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So, this is just light hearted conversation

32 replies

Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:22

I would describe myself as a woman, not a lady. I am definitely not a lady. But when my kids were young, if I had to talk about someone, I would use the terms lady or gentlemen, for example 'move out the way so the lady can get through' I always felt it was more respectful, but not very feminist, if you see what I mean. Anyway, I know I am over thinking it, especially since my youngest is at high school and travels independently now. But has anyone else had this quandary?

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Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:22

In their own head obviously

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BiBoop · 09/09/2022 23:24

I hate it if I'm called "lady" & not "girl"
Its shit getting old. 😟

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Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:29

Sometimes if someone calls me lady I say I am not a lady. Nicely, but firmly

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ClumpingBambooIsALie · 09/09/2022 23:31

It would just feel wrong somehow if someone speaking to their small child referred to me as "the woman". It's weird isn't it? Slightly weirder when they refer to me as "the man" when I'm 5'5" on a good day and a HH cup.

I think maybe "the lady" implies that this is a person you, the small child, should show respect to, rather than it meaning anything about refinement or being treated as delicate or some of the more condescending connotations. Among adults ideally nobody's intrinsically deserving of greater respect or reference or condescension, so lady is reserved for taking about women en masse (for some reason).

But that's not exactly right, either — adults aren't necessarily higher than children in a respect hierarchy (though they do obviously need to be treated differently).

Can we just go with "it's cultural"?

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MenaiMna · 09/09/2022 23:35

I too am no lady (but I like to have nice manhers) definitely Female and GC. I have been misgendered loads of times over 50yrs and don't care at all for myself. But I have taught myself to carefully say to rambunctious DD for example: "the person in the blue jumper (or other non-sex descriptor) wants to get past" "Careful not to run into the brown-haired person (ditto) on your left" etc because people now are too senditive to misgendering. I have also used "they" to refer to individual people in third person for decades to save accusations of getting it wrong. Easier not to give them a chance to perform how offended they can be.

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Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:43

I have a 20 year old child and a part time job at primark so I am elbow deep in the new culture (I keep my thoughts to myself) I think it is just cultural, lady sounds better. Although the other day in Aldi I called the cashier a gentleman, for the same reasons despite the fact he was definitely nb

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Beansycheese · 09/09/2022 23:43

Not maliciously, a reflex action

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avamiah · 10/09/2022 00:01

BiBoop · 09/09/2022 23:24

I hate it if I'm called "lady" & not "girl"
Its shit getting old. 😟

Tell me about it.

Last year a young woman, lady, female, offered me her seat on the underground and I have to say I didn’t like it and made it known. I may be 49 and a size 16 but I’m no shrinking violet and told the young person in a nice manner that I don’t need her seat as my fat stomach does not contain a baby.

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avamiah · 10/09/2022 00:10

Shall we just say young person or old person or fat person or thin person or black person or asian person or if the person is a dwarf do we say small person?

Its just ridiculous.

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Beansycheese · 12/09/2022 01:26

God, you can't say old person on Mumsnet

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youkiddingme · 12/09/2022 21:26

I was brought up with gentleman and lady as polite versions of man and woman. I don't really get what the fuss is about. I'm quite happy to be called a little old lady too. Perfectly accurate.

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KohlaParasaurus · 12/09/2022 21:42

I was brought up to say "lady" and "gentleman" and still do most of the time. My youngest daughter would usually say "person". I don't mind being called a lady or a woman, would be surprised but not upset to be mistaken for a gentleman (I was often mistaken for a boy when I was a child), but wouldn't like to be called a girl since I'm in my fifties and there's nothing girlish about me. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was when a male friend described me as "a lady with tomboyish tendencies".

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tunainatin · 12/09/2022 21:46

I was told that 'woman' originates from 'woe of man', going back to the Christian idea of Adam being tempted by Eve, and so lady is a good alternative.
I do always feel bemused if it's used to refer to me though!

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ClumpingBambooIsALie · 12/09/2022 22:25

tunainatin · 12/09/2022 21:46

I was told that 'woman' originates from 'woe of man', going back to the Christian idea of Adam being tempted by Eve, and so lady is a good alternative.
I do always feel bemused if it's used to refer to me though!

Nope. From Old English wif-man meaning more or less, in modern English, woman-person.

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deydododatdodontdeydo · 12/09/2022 22:27

tunainatin · 12/09/2022 21:46

I was told that 'woman' originates from 'woe of man', going back to the Christian idea of Adam being tempted by Eve, and so lady is a good alternative.
I do always feel bemused if it's used to refer to me though!

You were told wrong. That's nonsense.

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ClumpingBambooIsALie · 12/09/2022 22:29

Funnily enough the male equivalent would be wer-man, meaning man-person. Like in werewolf.

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Sickoffamilydrama · 12/09/2022 22:34

It's just a turn of phrase and especially when using it to teach children not to manage to hog the whole pavement/doorway/corridor is fine.

Although I have to say I went on holiday recently and I was surprised the first time the pool bartender called me Mam not sure why as he was just being polite but I'm not a Mam in my head although it did sound rather nice in his accent.

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EfingNora · 22/09/2022 04:48

@BiBoop

"I hate it if I'm called "lady" & not "girl"
Its shit getting old. 😟"

Wait till someone calls you madam! This happens to me regularly in one of my local shops. The first time was a shocker, made me feel about 90, but it was so obvious that the guy was trying to be respectful that I took it as it was intended.

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ReeseWitherfork · 22/09/2022 04:59

“Lady” is one of those words I struggle with. I don’t mind when people start a group text “hello ladies” and also find myself saying it to DC in a similar context to the OP. It doesn’t offend me in the slightest, but I know it does others, so my brain ends up very confused. I want to be mindful, but it’s use comes so naturally.

Having read this thread it got me thinking what the word actually means. I thought it might give me a clue as to why others take issue with it. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it means “a polite or formal way of referring to a woman”. Which probably offers some justification for the way the word is being used on this thread (i.e. absolutely appropriately as per the definition) but still doesn’t explain to me why some people don’t like it?

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ClumpingBambooIsALie · 22/09/2022 05:29

There's basically not many good ways to address a group of women.

Men, there's loads.

"Hey guys" — someone talking to friends or colleagues
"This way please, gentlemen" — either someone being polite, or a police officer talking to a some dodgy blokes
"Now, chaps…" — someone quite old and probably Northern, or that weird teacher in a boys' school who calls them chaps
"Okay we'll do this one and you fellas take the other one" — um, Australian maybe?
"Right men, we're going to—" — you're a commanding officer in a war film

Women:

"Hello ladies" — you sound either really formal, or like some kind of slimy perv who stares at breasts, or like you're about to ask your local Facebook group for nail bar recommendations, and some of the feminists get annoyed because they prefer to be called women
"Hello girls" — slimy perv again, or you sound like you're talking to your own breasts, or even more of the feminists get annoyed because they feel infantilised
"Hello women" — you sound like you learnt English from an android

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Nillynally · 22/09/2022 05:37

I got called Missis on holiday at the euro tunnel, made me laugh.

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LoobyDop · 25/09/2022 21:52

I don’t see a problem with addressing a group of women as “ladies”. When feminists go out of their way to use “women” instead it sounds silly and jarring, especially when it would be perfectly natural to say “people” in that context. Actually thinking about it, avoiding referring to a group of women as “people” is quite unfeminist!

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Shepostsamongus · 26/09/2022 17:13

I got misgendered today. I trashed the place.

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Outofexcuses · 26/09/2022 17:22

Something that’s just started happening to me - being addressed by random men as ‘young lady’. I’m 60 with white hair. I think it’s supposed to be a compliment? Totally baffling.

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Shepostsamongus · 26/09/2022 18:40

It's patronising but they think it's charming.

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