

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 02-Nov-12 18:51:31

YY Owed.

OwedToAutumn Fri 02-Nov-12 18:50:11

We need a word like bloke that refers to women in an informal way. Suggestions, please!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 02-Nov-12 18:41:02

Master has kind of dropped out of use, droid!

droid400004 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:10:09

Sistersal - first time my toddler had an appointment at our new practice I was stunned to hear him called 'Mr' - seriously? he is 2 for heavens sake! Titles need updating!

droid400004 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:08:40

I don't mind the use of 'girls' for adult women in a jovial way, as long as 'boys' is similarly used for men. However, I hate the way the expression 'young girls' since to vary massively in age compared to 'young boys'. To me a 'girl' is someone under 18 (ie. not an adult and therefore not a woman) and therefore a 'young girl' in in the lower end of that range. A young girl is 7 not 17! a 17 year old is a young woman! I agree that it trivialises women. I always correct people who say 'girl' when they mean 'woman'!

grimbletart Fri 02-Nov-12 15:58:54

Today I had two online Christmas catalogues turn up (in one wrapper - same business).
One was "Presents for Men". The other was "Gifts for the Girls".

At least the "girls" one was not pink!

Yep can't stand this.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 02-Nov-12 14:18:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SinisterSal Fri 02-Nov-12 14:14:24

'Comradesghip' is the concept I'm trying to get at, I think

SinisterSal Fri 02-Nov-12 14:12:53

Yes, historically there weren't too many equivalents of women mixing in sports teams, schools, colleagues, etc, not none of course. But most women's groups were to do with women filling women's roles, rather than assuming other identities. Its only lately that we've really needed an informal yet respectful word for women tat doesn't focus on their femaleness. So any word that weuse is a modern construct and hence a bitclunky.

ParsingFancy Fri 02-Nov-12 08:52:36

Yes, the fact so many films fail the really very low barrier of the Bechdel Test suggests women in groups - other than those centred round a man - are not very visible.

For those who haven't come across it, for a film to pass the Bechdel Test,
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

PosieParker Fri 02-Nov-12 08:39:53

Because women in groups are not encouraged?

So we haven't been allowed, women are the 'wives' the 'mothers' and so as a force/pack we possibly haven't existed for long in our own right. We've spent too much time being the 'other' to warrant having a name.

SinisterSal Fri 02-Nov-12 01:15:17

IN the world, that should be.

SinisterSal Fri 02-Nov-12 01:13:50

Its an informal thing in common useage. The q is whyarent there more informal words for women that refer to us being out and about the world in different contexts.
Its interesting, its the inverse of the title debate, men are Mr always but women are claimed, unclaimed or ranting hairy lesbian divorcee.

RevoltingPeasant Wed 31-Oct-12 20:22:51

Have only read first page of thread - this is a PET hate of mine. I posted a thread the other week about how a consultant deigned to explain a scan to me with the line 'You're a very bright girl, I think you'll understand this'.

I am a 33yo married professional - and the point he was explaining was really not difficult to grasp - piece of basic statistics. It is demeaning.

I work at a university and refer to female undergrads as 'women'.

Sneaks off to actually read thread.....

OneMoreChap Mon 29-Oct-12 17:10:16

Don't know that I am, really.
I've largely stopped calling women girls since 1975 or so...

37 years later I'm hearing "Isn't it about time we stopped referring to women as girls?"

No, I don't think it blurs the age of consent - unlike the appalling Harman, who worked for an organisation that had links to the Paedophile Information Exchange, I understand.

I don't think it devalues women, but it's inappropriate. For most users, it's an artifact of speech.

PosieParker Mon 29-Oct-12 16:51:19

I think, OMC, you're missing the wider issues.

OneMoreChap Mon 29-Oct-12 16:33:19

Difficult. Some thoughts

I never saw it as an issue until it was fairly roughly pointed out me in the 70s by someone in Women's Voice. I did enjoy it later when she asked where the "Ladies" was. I pointed and said female toilets are over there.

Since then, I've tried to avoid it.


Hard to see why calling a woman a lass is patronising, when I'd quite happily call a man lad. But then I'm a Northern boy. [See?]

Referring to groups? Probably say, "OK, guys, in this release we'll..." whether it's men/women/mixed.

You don't want girls? Fine, but don't ask for ladies.

"Would you say the right boy?" Yep, as in "Can I have a big strong boy over here..." when the team's average age is 30s [excluding me]. Most likely to say girls only in the phrase "Boys and girls" because they're all so damn young...

Politely addressing people? Sir or Ma'am, used to be for folk older than me, now as I'm older than Methuselah anyone who I'm in a service relationship with.

I quite dislike being first-named by people who are serving me in shops, or health professionals. I think I should be Mr'd, or Sir'd. I'd not call someone by first name on first meeting but that's very old fashioned.

People I'm close/affectionate to/with are quite likely to get surnamed, as in "Hey, Chap. Coming for a swift half?"

I suspect we shouldn't do it, but there are other issues I'd rather focus on...

Slumberparty Mon 29-Oct-12 14:27:08

This is actually something I had never thought about until I read a similar complaint on 'The everyday sexism project'. Then I noticed it a lot and started to get annoyed!
Just te other week at work I took on some extra work to help out a department, and the PM said "Seems like you're the right girl for the job". At 29 I am not a girl. I don't think he would have said "You're the right boy for the job" to a man unless he wanted to offend / undermine him!

beyondcrazy Sat 27-Oct-12 19:41:22

I noticed this during BBC olympics coverage of women's sport - "What an accomplishment for these girls" etc. Drove me insane and I was going to write to complain but life with tiny baby did not leave me time to do so.
I deliberately avoid using the word "girl" when referring to anyone over about 18. Sometimes I slip up and teh g-word pops out, but I correct myself and repeat the sentence with "woman" instead. They usually don't comment but I can tell the person I'm speaking to notices the deliberate change and I hope it influences them to think about their language too.

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