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Author Topic: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'  (Read 6475 times)

CTL

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Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« on: February 20, 2009, 07:49:09 AM »
I was thinking that I have a habit of referring to males of my age (mid-20s) as 'guys' and females of my age as 'girls'.  Now, I understand that there might be feminist issues raised here, but referring to a peer as a 'woman' sounds weird (so does referring to a peer as a 'man', mind you). 

What do you guys think of this habit?  Should I change my ways?  Will I eventually reach a point in my life where I can consider peers 'men' and 'women'?  Is this sexist?
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non parata est

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 08:35:42 AM »
I had this habit for a long time myself.  I think it stems largely from the alliteration in "guys and girls," rather than from a sexist mindset.  All the same, I've been trying to stop saying "girls" for the most part, and I'm at the point now where "women" almost comes more naturally.

Meh.  I'm not sure it's as sexist as some will say, but it's still probably a good idea (and probably more respectful) to try to drop "girls."
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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 08:54:56 AM »
I've become more aware of this lately.  I think it's best to get in the habit of saying "woman".  You can definitely make the feminist argument that "girl" infantilizes women bringing them to a lower status.  I think that's true to a point, but not the motivation behind most people's use of the word.  For males we have the words "boy", "guy", and "man".  For some reason we switch over to using "guy" instead of "boy", but we don't do the same for females.  I suppose "gal" is the equivalent of "guy", but it sounds so old fashioned.  I only hear older people use.

Susan B. Anthony

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 09:02:03 AM »
I have things to say about this later

CTL

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2009, 09:07:37 AM »
It seems like a big problem is the formality of calling someone a 'man' or a 'woman'.  Calling a peer of mine a 'woman' or a 'man' just sounds weird.  I mean, I know we are women and men, but it seems too formal...
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archival

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2009, 09:32:12 AM »
Should I change my ways? 

Yes.

Quote
Will I eventually reach a point in my life where I can consider peers 'men' and 'women'? 

Yes.

Quote
Is this sexist?

Yes.

I have things to say about this later

 :)
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CTL

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2009, 09:41:06 AM »
Should I change my ways? 

Yes.

Quote
Will I eventually reach a point in my life where I can consider peers 'men' and 'women'? 

Yes.

Quote
Is this sexist?

Yes.

I have things to say about this later

 :)


I guess I should have posed the questions in such a way that they would elicit more nuanced responses. ;)  Would you elaborate on your opinions?
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Matthies

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2009, 10:19:27 AM »
I have things to say about this later

This is no way suprises me.

I just try to use nonloaded terms for everyone: bitchess, hos, honey, you people etc.
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sheltron5000

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2009, 10:34:41 AM »
I have things to say about this later

This is no way suprises me.



I just try to use nonloaded terms for everyone: bitchess, hos, honey, you people etc.

180.

But seriously, I have the same issue. I don't feel old enough to be called a "man," so it feels weird calling females of the same age women, the only other choice is "girl" which is also not age appropriate. Guy is also a littly juvinille, it makes me think of frat boys...

Honestly though, I think it's really just habit, I've never used man or woman up till now, so it's hard to start. I just have to try to change my ways.
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CTL

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Re: Referring to a fully mature female peer as a 'girl'
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2009, 10:39:29 AM »
What is the appropriate way to refer to a group of mixed gender in the plural 'you'? 

You ____?  Guys?  All?  People?  Folks? 

Language is important, but it seems like political considerations have to be weighed against communicative function.   
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