It came to my attention this weekend in a discussion with WO that our culture has an unsurprising tendency to call women “girls”, especially in my age group. “Guys” is considered equivalent to “girls”. Not a big deal, not really a belittling of women worth noting.
Or is it? While it may not be as prominent an issue as using “cunt” or “gay” to be pejorative, I think it does shape our view of gender.
In following a thread of links about [tag]pornographer[/tag]s calling their actresses “sluts” and “whores” today, I ran across a well-written piece by a porn photographer denouncing such practices. He went on to say that those sort of descriptions digust him, and that he’d never call his girls anything like that.
Calling someone a “girl” reduces them to being a child. In this culture, that takes away the validity of their reasoning ability and reduces them to someone who needs to be taken care of, guided. Those women are not coworkers, they are his girls.
So I’m making a conscious decision. That decision is to be very aware of the context in which I use the word “girl” and to make sure to decide if there is a better substitute I could use… like “woman”. Or “person”. Or “vaguely humanoid entity”.
[tags]feminism, conscious word choice[/tags]