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  1. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Women and girls, rule my world

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Nightstar99, Sep 1, 2016.

    But which is which?

    I'm male and 40. In my 20's and early 30's female women my age and younger were "girls". Thats what I called'em and they didn't seem to mind.

    Then recently one of the IT women 20 somethings at work got pissy when I was in her hut and innocently (or so I thought) referred to the "girls in my department", suggesting I was being demeaning, which I wasn't, or not intentionally.

    I now find myself unsure which to use in my writing (and in general life). If I ever read fiction when I was younger and read the term "young woman" to refer to a woman in her 20s it made me assume the writer was about 100 years old.

    But there are clearly cases where you would use "girl" to talk about a woman where you wouldn't use "boy" to talk about a man.

    Until the IT woman / girl / lady moaned at me I assumed I would be able to call women my age or younger 'girls' until either I or they died of old age.

    :-(
     
  2. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    You have to remember that all women go through that awkward age, somewhere between six and sixty. ;)

    There are absolutely no hard and fast rules when it comes to addressing women / girls / ladies. If you really want to make your awkward colleague feel uncomfortable try introducing people to the "Girls in my department ... and Gladys." (or whatever her name is.)

    Besides, what would she know about chauvinism, she's only a woman. :D

    P.S. See my six word horror story.
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I hate being referred to as a "girl."

    If you refer to your male colleagues as "the boys" then you're just a bit cringey and I imagine it's not just this one colleague who wishes you would stop. If you only infantilise your female colleagues, you're being demeaning and sexist whether you mean it or not.

    You're also being demeaning by referring to her "getting pissy." And don't get me started on the woe is me attitude of your post.

    See also: men who tell women to smile but would never say the same to a man.

    There's your answer: she's a woman. She doesn't need to be referred to a 'young' woman, or a girl. She's a woman.
     
  4. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    We're in the middle of an awkward stage right now where there is an absolute right and wrong answer to address females by.

    Males right now have three stages, boys - guys - men the first being the least and the last being the most respectful.
    Females only have two viable options, girls - women (the old middle ground of chicks/babes, whatnot has been recently removed, leaving this vacuum)

    So what we really need is a new word that's not as immature as girls, as stuffy as women, similar to 'guys' to call females.
    Personally, I vote we just use 'guys'y for both genders, but I keep getting weird looks...
     
  5. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Since writing my tongue-in-cheek response above, I've been doing some research and have been surprised at the results.

    There are many more degrading, demeaning and downright abusive terms for women than men.
     
  6. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    I use guys for everyone too.
     
  7. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    I too am in the 'guys' camp.

    Our head of department called two of my female colleagues 'ladies' the other day and it felt weird and patronising. I know that mostly people don't mean anything by it, and judging by the boys, sorry young men, sorry gentlemen, sorry "men" in my department, the issue is dying out. There's not a man I know under 30 who would think of calling a group of women "girls" or "ladies" other than ironically.
     
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  8. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    For what it's worth, for me 'girl' is a term to transfer affection. Not demeaning in any way.

    I am most definitely NOT a 'lady' :D, and 'woman' feels like someone dresses me up stuffy. 'Girl'? Maybe, if used by a friend. 'Female' definitely. I like being addressed by my name, then there is no confusion.

    But I have never taken offense at being called anything, so long as it was not being meant demeaning. And trust me, that IS discernible quite easily by the tone of voice and context.
     
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  9. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    The evolution of language. The gender neutral 'guys' makes as much sense as the singular 'they'.
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Women. If you have "men" in your department, then you also have "women" in your department.
     
  11. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    It can be tricky, can't it? I have a handy mnemonic for whenever I get confused by someone who is adult like a man, but has female organs instead. I just think 'womb man', and that leads me straight to 'woman'. Easy!

    I won't claim it's a perfect memory tool though. One time my brain crossed a wire and I referred to my dad as a 'cockwoman'. Boy, was my face red!
     
  12. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I went through this back in the 1970s when a series of women enlightened me to the new ways of the world. Here are the rules as I understand them:

    • When in doubt, use 'woman' or 'women' unless the person (we'll get to that word in a moment) in question is clearly below the age of consent (18 in most places). This won't work, however, if the girl in question is trying to feel grown-up. If you happen to make this mistake, stand well back because she'll rip your face off.
    • Never use the term 'lady' unless you're addressing or talking about someone like Lady Diana or you're trying to purposefully insult someone, (ie. "Hey! You just ran a stop sign, lady!"). Since I learned this one, I no longer have any idea how to address a group of women if I'm saying good night to them. And don't try singing it, because that doesn't work either.
    • A person is anyone of any gender, but especially someone of the female sex. Substitute this into any word that used to use 'man,' even when it sounds odd (ie. personning a station rather than manning it; lumberjill is the obvious exception to this rule)
    There are other rules having to do with opening doors, who goes first when your shopping cart meets a woman's at a supermarket aisle intersection, etc. but these seem to depend on how pretty the woman is and the state of her self-esteem. Once you've been kicked in the groin a few times, you'll catch on to them. ;)
     
  13. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Maybe there is a US / UK divide but "girl" is used in England whereas "female" would sound weird.

    This is the thing I am unclear about. Over here anyway its OK for women to refer to one another as girls (I'm going out with the girls from work, the checkout girl forgot my change, etc) but is it now not OK for me to say it because

    a) I am now old and older men can't say "girl" about a woman of any age without sounding patronising, whereas young men can
    b) language has changed so that men don't use "girl" at all
    c) the language that young men uses has changed

    or all 3?

    How do we stand on "broads"? Or "dames"?
     
  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm in the UK. It would be strange to refer to your colleagues as females, but not as women. Calling grown women girls is NOT standard here, thank god.
     
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  15. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Grown women refer to one another as girls all the time if they are friends.
     
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  16. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    I getcha, while feminism is a good thing some people take it too far. Humans tend to do that, though.

    See the funny thing is I'd put money down that she'll have at least a few "girl's night out" in her lifetime.

    However, while not as taboo, kind of the same as people of African descent and the N word. They can use it and as a male, you can't. The current generation tends to take the blame for the past's mistakes.

    A word is a word is a word. It only has as much meaning as you assign it.

    None of this ever makes sense. After the slaves were freed they were referred to as colored people, but black is the absence of color. Stupid, right? Now it's African-Americans... with a majority never having been to Africa let alone born there. I refuse to call someone African-American unless they were born in Africa then legally moved to America. In fact that person could be white (more like shades of pale & tan -- unless albino) for all I care.

    Needless to say, it's pretty clear cut now-a-days. 1-12 = girl. 13 - 17 = teenager or young woman. 18+ = young woman or woman. I agree, young woman can come off sounding awkward. All about context.

    Humans get offended over the smallest things. It's all about different perspective. Take the Indians and Europeans for instance. Due to their cultural beliefs they sold major plots of land for beads and trinkets. A diamond in one hand is a treasure, in another just a rock.
     
  17. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    I'm in the UK and I never hear it outside of TV shows. I would never say I'm going somewhere "with the girls". I do not have "girls" I have "friends". (I do, honest.)
     
  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    So we're saying that "wench" isn't an acceptable term then ? :D :D

    In my day job I'm the male team leader of an otherwise all female team, and I generally say 'folks' as a collective term where I might use 'boys' to an all male group. (alright folks let's get started ) when talking about them I also tend to refer to the team as "my guys" ( My guys will be cutting your hedge today) I can't imagine saying 'my girls' or 'my women' as it just sounds wrong.

    Another manager I used to work with reffered to his female team as "my harem" which used to make me cringe every time I heard it

    Other managers I know use "ladies" , but I'm ex army and I can't shake the memory of the directing staff using 'ladies' as a term of abuse to an all male training cadre
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  19. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    If anyone wants a few of my alternative methods to addressing groups of people, here are some tips:

    -Start to cough, preferably into an already red-stained napkin you keep in your back pocket. A look of fear and desperation will deter any further need for introductions.
    -Adopt a light jog.
    -Take your phone out of your pocket and mutter, "Its off? But I hear ringing! It can't be all in my head again, not after the shock therapy."
    -Pretend you forgot how to talk. A silent scream usually seals the deal.

    Lastly, and if you're in a bit of a pinch, you could always ask the desired party to introduce themselves.

    But only as a last resort.
     
  20. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Its certainly an option, but is it preferable to 'casually' throwing a ferrari key ring on the bar table and saying "well hello ladies, this looks like where the action is " ? :D

    ( I have an acquantance who actually does that after reading "the Game" Neil Strauss has a lot to answer for)
     
  21. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Who? I don't know any.

    What the actual fuck?
     
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  22. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I remember in my first job, my journalist girl freind Sarah asking an older colleague of mine, Carl who was something of a wideboy, what he thought about feminism and equal rights, expecting an unreconstructed answer

    Carl said : I think its a fucking blinding idea
    Sarah was all like "really, you do ?
    Then Carl said : yeah, cos it means theres loads of totty in the work place for me to look at, instead of their husbands keeping them locked up at home

    (I put my head in my hands and assumed my best "he's not with me" expression)
     
  23. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Age has nothing to do with it. I know a woman when I see one.



    [​IMG]
     
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  24. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    Must be something of an American thing, though in my experience it's mostly young women (20 somethings) using it, not older ones.
     
  25. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you try these and they fail, I'd suggest:
    [​IMG]
     
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