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Author Topic: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'  (Read 7029 times)

Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #70 on: February 21, 2009, 08:51:51 PM »
No that all makes perfect sense.  I don't want to seem like I'm blowing you off by not addressing your points - but I don't really have anything to add, other than that was a really solid post, I know exactly what you're saying now, and I agree 100% with everything you said.

And sorry about the ankle.  :(

sweet! And thanks. I'm sure I'll whine about it incessantly and then get over it.

Good post SBA, I totally get what you're saying. I just have one contextual example that might help me understand better.

It seems like you're okay with the age flexibility of "girl," so if someone was at work, for example in a generic office, and they asked someone if "they've met the new girl."

How does this usage strike you?

I'm not actually really okay with age flexibility around girl - I don't think that we're going to get a hard and fast rule, but in general I don't think adult females should be called girls, and I would say that in this context adult should begin at around 18.

This is exactly one of the contexts that I think is problematic. Starting from the premise that many women often have a hard time being taken seriously as professionals (or being taken as seriously as their male counterparts) I'd prefer to not see women referred to as girls in a professional context, because (to me, anyway) it makes them seem young, inexperienced, etc., and (along the lines of Miss P's awesome picture) kind of hearkens back to women as secretaries/typists/etc. I'd guess that the likelihood you'd call the new person "the new girl" decreases as their job position gets higher; I'm trying to figure out if the same would happen with the way you'd refer to a new male - I'm not sure. But anyway, preferable options might include "Did you meet [new girl's name]" or "did you meet the new [new girl's job title]"

dashrashi

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #71 on: February 22, 2009, 12:12:15 AM »
Daaaamn, Christina Hendricks.

Sorry, that was all.
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Saw dashrashi's LSN site. Since she seems to use profanity, one could say that HYP does not necessarily mean class or refinement.

This is wrong.

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2009, 07:23:43 PM »
Hehe, no worries.  I'm just trying to start a discussion.

Well it's a good habit to start referring to your peers as grownups.  To a lot of people my age (and somewhat younger), it sounds really, really young to hear folks refer to women as "girls."  ETA: So you end up sounding like the teenaged coffee-fetching intern instead of a colleague worthy of respect.  Not a fantastic impression, but not a huge deal after all.

It may also strike many people--but certainly not everybody--as sexist.  Not in some alarmingly offensive or career-damaging way, but in a "huh this person isn't particularly thoughtful" way.  Which is not an impression you want to give to people you work with, for the most part.  And I wouldn't count on being able to shift back and forth between what you use depending on the age of the person you're talking to.  In my experience, lots of people (especially fellas) in their early 20s aren't very good at discerning when somebody's closer to 30 (or 40) than 20. 

Once you start using the phrase consistently, you just adopt it naturally.

Zactly.

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sheltron5000

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #73 on: February 24, 2009, 07:26:28 PM »
Okay. i can accept that.

I was going to learn French, I guess now I need to relearn English.
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redcement

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #74 on: February 24, 2009, 10:02:12 PM »
Mid-twenties: old enough for her to drink, smoke, enlist, die for her country, vote, procreate...what exactly has to happen before you are comfortable referring to her as a woman?

sheltron5000

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #75 on: February 24, 2009, 10:38:46 PM »
she has to be the same maturity level that I'll consider myself a man at?
LSN

I'd love to join this LGBT club.  It's the Legos, Gobots, Barbies, and other Toys group, right?  I'll show up with an armful of toys.

Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2009, 11:34:05 AM »
*vomits a little bit more*

right back atcha, buddy

CTL

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2009, 12:09:22 PM »
*Vomiting at the vomiting - it tends to produce that effect on observers*
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suite411

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2009, 01:41:26 PM »
I think there is a catch-22 between being referred to as a girl (young, possibly inexperienced, lower in professional status, etc.) and being referred to as a woman (older but still rather age-ambiguous, more experienced, etc.)  It may just depend on the context in which each is used and the connotation associated with it.  "I met this nice girl at the market" may be totally different from "They gave that new girl a bigger office."  However, there may be situational clues we pick up on when deciding which word to use... such as how old does the female appear?  Do we know her real age?  Is she with her children? Is she married or is she still cruising college parties?  I suspect there is tension between the desire to be taken seriously and respected professionally and personally, while wanting to be perceived as youthful due to society's pressure on womens' age and the beauty industry that profits from it.  My two cents.

That being said, what about "ma'am" and "miss".  Personally, "ma'am" makes me feel older than I am...