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29 April 2005 @ 07:36 am
A few weeks ago my sister was harassing me for refering to female humans of about my own age as "girls." She wasn't much help in coming up with a reasonable alternative, but she objected to "girl."

So i would like to point out this page from one of my favorite webcomics by a "female human" who considers herself at least a part-time feminist. The general idea is telling guys how _not_ to refer to "female humans." Note however what term she _does_ use.

And on an only barely related tangent, "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" is a very addictive song, despite the fact it describes a "female human" who is almost the exact antithesis of what i normally look for.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Kirinkirinn on April 29th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
The problem is, "girl" is the complement of "guy" and the complement of "boy". So females our age are girls the same way we're guys, not the same way elementary schoolers would be girls and boys. But of course, being the exact same word, people with different backgrounds are liable to misinterpret it. Alas.

But yeah, the only other opposites to "guys" I can come up with are "dolls", which is only appropriate if you're a 50's greaser, and "gals", which sounds kind of... I dunno, regional, maybe?
Usquebausqueba on April 29th, 2005 05:33 pm (UTC)
I tend to think the compliment of "girl" is "guy" OR "guy" - "gal".
Usquebausqueba on April 29th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
It depends on who's saying it.

My boss (mid 60's) refers to us as "her girls" (we're late 30's to early 40's). That's fine. I refer to my coworkers as the "girls at work" or the "kids at work". ::SHRUG::
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
For some reason "kids" always bugs the heck out of me. I don't care about being refered to as a boy though. As long as it's not in a condescending tone at least.
Brie2gouda4u on April 29th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)
I must be weird in considering "guys" a gender-neutral term. In fact, I declare myself weird, since I still think of "guy" as masculine. In any case, I think the context in which I was complaining about being referred to as a girl was in the gym, when some random employee apparently felt a need to address the subset of the class that was female in order to be condescending, and happened to choose the term "girls" for extra emphasis. Okay, so maybe he wasn't trying to be condescending, but that certainly was the end result. I would have been perfectly happy if he'd said something to the entire group using "guys", as even if it was still condescending, it would have been applied to everyone.

In any case, I don't think I agree with the comic in question, but that's just me. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
DonAithnendonaithnen on April 29th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
I consider "guys" to be sometimes geneder neutral. Actually i guess i lean towards your position on that, it almost always seems gender neutral if it's plural.

Which part of the comic don't you agree with?
Leora: ouroborosleora on April 29th, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
Not the person you asked, but I have no objections to be calling called "Ma'am" if it is done respectfully. You can turn any term into an insult with tone of voice, but when it is actually said courteously, I find it nice.

I think of the opposite of guy as gal, but gal has fallen into misuse. Guy is slowly becoming gender-neutral, but it is sometimes specific to males, and some people will dislike the gender-neutral variant.

Ladies is often an acceptable term where girls would be used otherwise.
Usquebausqueba on April 30th, 2005 08:06 am (UTC)
but I have no objections to be calling called "Ma'am" if it is done respectfully.

Noooo! I'm too young to be a "ma'am"! Waaah!
Leora: ouroborosleora on May 1st, 2005 12:29 am (UTC)
I've seen this sentiment before but have absolutely no understanding of it. I have no desire to be seen as younger than I am, and cannot imagine any possible insult in being viewed as older. What possible merit is there to youth?

The only benefits are side benefits, not inherent to youth itself. Things like beauty and health. But I've found these aren't really linked to how old someone thinks you are, so why would you ever want to be thought young?
Kirinkirinn on May 1st, 2005 12:49 am (UTC)
1) Rose-tinted nostalgia.
2) Desire to avoid confronting the potential finite-ness of life.

(These aren't meant to be insulting to any previous posters - I suffer from them plenty.)
Usquebausqueba on May 1st, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
I've seen this sentiment before but have absolutely no understanding of it.
In my warped little mind, only old ladies are "ma'am".

When I was young (maybe 10), everyone over the age of 25 seemed SO old! Now that I'm late 30's, I'm not old! So why are those whipper-snappers calling me "ma'am"? ;)

so why would you ever want to be thought young?
My friend and I were talking about this recently. Even tho I'm an adult, I still don't see myself as "grown up". I'm just *me*. I don't fit the mental image I had as a kid of "grown-up". I'm not stuffy! I eat junk food! I'm a goof-off! I'm a "ToysRUs Kid" or something!
DonAithnendonaithnen on May 5th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
This is pretty much my exact same reasoning for not wanting to refer to a young female human as a "woman," and not wanting myself to be refered to as a "man." My notions of what i consider young have been advanging as i get older while my vocabulary has remained rooted in a relativistic perspective.
Desireemadduckdes on May 4th, 2005 06:49 am (UTC)
boo boo kitty fuck will do nicely.
DonAithnendonaithnen on May 5th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it really works as a general use noun though, "i was hanging out with a couple boo boo kitty fucks last night..." :)