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refusing to say 'Lady'

(46 Posts)
MyPeriodFeatures Fri 20-May-16 10:49:32

I have a son who is fast approaching 3. I'm so fed up with hearing the word 'Lady'

'Pay the lady'

'Say thank you to the Lady'


It is loaded with so much about what it means to be female. There is no secondary term used to speak about men in common use.

'Pay the geezer/bloke/gent'

'Mind out, let the bloke past'

We never say it do we?!!

Men are Men and don't have a term of address loaded with notions of vulnerability or anything else in common use

I've got a bee in my bonnet about this at the moment. I encourage my son to refer to females as women.

UmbongoUnchained Fri 20-May-16 10:51:26

Well yes, they have gentlemen...

"Pay the gentleman"

BerylMeeps Fri 20-May-16 10:54:03

My dd says woman/man/lady/gentleman

Totally reasonable.

SavoyCabbage Fri 20-May-16 10:55:48

I say gentleman.

ChronicNameChangerz Fri 20-May-16 10:56:19

'Pay the geezer/bloke/gent'

'Mind out, let the bloke past'

grin I so wish I'd encouraged my DD to refer to men as blokes and geezers

I hate the words lady and gentleman. I always said 'man' and 'woman' when talking to my DD when she was younger.

MyPeriodFeatures Fri 20-May-16 10:56:30

Seriously when did you last hear a man being referred to as a gentleman in everyday life?

'Ladies night'

'Ladies room'


UmbongoUnchained Fri 20-May-16 10:58:20

I hear it all the time. Must be where you live.

MyPeriodFeatures Fri 20-May-16 10:59:03

Chronic. Good. Ha ha. I'm really surprised people regularly refer to men as gentleman?!! Is this regional thing maybe? It sounds a bit archaic to me.

MyPeriodFeatures Fri 20-May-16 11:01:10

Or maybe I'm uncivilised .

UmbongoUnchained Fri 20-May-16 11:01:29

It must be.
I think as long as you're not addressing someone as "cunt" or "wanker" it doesn't really matter.

FamousSeamus Fri 20-May-16 11:01:34

I have a four year old and always say 'man' and 'woman' to him. 'Lady' is archaic, limiting and annoying, and it says a lot about our society than 'woman' seems to be seen as 'blunt' or 'rude', when 'man' is just what you call male people.

SocialDisaster Fri 20-May-16 11:04:20

I did the "lady" thing until recently and now use woman. Education is key! Keep going.

"Geezer" reminds me of Phil Mitchell. grin

MyPeriodFeatures Fri 20-May-16 11:04:54

FamousSeamus yes, I think you've summed it up. I've just done a quick google of 'pejorative' and now I know what it means think it could be that!

stiffstink Fri 20-May-16 11:07:45

DS is 4 and he says lady and gentleman. I don't know if it is something I've encouraged, but I find the sound of woman and man quite abrupt in my broad accent, so maybe its subconsciously happened?

Lady and gentleman sound equally genteel to me. <thinks about how odd the word genteel is>

DS does actual call DH a geezer though. As in "The geezer's home!"

SpeakNoWords Fri 20-May-16 11:08:28

I agree with you MyPeriodFeatures and my DS aged nearly 4 will say "man" or "woman", (or sometimes "person"!) never lady or gentleman. I think FamousSeamus has summed up how I feel about it.

ApocalypseSlough Fri 20-May-16 11:14:08

100% disagree with you I'm afraid.
•Lady is wrong at work and easily avoided Dear Team/ your client etc.
•in health care settings
But in shops and social settings 'pay the woman/ let the woman pass' is rude. And I would use gentleman when referring to an unknown man to someone else.

FamousSeamus Fri 20-May-16 11:16:35

I think there's a certain amount of social history attached to why 'woman' is seen as less neutral than 'man'. Some of it's a lingering class and perceived respectability thing, where 'woman' was for a long time specifically used to refer to someone female who was lower on the social scale than you, eg a 'lady' might have a charwoman come in to clean her house.

In the 19thc the kind of impoverished middle-class woman who ended up becoming a governess because she had few other options as an unmarried and impoverished 'gentlewoman' would cling to the designation of 'lady'. And it's not accidental that a 'fallen woman' was not a 'fallen lady'. (Likewise 'Other Woman'.)

Possibly related, but some women who are well into adulthood seem to have difficulty in knowing what to call a bunch of female people collectively, and part of it must be some discomfort with 'woman'/'lady'. I personally cringe when friends who are my age and older (mid-40s) talking about 'a girl I work with' - I used to assume they meant a much younger school-leaver/intern or something, but when I actually met these people they were in their thirties and 40s. I would be referring to female colleagues as 'women I work with', but some people seem to not use this, oddly?

sixinabed Fri 20-May-16 11:18:14

I know what you mean, and feel awkward about saying lady or woman - lady feel old fashioned, and woman sounds rude for some reason.
But I'm not sure why/how lady is limiting? Although plural ladies is utterly hideous. Hmm.

FamousSeamus Fri 20-May-16 11:18:30

But in shops and social settings 'pay the woman/ let the woman pass' is rude.

Yes, it seems to be widely considered rude, but why? It's a purely neutral term, the same as 'man'. Why isn't 'woman' equivalently neutral to 'man' in terms of 'Let the man pass' interactions?

ApocalypseSlough Fri 20-May-16 11:18:42

Famous so you'd tell your toddler to 'let the woman pass' referring to an older 70+ female?

sixinabed Fri 20-May-16 11:20:11

X post, famous articulates and answers my post very well

SpeakNoWords Fri 20-May-16 11:21:34

yes, why is "woman" rude? I would definitely say "let the woman pass" if referring to an elderly woman.

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 11:27:57

I wouldnt say pay the man either. It'salways been lady/gentleman in that sort of context. It feels rude to say give that woman your ticket/mind that man/give the woman your money. but it feels rude to call a woman a lady in other situations. Hello ladies grin
But now im thinking about it - i cannot explain why. It simply doesnt make sense. But i instinctively know whether to use woman or lady and man or gentleman. I evidentally have rules hmm. I cant explain it.
Actually, it has more in common with grammar than anything else.
It's bloody odd when i think of it.

SocialDisaster Fri 20-May-16 11:29:08

If you struggle with 'woman' in a shop situation, try adding 'nice woman' to begin with?

RufusTheReindeer Fri 20-May-16 11:31:46

I say lady and gentleman

Ds17 has just said he would say pay the person...hmm

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