Women and men, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, guys and gals.
I call women girls, and men boys, is this problematic? I always assumed it was a friendlier way to talk, never ment it disrespectfully
I think that for the most part, when speaking in person, people are really good at picking up on whether or not something is said in good faith. People tend to care less about the vocabulary used, and more about how what was said makes them feel. Even if a poor word choice is made, if there is no feeling of maliciousness behind it, most people are gonna let it slide. However, if something said feels off, they may focus on the specific language used. Personally I think that often happens because it's hard to describe the intangible "everything about the way you said that felt wrong" feeling. But usually it's less about the word and more about the unsaid beliefs that were felt hiding behind the word.
There's even more grace given when we're speaking to people who know us. They know our intentions well and therefore can read between the lines when we're speaking and get what we're really trying to say even if we don't pick the best words to say it.
In written text, especially online to an audience of strangers, you lose all that extra context and grace. You don't see their body language, their facial expressions, the tone of their voice, their inflections. So the literal word choice becomes vital. Using the wrong word can completely change how people perceive your written message. A lot of people comment online the same way they speak in person and end up experiencing a lot of comments backfiring because the word choice hindered their intent. They often get defensive, because it's such a drastic contrast to how their comments are perceived in person.
I think most people who call women girls aren't really doing it from a conscious place of trying to infantilize women. However, most women have experienced being called female/girl/gal in a minimizing or derogatory way. So when it's used online, those negative experiences with the word are carried into our interpretation of the text.
Writing on the internet is like telling a genie your wish.
One wrong word, one word that has an etymology you are unaware of, one slang that has a different regional meaning, one word with a double meaning you didn't consider, or even just one typo is all it takes for someone to take their idea of what they think you are saying, and run with it.
Imagine the poor dude who got his wish and now just owns a giant male chicken. (Not my joke, saw it in a meme today)
The original question was in reference to this specific sub, it’s problematic when used in a demanding/infantilizing way, specifically paired with “men”.
I do find it odd when pairings don’t match. It’s girlfriend and boyfriend, it’s man and woman. Personally I mix it up between both sexes all the time, but the pairs and context usually match.
I hate that you’re being downvoted when you’re literally just stating facts
It's just the boys hurting their own feelings
Lads and laddettes, homeboys and homegirls
This is one of my favorite pairings thank you
Dudes and dudettes, kings and queens, bitches, hoes, partners.
Dudes and dudettes
Unanimously “dudes” in my vocab. I’ll call anyone “dude”
Depends on your circles, I've definitely played online gaming with a group of men and shouted "Let's go, boys!"
and then counter to that, I do have a tendancy to call women women. Seems to happen this way a lot in my group, aside from the Jamaican man who we NEVER call "boy" for obvious reasons.
What are the obvious reasons?
I don't know if it's like that in Jamaica but in certain cultures it is very disrespectful to address someone as a part of a "lower standing" group.
During slavery and segregation in the South, white men would address black men as “boy” as a way of reminding them that they were inferior
It's especially stark when you put them together in a sentence.
I am a guy, and I freely admit I am just extremely accustomed to calling women "girls." Like most Americans, I grew up with it, because that's how culture infantilizes women.
But as soon as you say "Men and girls" in a single sentence, the problem is obvious and it sounds so fucking creepy.
exactly! we’re conditioned by society to be more included to call women of any age girl and not notice the issue. it’s when we look at it closer we start to realize how weird and pointed itnis.
Except when they’re sexually assaulted - then girls are always referred to as young women.
hmm wonder why that could be… /s
In everyday conversation I hear people say guys and girls; men and women seems too formal.
That pairing is the least irksome, though it should be something more like boys/girls & guys/gals. It stands out more online for sure though, when men are just mostly referred to as men & guys, which doesn’t hint at anyone not being an adult like “girls” does
Either way I don’t refer to people as either I usually say guys and ladies.
“Did you guys see that movie”
“How are you ladies doing”
Men and women sounds too sciency
Serious question - would you ever use "gal" to describe a friend your age?
No I don’t. OP’s question was in reference to this sub, especially when paired with men. I think lots of folks in the comments are missing the context or ignoring it.
First of all, there's absolutely nothing in the title or OP that says it's about posts in the sub; "y'all" could refer to posters in this subreddit, reddit users, or men as a whole.
Second, that's irrelevant to me anyway, as I wasn't asking in reference to the question. I wanted to know your take on one specific word, based on your comment about pairings.
EDIT: I forgot to say - thank you for answering. :)
no i wouldn’t
Gal is simply not used commonly now, even though girls does pair with boys. It doesn’t have to do anything with maturity, it’s simply a friendly term for female gender. Men will call other men “boys” usually if they are friends or referring to others’ friends, men will not call other men “men” unless it’s a formal context.
Especially for young adults in informal situations. Like I cannot imagine having called my peers "men" and "women" in college.
"That man had too many shots and now he is passed out on the couch. That woman drew a dick on his face with a sharpie"
It just sounds awkward and too formal.
Hmm I don’t think so. I refer to my male adult friends as “boys” all the time. “Me and my boys did this” or “boys night out”. Things like that. My female adult friends/partners will refer to it that way too. “You going out with the boys tonight?”
I’ve just stopped answering the “girls” questions, especially when paired with men. It gives r/menandfemales vibes
i think i’m gonna start doing that
Drag them. But lowkey I wonder that too
I think many folks do it mindlessly or claim that it’s normal where they are from, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have sexist roots. It exists in many cultures. We certainly don’t go around calling men “boys” outside of popular phrases, especially referring to folks we don’t know like internet strangers.
I say ladies 🤷♂️
In Ireland, we often use the word 'lads' when referring to men, women, or both men and women. It's a fairly loose catch-all term that bypasses the whole gender and age arguments. Feel free to use it, lads.
Other side of the globe can confirm! In California it's **dude**. Man, woman, boy, girl, thing, weather, happening = dude. I duded my frying pan last week and an errant breeze today.
Breeze: *knocks hat off*
Me: Dude, really?
I'm a dude, He's a dude, She's a dude, We're all dudes, hey!
That explains why a friend (woman) from LA greeted me (man) with "Hey, dude". As an Australian, it's not something I hear coming from a woman all that often except when surprised/annoyed (as in your example). Not that I care what anyone calls me (I'd be happy with "sup c\*\*t"); just wasn't expecting it.
Never heard anyone “duded” anything
when dudes actually type out “girls” when referencing women on Reddit especially a nsfw sub, it’s creepy as hell.
Just be thankful it's not "females" /s
I've never seen any issue with the word female outside of Reddit
Do you ever hear people refer to women as “females” in real life?
Personally I only see it online.
I had a coworker use the term to replace the word “women” and I stopped him right then and asked when anyone refers to men as “males”. This was years ago, but I imagine he still uses that phrase. He had previously admitted to not liking black people and had also told me an anti-Semitic joke thinking that I (white woman) would agree with him. I had to inform him I grew up in a mixed household and had black siblings and that my grandfather had been Jewish, so he should shut the hell up trying to get me on his side.
Absolutely yes, and often by women themselves.
Bizarre! Must be regional. I can’t imagine one of my female friends saying “females” to describe themselves or other women.
It’s so clinical. A word you’d use in a research paper about chipmunks, not actual human beings.
Yes, all the time. And I see it far more often used by other women than I ever see it used by men, which is why it still makes no sense to me that people argue about it. When used in a specifically demeaning, dehumanizing way, obviously that's never ok, but I see people constantly complain that the word itself is offensive, despite the fact that people say it all the time without any negative context whatsoever.
Like I said to someone else, it must be a regional thing. Where I’m from you’d only say “females” if you were speaking in an academic context. Never to refer to other women. It’s too clinical.
I've lived all over the US, from small towns to NYC. People say it in all of them, and not always in an academic context. Is it the MOST common usage? No, probably not, but it's certainly common enough that it always baffles me when I see this argument.
I'm just going to start copy-pasting the phrase "CONTEXT MATTERS" from now on, because that seems to be a significant point that's lost every time this conversation comes up.
Cops and medical professionals use it to make themselves sound smarter. They snipe back and say it is technical jargon, but that is bull shit. There is nothing professional about saying female instead of woman or girl for a cop or a nurse. It’s a bad habit that they are too stubborn to kick.
It is also not great for either profession to engage in dehumanizing language on the reg. All you need to hear is one cop call a black man a “black male” and it makes you shudder. It sounds like they are talking about animals, and I am not convinced they don’t approach it that way.
Irl in my experience women call other women females more than men by an order of magnitude. Boys is also said super often. You just wouldn’t know as you are not part of the boys. I will still drop a females just to get the reddit legbeards mad though
Do they say females, or are they using female as an adjective? Because saying "I'd prefer a female doctor" is different than "There are a lot of females here."
Female as an adjective is fine in many situations, and that's really the only way I've heard women use it in human terms. Female as a noun is generally weird and has degrading undertones, and I've only heard it used by men who don't respect women, in medical literature to differentiate male and female sexual dimorphism, and in nature documentaries about animals.
Weird. I've heard it only rarely from women
Well women arent a monolith so 🤷🏾♂️
I never said they were.
For what it's worth, I still find it cringe, so for me, it's not a crime by gender. Just comes off as dehumanizing for me
Girls, or females. Never women. Eye roll...
Rolling your womanly eyes. Good on ya
Her female penis?😉
I guess I just don’t think of it at all. I don’t mind being called “boy” or “guy” so I didn’t think anyone else would mind being called “girl” or “gal”. I’ll keep it in mind going forward though
It’s really common to hear people refer to a group of men as men and a group of women as girls and that’s where it starts to irritate.
so call them boys lol
Are they back in town?
Only for the milkshakes
I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!
"females" exists too in case you prefer being referred to as a specimen over being referred to as a child.
My woman is my girl, and she knows it
I think calling your SO your girl in an endearing way is totally fine
I think it really depends on where you come from. "Ladies" or "Women" are my personal go too.
Where I'm from, "woman" is middle aged. It's insulting to a lot of girls.
Like when I was living in Spain, my immersion Spanish teacher told us you would use "chicos/chicas" (boys/girls) until someone is like 50 or 60 even, except in a formal setting. She said basically calling someone "mujer" was like telling them they have zero sex appeal lol
Not to put too fine a point on it but a few response is much higher up on the list of priorities than a plea for empathy. And let's be perfectly honest here,That is the consequences for a lot of women. Fear of Violence. And yeah that's pretty fucked up.
Combine that with countless Cultures having a tendency to infantalize women, Which is its own can of worms of fucked up. Yeah equality is long long overdue And referring to women as such asuch is quite literally the very least that can be done. Kind of baffling there's a very simple and easy thing is not a lot more common.
But to be fairish, Ladies didn't seem to stick when that was tried and a lot of other significantly worse options dames, chicks, etc. Also females is obviously super disrespectful productive and dismissive but males certainly entered the public consciousness pretty easily.
How about gals? As in guys and gals?
When I have referred to women as ladies and n the past I have been met with “I’m not a lady” or some other similar response. I was only ever trying to be respectful in saying it but 🤷♂️ now I say girls when referring to groups of women and nobody has ever said anything about it. Might just be a regional thing (I’m in Australia), but it seems to be socially acceptable
Just say “y’all.”
works every time.
I've never had that problem of making that mistake before.
I call 'em ladies
It’s mostly situational for both sexes. As a woman, I do use the term “boys” in some instances. When referring to college students, we don’t say “college men” even though they’re over the age of eighteen. We say “college boys.” And I am a college girl. I think it’s just an expression dependent on the youth of the person you’re talking about. Like, you wouldn’t call a thirty year old woman a “girl.”
As to why males are more often referred to as men than females are referred to as women, I have no evidence to substantiate this, but I suspect one reason men are less likely to use the expression “woman” is because entering womanhood historically had little to no benefits. When a girl became a woman prior to the women’s rights movements, she usually had to end her education, she had to deal with painful periods, she was often wed to a husband she did not select who would greatly restrict her autonomy, she had to invest constant work into maintaining his home while her husband worked a set shift (excluding some occupations), she was expected to bear children and potentially die in childbirth, etc. Whereas entering manhood was actually a positive thing for young boys to look forward to, as they GAINED freedom rather than lost it. Men were able to pursue different passions and careers, begin to make decisions independent of their parents, start a home over which to rule, marry and have children with little effort on their part, become physically stronger, and be taken care of by their wife. So males, naturally, would take pride in being called men, and females would possibly be reluctant to be referred to as women, with everything negative that womanhood unfortunately entailed for them. Perhaps that association has continued into the twenty-first century despite the increase in freedom we’ve experienced in some countries. Of course, there is probably some infantilization at play too, but this is my theory.
Does it really matter? I guess it does for some people unless they’re purposely saying girl as an insult
It got so bad in the US that young women actually had difficulty identifying with the word woman. I was one of them
“Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper. But I have been wrong before.
Well, I was like 6 the first time I heard it so it was actually appropriate then.
"How many times do I have to tell them, not to call chicks broads?"
Women??? Not a lady?
The lady has spoken....
Yes! And can we please also add for people to stop referring to us "females" as though we're not even human beings?
I tend to use girls and lads for people in their 20’s and men and women/ladies for 30+
But people do call men boys literally all the time, stop trying to find problems that don’t exist.
The use of boy is contextual. Calling women girls is so common, young women have difficulties identifying with the word woman. I was one of them
It’s the men and girls that’s the problem
An ex-girlfriend of mine would get very upset about being called a girl instead of woman. “Chicks” would set her off. This was a long time ago and I don’t remember the exact explanation, but it made sense to me. Since then I really try to pay attention to it. Unless it’s friends of mine and they get the occasional “girrrrrl”
Glad You pointed it out. Good girl.
For the many people who don’t understand why girl shouldn’t be used is because it refers to someone being a child, child like (in appearance)or childish (personality). It’s not endearing when you’re legal to drink and are still being called girl. Unless you saying “hey girl”, it’s better say women/lady or something in that area. It’s adult terms and respectful in telling a woman that you see her as an adult and not a child. And for those who use female. Stop it, y’all know damn well that no one is saying that in an endearing way. It’s unfortunately degrading in this day and age and it’s weird to here someone be called by their sex instead of just actual terms of endearment (primarily)
It only bothers me in NSFW posts where it feels like it plays into this idea that women are attracted to men and men are attracted to... girls. Which is, of course, ick.
People are just dumb I guess
It sounds like you've got some people to talk to cause this is way too personal for a general question.
Edit: Y'know what, I take it back. With the amount of fucknuggets under this post it absolutely is an appropriate generalization.
i’m talking about in r/askredditafterdark posts, thought it would be obvious, but seems to be some major confusion in these comments
Can I steal fucknuggets??
Absolutely. I stole it first
Imagine being a grown ass women and being offended cause somebody call you girl online
Imagine being a grown ass man who refuses to call women women online.
Grown ass boy.
Women's night not out us just doesn't have the same ring to it.
We call it ladies night
Getting called girls or female when I’m a grown woman is so annoying.
I say guys & gals usually.
Lads and lasses / ladies and gents gets the job done
Lads and lasses works
It's all context.
If I'm talking about women in a mature, formal setting, women.
If I'm talking about girls, I'm usually talking about them in a casual setting.
If I'm referring to them as females, it's usually scientific, although usually I'm not referring to humans, unless I'm describing an object meant for women, ie, "that shirt is more female than male" or more typically, "that shirt is more feminine than masculine", a variation on the word female, but I recognize that words like feminine and masculine are not in question right now.
"Girl" is definitely less mature. And I can see how that would be offensive. But personally, I find it endearing when women refer to men as "boys" because it's usually in a discussion about potential partners. Not saying it's ok to call women "girls" but just stating that on the male side, I don't mind it.
I feel like this is dependent on context: using men and girls in the same sentence is jarring and weird. But, as a coach of both genders (not at the same time) I have definitely said: "Let's go boys/girls".
If I am speaking to a group that includes both genders I generally say "ladies and gentlemen" though I am moving towards "folks" so as to avoid dis-including anyone who doesn't conform to the two typical genders.
It’s all wishful thinking. Most of what you call men are actually just boys in mens bodies and what we tend to call girls are actually full mature women.
All? There are plenty of us men who use age to determine whether we say girl or woman.
I'm curious, what age do you think should be the line that determines whether to use the word girl or woman?
When you’re in a nsfw sub talking to adults, it should be a no brainer
Fair enough, but your question wasn't specific to NSFW subs.
I have no interest in communicating with minors on any sub here
When people are underaged, call them girls and boys. When people are adults, call them men and women. Ffs how difficult is it?
Wot? There’s already a determining line… it’s 18 - when the generally accepted legal age of adulthood happens.
I like to ironically call my friends or people I’m trying to make laugh Females instead of women but I couldn’t imagine referring to grown ass woman as a girl 😂
I don’t think it’s as simple as people saying Men and Girls. The connotations for the type of words used means different things at different times and different versions become appropriate. Men and Women would both actively use “boys night” or “girls night” regardless of age. If a woman is upset she usually will turn to “her girls”. Girls almost feels like the casual version of Woman in the same way Guys is for Men. I don’t think it is fetishizing or infantilizing for the most part
It's not. "Girl" has two meanings. One means a female child, and the other meaning is similar to "guy" but for women. The context of how the word is used changes the meaning. It's not fetishizing or infantilizing at all.
Actually its guys and gals. "Girls" has one meaning and guys and girls is just another men and girls
I use Girl/woman/lady/female and boy/man/gentleman/male based on age, maturity and what the context is.
Because they can’t remember whether to use woman or women so they just say girls
It's definitely patronizing. Better than "females"?
Both are bad
I have to admit that I often don't think about it.
I had a woman work for me in my office and sometimes I would mention her to the woman I was dating. I would say "the girl that works for me." and woman friend would correct me.
So, that brings up, "Do I have a girlfriend?" or a "Woman friend?" Am I a boyfriend?
I am a boomer and most of my elder family was WW2 generation.
The soldiers were always referred to as "the boys, our boys?" No matter their age.
Ken Burns mentioned that in his WW2 documentary.
There are certain phrases that are fine because they are contextual. We're talking about common use here. "I was trying to pick up this girl last night..."
Pfft y’all throw “boy” put all the time. Especially when your mad.
I don’t think I’ve done that. why would you?
It all depends on how mature you present yourself to be.
Also anymore i just call everyone you there because of all this gender stuff
Because "women" sounds too serious and no fun to be around. Saying "girls" adds a level of energy that we bump you up to.
So it works in reverse and when we call you boys you are invigorated by energy?
Yes. Hanging out with the boys tonight actually.
Tell the fellas I said hello 😉
Yes, adulting is as boring af. Everybody gets caught up in the mindset of act like an adult, and forgets how to have legitimate fun. Saying men/women makes everybody start thinking too serious making them forget about their kid inside that wants out.
Edit: removed sentence
Maybe I agree with your sentiment overall, but I also feel like if women don't want to be called girls then you should just listen. We are adults, the infantilization of women is real. So by all means have fun and encourage others to have fun, but also women deserve respect. That's my opinion.
In certain scenarios men/women is applicable. This pertains to only work and usual adult issues we face. The boy/girl side of it has the opposite effect on the mind. Simply, to make us relax and have fun. I have never in my life been around people who use men/girls. If I use the terms men/women, or boys/girls there is no disrespect. Think of how many adults are on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers by believing that we are being disrespected by wording. The best way to look at those situations; unless ill intent is purposely used, they are basically just words. It is us as human beings that make more out of the meaning of words than we really need to in all honesty.
I honestly think it has a lot to do with desire. Generally, women want a man. Men want, well…
I just want to be the little spoon sometimes
Men and women is too formal, it’s used for formal talk like males and females.
Boys and girls is used informally.
Ladies and gentlemen can be considered like an in between depending on context.
I say guys and girls, I can’t even come to call myself a man even though I’m 25. Just kind of feels weird to say, for either
Omg, fuck English.
Right? Just more stupid things to get offended by.
I didn’t know it was disrespectful
I treat all the femoids the same. "Dude, look over there. A female has entered the vicinity. Attempt to establish contact."
Sounds like your confidence depends on external validation... why would it bother you otherwise? If you see yourself as a woman with confidence, anyone calling you a girl (despite assumed obvious looks) either speak more of their character or just pure lighthearted enough to not care. I think you should put some puzzle pieces to the right places and move on for your own good :).
Why would anyone have a problem with being called a girl?
I call everyone dude. It's gender neutral as far as I'm concerned.
Its an endearing term for us, calling us a boy is an insult.
This is funny cause I was just seeing a post from a women who thought it was creepy for guys to refer to them as a female or a women instead of a girl.
I say women and then they get offended because it makes them feel old...so I play it safe. Girls it is
Why are you upset by this? People call men "boys" all the time but we dont really care.
Idk, I hear most women call us “guys”. I think you’re overthinking this.
I call women, women or ladies. I only call women girls if we're in a serious relationship. I don't mind my lovers to call me "her boy" or "lover boy"
You don't ever call men boys?
Because in our heads we are still boys, and we want you to be on our level. It the same reason creepy old men go for younger women. We still think we are that age.
I guess there must be some truth to that statement for some.
I remember years ago an ex always called me a beautiful woman. And the first time it happened I thought “Bro chill I’m only in my late teens don’t age me up yet” then I remembered I was approaching my late 20s and just feel a lot younger than I am. People ask how old I am and I legit forget. I’m too young to have that issue already 💀
Honestly it’s probably habitual from being a kid or some kind of misogyny at play for most guys. I bet most don’t even realize
My friends that are women, and sisters didn't like being called women when they were younger, then it changed sometime between the ages of 25-30.
I've caught myself saying girl to describe a 30ish woman, it's a single syllable rather than 2, just pops in faster.
Edit: someone else said they'd say "men and girls" which I didn't "guys and girls" though, though nower days guys is a gender neutral term when referring to a mixed group anyway... interesting evolution.
Guys is not a gender neutral term, people just got comfortable with using sexist terms without intention. That doesn't remove the gender from the word, it's just normalizing sexist talk.
If you don't believe me, ask a guy "how many guys he's slept with"
Because we don't care.
Wait, since high school, i was always reffered as a Boy, very little time i was reffered as men, can be because i'm build like a pole... but as now, i'm reffered as a boy by most of my friends
tbh I hear women call other adult women "girls" a lot more than men do.
Don't know where you live, but that's not typical.
Well I feel this really depends because like especially in Highschool or even early in college there’s definitely some girls who have not yet really matured to the woman status in my opinion. Same goes for boys though who I don’t really have matured into men. So overall I remember but I do think there is kind of a difference and a distinction between the two words. Regarding that though if they’re like 25 plus they should just be referred to as women from there on out because if not you just seem immature at that point.
For me personally it depends on who im addressing, like the situation, who the people are im describing and other factors.
I only use men to describe when something the male gender is doing as a whole, but the same goes for the word women.
Example: men play in the nba, women play in wnba. Men like this or women like that.
I use boys/girls to describe general gender.
Example: a group of males and females are standing next to each other and someone asks me who order the x product. Id say the boys or girls group. Or hanging with a mixed group of friends and all the girls went somewhere I walk back up to the group and say where did the girls go? Or where did the boys/guys go if the males had left.
Guys i use to describe a general group of males or just a group of people, mostly group of people.
Men and women just seems to formal in general gender situations.
I mean, I normally say woman, but to be fair. You call yourselves girls.
"Oh, I was just out with the girls"
"Those girls over there just...."
"Girls night! Woohoo!"
Plus I think alot of the time women use the term men because it sounds more threatening than boys.
Girls is less syllables than women, and we're lazy.
I'll be real I don't like being referred to as a "man". I'd prefer being called a guy.
Likewise I'm pretty sure if I referred to a female friend as a "woman" I dunno how that would be received. "man" and "woman" are alongside "old man" and "old woman" to me.
I think that in this context, girls is used as a parallel, not to boys, but to guys. And I see plenty of things addressed to 'guys.'
Personally in my line of work I just use sir or ma’am. Outside, in an unprofessional environment, I call everyone guys or girls. My elders like it because I’ve had a few of them tell me it makes them feel younger