Man vs Girl

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Cheezwhiz Jenkins
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Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:49 am UTC

(Apologies if this thread has been made 100 times already - I searched and did not find it)

I _hate_ when you see/hear "man" used when referring to a male but "girl" used to refer to his female peer. For example, the phrasing of "the man and the girl" used to describe a pair of fully grown adults approximately the same age. Mannnny examples can be found in the older literature (Edgar Rice Burrows' Tarzan novels come to mind - don't judge meeeeee - ), but I still see/hear it a fair amount today. And people act like I'm insane for thinking there's any implication behind the difference in terminology. It's terribly annoying.

Anyone else noticed/been irked by this?
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby ZLVT » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:24 am UTC

It's what I use in speech. Woman is two syllables and girl is more endearing to me. Besides, some girls I know use boys and women, so it works both ways.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby poxic » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:42 am UTC

It irritates me when people won't use a grown-up word for women. Y'know, like the word "women". I don't call the men I know "boys" unless I'm specifically referring to something boyish about them. They're men. Why can't I be a woman, instead of a girl? Is it because women have to be taken seriously?

It's more of a pet peeve than a really offensive thing, but man is it a peeve. Very peevishly so.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:43 am UTC

It's just that the extension of "girl" includes rather a wide range of ages and overlaps with the extension of "woman". The extension of "boy" is not analogous, but more restricted. That's just what the words happen to mean. If they don't for you, then I guess it was bad luck in your language acquisition... :D
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby jaap » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:10 am UTC

man / woman
boy / girl
guy / girl

The word 'girl' is doing double duty, unless you use 'gal' for the female equivalent of 'guy'.

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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby iddqd » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:25 pm UTC

Yeah, that sort of bothers me as well. Swedish has a female equivalent of guy though, so it's not a big issue. When I speak English, I usually say "woman".

poxic wrote:Is it because women have to be taken seriously?

Wait, what? :mrgreen:

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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby MildlyUpsetGrizzlyBear » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:43 pm UTC

Just to be fair, and please don't get me wrong (I think women are AWESOME [emphasis, emphasis]),
it's really rather confusing for some guys, guys like me.
Cuz honestly: all you guys out there, raise your hand if you've ever
dated a girl/woman or have had any female friends say to you
"I like it when you call me 'girl,'" usually accompanied by a very girlish giggle? Cuz...like...
"across the board" status. yeah.
And it doesn't help that women of all ages seem to try to look as young as possible (the phrase "baby skin" comes to mind),
but at the same time try to look mature in a very temporally ambiguous manner, such that it feels
pretty awkward calling them anything at all.
"Girl...woman...thing" is commonly stuttered.

I suggest we bring back the use of "young lady." Because not only does that apply to a broader demographic,
I think it will encourage more girls to become someone who deserves the "woman" status.

But in all sincerity, I'm really sorry. I promise to pay my respects where it's due from now on.


[I probably screwed that all up, huh? It's been a while since I dated]

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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby extrablue » Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:27 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz

How old are you?

If you are a 20 something, than be happy about it.
Males don't usually feel so bad about being perceived as old/older. Man means strength.
Call a female woman, and you run into a mess of "yes I know you aren't as young as you wish you were.etc" Same as when someone refers to me as Mr. It's like crap now I'm old.

Further more when was the last time you heard women refer to themselves as women.

"I'm going to call up the women and go out tonight?"

or in sports did you ever have a coach say "Alright women let's go out there are do our best."

Man != Woman.

They mean completely different things in our culture.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

poxic wrote:It irritates me when people won't use a grown-up word for women. Y'know, like the word "women". I don't call the men I know "boys" unless I'm specifically referring to something boyish about them. They're men. Why can't I be a woman, instead of a girl? Is it because women have to be taken seriously?

It's more of a pet peeve than a really offensive thing, but man is it a peeve. Very peevishly so.


Exactly!

Makri wrote:It's just that the extension of "girl" includes rather a wide range of ages and overlaps with the extension of "woman". The extension of "boy" is not analogous, but more restricted. That's just what the words happen to mean. If they don't for you, then I guess it was bad luck in your language acquisition... :D


jaap wrote:man / woman
boy / girl
guy / girl

The word 'girl' is doing double duty, unless you use 'gal' for the female equivalent of 'guy'.
MildlyUpsetGrizzlyBear wrote:Just to be fair, and please don't get me wrong (I think women are AWESOME [emphasis, emphasis]),
it's really rather confusing for some guys, guys like me.
Cuz honestly: all you guys out there, raise your hand if you've ever
dated a girl/woman or have had any female friends say to you
"I like it when you call me 'girl,'" usually accompanied by a very girlish giggle? Cuz...like...
"across the board" status. yeah.
And it doesn't help that women of all ages seem to try to look as young as possible (the phrase "baby skin" comes to mind),
but at the same time try to look mature in a very temporally ambiguous manner, such that it feels
pretty awkward calling them anything at all.
"Girl...woman...thing" is commonly stuttered.

I suggest we bring back the use of "young lady." Because not only does that apply to a broader demographic,
I think it will encourage more girls to become someone who deserves the "woman" status.

But in all sincerity, I'm really sorry. I promise to pay my respects where it's due from now on.


[I probably screwed that all up, huh? It's been a while since I dated]


extrablue wrote:Cheezwhiz

How old are you?

If you are a 20 something, than be happy about it.
Males don't usually feel so bad about being perceived as old/older. Man means strength.
Call a female woman, and you run into a mess of "yes I know you aren't as young as you wish you were.etc" Same as when someone refers to me as Mr. It's like crap now I'm old.

Further more when was the last time you heard women refer to themselves as women.

"I'm going to call up the women and go out tonight?"

or in sports did you ever have a coach say "Alright women let's go out there are do our best."

Man != Woman.

They mean completely different things in our culture.


I respectfully disagree with those who say that girl and man are analogues, and that my language development has been impaired... Perhaps this holds true in your minds (and without getting into the whole nobody-really-speaks-the-exact-same-language debate :roll: ), but dictionaries (and usage of each word individually, without using any of the others) are clear - a woman is an adult female, a man is an adult male. A girl is a juvenile female, a boy is a juvenile male. So to use girl with man is mixing apples and oranges - and implies that the female half of the equation is somehow immature or less developed because of her gender.

(Also..."man means strength"?

...

Really? We're gonna start that up? :( )
ZLVT wrote:It's what I use in speech. Woman is two syllables and girl is more endearing to me. Besides, some girls I know use boys and women, so it works both ways.


Well, I'd be (mostly) fine with it if we also used "boys and women" - but I've NEVER heard that construct, ANYWHERE. So, kudos to the people you know who do...too bad it doesn't spread. I'd settle for the inequity (if a tad grumpily), as long as it went both ways. But it's not common that it does in my experience. :(
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:11 pm UTC

but dictionaries (and usage of each word individually, without using any of the others) are clear - a woman is an adult female, a man is an adult male. A girl is a juvenile female, a boy is a juvenile male.


Well, then the dictionaries oversimplify. And as for the usage of the words individually, that's incorrect: I can call a 22-year-old woman a girl, but I can't call a 22-year-old man a boy. That's just how the language - apparently - works. The words are simply not analogous for both genders. And thinking that calling a young woman a girl is offensive sounds absurd to me because I don't think that's what people who say that mean. My personal feeling is that you're decrying a non-problem here.

Well, I'd be (mostly) fine with it if we also used "boys and women" - but I've NEVER heard that construct, ANYWHERE.


Yes, because boys with women can only be... well, women with boys. A boy and a woman being a couple would be illegal, whereas a man and a girl being a couple is fine.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

Makri wrote:
but dictionaries (and usage of each word individually, without using any of the others) are clear - a woman is an adult female, a man is an adult male. A girl is a juvenile female, a boy is a juvenile male.


Well, then the dictionaries oversimplify. And as for the usage of the words individually, that's incorrect: I can call a 22-year-old woman a girl, but I can't call a 22-year-old man a boy. That's just how the language - apparently - works. The words are simply not analogous for both genders. And thinking that calling a young woman a girl is offensive sounds absurd to me because I don't think that's what people who say that mean. My personal feeling is that you're decrying a non-problem here.


But...if we're going to reject how dictionaries define words, then we can no longer rationally discuss language, as logically definitions of words then rely on personal opinions, and your opinion and my opinion may differ with no way to reconcile them.

And what is the basis for saying that that is incorrect? What is the basis of saying girl/boy and woman/man are not analogues? That doesn't make very much sense to me. You can call a woman of 22 a girl but not a man of 22 a boy? Say wha?? Why? Please explain - I don't understand. I'm not being sarcastic...I genuinely don't.

Your argument seems to be "that's the way we use it so it's generally accepted as right" - and that's exactly my point. It's the common usage, accepted as correct, when it is not correct. There is no way to rationalize it other than "that's just how it's used". As far as I've seen on the forums, that's not an accepted argument for keeping phraseology.

EDIT:

Again I beg to differ - a man with a girl is just as not okay as a woman with a boy.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Indeed. Everybody has his own mental lexicon, and his brain will tell him when a concept applies and when it doesn't (sometimes explicitly, sometimes implictly through its relation to other concepts). Fortunately, we all have more or less the same meanings for words, but there are, no doubt, individual differences - otherwise, there would be no semantic change. When a certain meaning is only held by a handful people, or even a single individual, then it's appropriate to say that it's "incorrect" when talking about English in general. When this minority grows stronger, then... well, after some time, the dictionaries will have to go edit their definitions. That's what the OED and the Duden do, in recording usage.

So, the basis you're asking for is people's linguistic intuitions. It's not meaningful to speak of something as being common usage, but incorrect. Or, if meaningful, it's completely arbitrary and there's no reason for anyone to care about it.

Again I beg to differ - a man with a girl is just as not okay as a woman with a boy.


Well, then I'm right and your language acquisition took a different path than that of myself and millions of other speakers of English. And I'm completely serious saying that, it's not meant to be mockery or anything.
Your intuitions are just different, which is, essentially, bad luck for you, because every time an English speaker says a perfectly normal thing, your brain gives you unpleasant feelings. :D
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:58 pm UTC

Oh! I see the problem if we set aside the "analogue argument" (ironically, it is different definitions of words! :D :D ) - when I say incorrect, I don't mean *just* "grammatically incorrect" - also "socially incorrect", if you will. Even if you take the argument about how it SHOULD be defined out, I'm saying it's incorrect in the sense of being insulting in implication when read a certain way (and as a couple of other posters evince...I'm certainly not the only one to feel this way) - if everyone used a racial slur, it would be incorrect regardless of how many millions used it.

(I don't mean this insultingly, either, but...) I don't see the evidence that millions of English speakers are on your side. When *you* disagree with the dictionary, it would seem that you're not the one with the backing of manymanymany English speakers... ;)

Edit: Darn it, I keep thinking of stuff after I hit "Post" :D

In addition, I find the claim that girl/boy and woman/man aren't equivalent - and therefore English *has no female analogues* to man and boy - somewhat...lacking. :)
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby AndrewT » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

For what it's worth, in my dialect (northern midwest American), using "men" and "girls" for the same social and age group sounds weird. To me, the counterpart to a grown female that you would call a "girl" is a "guy", although "guys" is used as gender neutral ("you guys are great friends!" to a mixed gender group).

So for me, juveniles are:
"Boys and girls"
Informal adults are:
"Guys and girls"
And formal adults are:
"Men and women"

So for me the only thing that stands out as being sexist is that for informal adults, there's no new word for females (my dialect doesn't use "gals"). Also that the male version is listed first for whatever reasons.

So I can see why you'd be upset about "men and girls", at least in my dialect it's a discrepancy in levels of formality.

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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:I _hate_ when you see/hear "man" used when referring to a male but "girl" used to refer to his female peer. For example, the phrasing of "the man and the girl" used to describe a pair of fully grown adults approximately the same age. Mannnny examples can be found in the older literature (Edgar Rice Burrows' Tarzan novels come to mind - don't judge meeeeee - ), but I still see/hear it a fair amount today. And people act like I'm insane for thinking there's any implication behind the difference in terminology. It's terribly annoying.

Anyone else noticed/been irked by this?

I think you're at least partially mistaken - most of the time when I hear "girl" being used to refer to women, I think it's being used not as the female equivalent of "man", but as the female equivalent of "guy" - a usage which I don't find objectionable at all. As long as you are consistent in your use of "boy, girl", "guy, girl", "man, woman", I think you're okay. The notable thing is that "girl" does double duty as the default female equivalent of both "boy" and "guy", but that's just the way the language is.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:17 pm UTC

also "socially incorrect", if you will. Even if you take the argument about how it SHOULD be defined out, I'm saying it's incorrect in the sense of being insulting in implication when read a certain way


Yes, but this is also a descriptive issue, and you're wrong again. People don't use it with the intention of implying anything insulting, nor has the language community agreed that the word is insulting (as it has in the case of many racial terms), and there's no conceptual implication of anything insulting, so basically, you're seeing phantoms.

I don't see the evidence that millions of English speakers are on your side.


Well, everybody seems to be perfectly prepared to call a 22-year-old woman a girl, just as I am. After all, that's exactly what you're complaining about, isn't it? If I had the minority lexicon, you wouldn't even have reason to complain. ;)

In addition, I find the claim that girl/boy and woman/man aren't equivalent - and therefore English *has no female analogues* to man and boy - somewhat...lacking.


Whatever it lacks, it's not truth. :P (Well, there is an analogue to "man": "woman".) The same happens to hold for my native language (German), by the way, whereas others (e.g. Italian) do have analogous systems.

informal adults are:
"Guys and girls"


I'd bet that there are people for whom "girl" can be more formal than "guys". Though maybe my second language acquisition was flawed here due to the fact that in German, the word for "girl" is less informal than the English word "guy".
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TaintedDeity » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Makri wrote:
also "socially incorrect", if you will. Even if you take the argument about how it SHOULD be defined out, I'm saying it's incorrect in the sense of being insulting in implication when read a certain way


Yes, but this is also a descriptive issue, and you're wrong again. People don't use it with the intention of implying anything insulting, nor has the language community agreed that the word is insulting (as it has in the case of many racial terms), and there's no conceptual implication of anything insulting, so basically, you're seeing phantoms.

Intention is hideously unimportant. The interpretation of the listener or reader is important.

The problem here is that the use of 'man' and 'girl' as analogues is that 'man' brings up thoughts of strength, adultness, maturity etc whereas 'girl' brings up thoughts of smallness, youth and innocence etc.
Labelling women as 'girls' vastly misrepresents women.
Speech guides thought and so men are treated as superior and women are treated as inferior.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:18 pm UTC

GRRR...it ated my length reply. >:( *raegquaat*

TaintedDeity mostly addressed this point, so I won't retype it, but as I've tried to state all along, common usage does not mean something is correct.

An example can be seen in the debate over "Retarded" - it's regarded by many mentally impaired persons as insulting, regardless of intent, which is why it's not PC to use it.

Makri wrote:Well, everybody seems to be perfectly prepared to call a 22-year-old woman a girl, just as I am. After all, that's exactly what you're complaining about, isn't it? If I had the minority lexicon, you wouldn't even have reason to complain. ;)


No. I'm not complaining that the dictionary is wrong - quite the opposite. I'm complaining that people are using words in a way that is insulting when defined as the dictionary does - which is how most English speakers *I* know use words.

Whatever it lacks, it's not truth. :P (Well, there is an analogue to "man": "woman".) The same happens to hold for my native language (German), by the way, whereas others (e.g. Italian) do have analogous systems.


So. If man/woman are analogues, why not use them both to refer to two individuals of the same age? This is the crux of my argument.

informal adults are:
"Guys and girls"

I'd bet that there are people for whom "girl" can be more formal than "guys". Though maybe my second language acquisition was flawed here due to the fact that in German, the word for "girl" is less informal than the English word "guy".


I prefer guys/gals myself (though I'm not terribly fond of either word, to be honest). I've *never* heard girl used as "formal", which is sorta my point, kinda, in a fuzzy way.

If I have five children, I describe their gender in English by saying I have 3 boys and 2 girls. This tells you the gender of my children, but it tells you absolutely nothing about their gender as it relates to their age. You don't know which are older and which are younger. In relation to one another, boy and girl are exactly equivalent, describing the same thing in terms of sex. If I have twins of different genders, I say I had a boy and a girl. However, man/girl are not analogues. It wouldn't make any sense for me to say, I had a man and a girl. People would look at me *really* strangely if I said that - because "man" implies a much older age, and much higher level of maturation, than "girl".

Boy/Girl are analogues. Man/Woman are analogues. Woman/Boy are not analogues. Man/Girl are not analogues.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:26 pm UTC

Intention is hideously unimportant. The interpretation of the listener or reader is important.


Well, yes, but language users usually aren't so paranoid as to interpreting something as an insult when they have good reason to believe it wasn't meant as one. Which is perfectly rational.

whereas 'girl' brings up thoughts of smallness, youth and innocence etc.


And attractiveness, if I may add. However, these are connotations and have nothing to do with truth conditions (therefore, one can't call them misrepresenting). And they're meant to be positive. What's objectionable about using a positively connotated word for a young woman?

Speech guides thought and so men are treated as superior and women are treated as inferior.


Which is the unusual paranoia I was referring to above.:D

Really, I find it ridiculous to hold some language use against people when it's perfectly clear that they are well-meaning and when the linguistic community hasn't agreed that the word they're using is objectionable.

I'm complaining that people are using words in a way that is insulting when defined as the dictionary does


Which is a good reason to write to the editors. :D Language use changes (or remains like it has been for centuries, in this case). And, seriously: Go ask a couple of native speakers of English whether it's okay to call a 20- or 22-year-old female human being a "girl", and then do the same with male and "boy".

If man/woman are analogues, why not use them both to refer to two individuals of the same age? This is the crux of my argument.


Nothing tells you that you can't refert to young women as women. It's just that the language gives you a choice between "woman" and "girl", and in a significant proportion of the cases, speakers prefer "girl", possibly for it's connotations that are meant to be positive.

I've *never* heard girl used as "formal"


X can be wider than Y without being wide. ;) I didn't claim that it was "formal" usage to call a young woman a girl. But your preference for guy/gal suggests to me that "girl" is indeed more formal than "guy", though of course less formal than "(young) woman".

If I have five children, I describe their gender in English by saying I have 3 boys and 2 girls.


True, but that's a special case, and you can do that in complete disregard of the age of the children in question. You can say that when describing the offspring of an 80-year-old man whose children are now in their fifties. So it's not a good example.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

Makri wrote:
Intention is hideously unimportant. The interpretation of the listener or reader is important.


Well, yes, but language users usually aren't so paranoid as to interpreting something as an insult when they have good reason to believe it wasn't meant as one. Which is perfectly rational.


Again, intent isn't important. It's not relevant. Lack of malicious intent, or existence of good intent, does not mean that a person is necessarily paranoid to nevertheless take issue with usage. See my example of "retarded".

whereas 'girl' brings up thoughts of smallness, youth and innocence etc.


And attractiveness, if I may add. However, these are connotations and have nothing to do with truth conditions (therefore, one can't call them misrepresenting). And they're meant to be positive. What's objectionable about using a positively connotated word for a young woman?


Positive as defined by you, maybe. The references are not equal, and depict the woman as being smaller, weaker - inferior. Inequality is not positive. Again, intent is irrelevant.

Speech guides thought and so men are treated as superior and women are treated as inferior.


Which is the unusual paranoia I was referring to above.:D

Really, I find it ridiculous to hold some language use against people when it's perfectly clear that they are well-meaning and when the linguistic community hasn't agreed that the word they're using is objectionable.


I think I've already covered this.

I'm complaining that people are using words in a way that is insulting when defined as the dictionary does


Which is a good reason to write to the editors. :D Language use changes (or remains like it has been for centuries, in this case). And, seriously: Go ask a couple of native speakers of English whether it's okay to call a 20- or 22-year-old female human being a "girl", and then do the same with male and "boy".


This is my problem in a nutshell. Common usage does not mean that the usage is correct.

If man/woman are analogues, why not use them both to refer to two individuals of the same age? This is the crux of my argument.


Nothing tells you that you can't refert to young women as women. It's just that the language gives you a choice between "woman" and "girl", and in a significant proportion of the cases, speakers prefer "girl", possibly for it's connotations that are meant to be positive.


I'm saying that all things being equal, a person logically would use the analogues. However, some people don't think of females and males as being equal (in whatever respect) - and thusly use non-analogues. This usage is picked up by others who may or may not share the sentiment - but regardless of the intent, it comes off as insulting. Language indeed guides thought, and thought action. That's not a paranoid argument. :)

I've *never* heard girl used as "formal"


X can be wider than Y without being wide. ;) I didn't claim that it was "formal" usage to call a young woman a girl. But your preference for guy/gal suggests to me that "girl" is indeed more formal than "guy", though of course less formal than "(young) woman".


No, my preference for guy/gal is specifically because of the opposite reason - girl is if anything less formal. Guy/Girl is doubtful to me, but not as objectionable since guy isn't defined as "Mature Adult Human Male" quite as strongly (though I don't like it much). (And to lump a couple of posts into one I, and *many* of my friends, find being referred to as "young lady" VERY HIGHLY insulting.)

If I have five children, I describe their gender in English by saying I have 3 boys and 2 girls.

True, but that's a special case, and you can do that in complete disregard of the age of the children in question. You can say that when describing the offspring of an 80-year-old man whose children are now in their fifties. So it's not a good example.


That's not a special case. Special as opposed to what? That's how you use the words "boy" and "girl". In fact, you prove my point with the bolded statement. It's an example of how when referring to children, boy/girl are analogues. They are NOT analogues of man/woman. They imply equality with their respective analogues, but not with the other pair.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:57 pm UTC

See my example of "retarded".


It has probably been (more or less) agreed by the language community that "retarded" is offensive. That's not the case with "girl". Individuals taking issue with "girl" are isolated cases.

Positive as defined by you, maybe. The references are not equal, and depict the woman as being smaller, weaker - inferior. Inequality is not positive. Again, intent is irrelevant.


I suggest you do a study about that before claiming that your idiosyncratic emotional reactions to this use of the English word "girl" are worth considering for the majority of speakers. :P
I completely fail to see how calling a young woman a girl depicts her as inferior. If anything at all, it depicts her as young and desirable. That's my connotation for the word, and I'm not aware that it's common to take issue with this use of the word, so I conclude that it's also the connotation of many other speakers.

Again, intent is irrelevant.


No it's not. What you're doing is paranoid nit-picking. Leave innocent, unsuspecting speakers of English alone. :P

Common usage does not mean that the usage is correct.


This presupposes that there is a standard of correctness that is completely independent of usage. Since, however, usage defines the language, I cannot see how such a standard could meaningfully exist.

However, some people don't think of females and males as being equal (in whatever respect) - and thusly use non-analogues. This usage is picked up by others who may or may not share the sentiment - but regardless of the intent, it comes off as insulting.


Well, you propose to chance our use of language, so you do the empirical study to back up this pretty strong empirical claim here.

find being referred to as "young lady" VERY HIGHLY insulting


This is probably so because the expression is dated and therefore mainly used sarcastically nowadays. Although finding it "VERY HIGHLY" insulting still sounds a little paranoid to me. :P

That's not a special case. Special as opposed to what?


Special as opposed to talking about a person in isolation. The 80-year-old man can say "I have four children, two boys and two girls." But if you talk about one of his male children in isolation, it's impossible to refer to him as a boy, since he's in his fifties.

It's an example of how when referring to children, boy/girl are analogues.


Indeed, this statement is true. So what? When referring to persons too old to be called children, they're still not analogues.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TaintedDeity » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:16 pm UTC

You know, adding smilies to your post doesn't make you look less of a douche, it just makes you look really passive aggressive.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:38 pm UTC

Holy quote tags, Batman. I can't get this post formatted right to save my life. Phooey.

Makri wrote:
See my example of "retarded".


It has probably been (more or less) agreed by the language community that "retarded" is offensive. That's not the case with "girl". Individuals taking issue with "girl" are isolated cases.


Er, since you've decided to demand proof from me, I reciprocate: citation needed on that entire paragraph.

Positive as defined by you, maybe. The references are not equal, and depict the woman as being smaller, weaker - inferior. Inequality is not positive. Again, intent is irrelevant.


I suggest you do a study about that before claiming that your idiosyncratic emotional reactions to this use of the English word "girl" are worth considering for the majority of speakers. :P
I completely fail to see how calling a young woman a girl depicts her as inferior. If anything at all, it depicts her as young and desirable. That's my connotation for the word, and I'm not aware that it's common to take issue with this use of the word, so I conclude that it's also the connotation of many other speakers.


Forgive me if I sound as if I mean things I don't, but I'm a native speaker. You, by your own admission, are not. Furthermore, other people have said they also share this perception. I don't see that you're in a position to judge whether this is a really unusual perception. I also don't see how calling it an idosyncratic emotional reaction of mine adds anything to the argument.

I've tried to explain how girl is a derogatory sounding term when used with man. I don't know how to be any clearer. Apparently I fail at explaining. Maybe someone else could tell you better?

Again, intent is irrelevant.


No it's not. What you're doing is paranoid nit-picking. Leave innocent, unsuspecting speakers of English alone. :P


Oh, okay. Well then, I guess I'll call you a ****ing ****er from ****ersville who should be ***** in the ********, and furthermore who deserves to literally die in a painful and protracted manner. I don't mean anything bad by it, though. Do you still take offense?

Common usage does not mean that the usage is correct.


This presupposes that there is a standard of correctness that is completely independent of usage. Since, however, usage defines the language, I cannot see how such a standard could meaningfully exist.


So how is it you called me incorrect a few posts ago? If we're gonna go with the postmodernistic view of language (which doesn't work for very long...), then I'm as "right" as you are, and this entire thread and both our posts are moot.

However, some people don't think of females and males as being equal (in whatever respect) - and thusly use non-analogues. This usage is picked up by others who may or may not share the sentiment - but regardless of the intent, it comes off as insulting.


Well, you propose to chance our use of language, so you do the empirical study to back up this pretty strong empirical claim here.

I'll try one more time to explain what I mean - girl has connotations that imply weakness and inferiority when used in the context of man, the "stronger" counterpart. Some people have used it deliberately, considering for whatever reason that females are inferior. This usage has been picked up by people regardless of actual feelings toward women, in many cases.

find being referred to as "young lady" VERY HIGHLY insulting


This is probably so because the expression is dated and therefore mainly used sarcastically nowadays. Although finding it "VERY HIGHLY" insulting still sounds a little paranoid to me. :P


I find it insulting regardless of sarcastic intent - it's quite as bad when meant seriously. And how is it paranoid to not want to be called something?

That's not a special case. Special as opposed to what?


Special as opposed to talking about a person in isolation. The 80-year-old man can say "I have four children, two boys and two girls." But if you talk about one of his male children in isolation, it's impossible to refer to him as a boy, since he's in his fifties.

It's an example of how when referring to children, boy/girl are analogues.


Indeed, this statement is true.


Okay...at least we agree on that...a few posts ago you said otherwise, but at least we agree on definitions now.

So what? When referring to persons too old to be called children, they're still not analogues.


EXACTLY! The female in question is too old to be called a child. The English word for a *female child* is "girl". You shouldn't call her girl for that reason! Because Man and Girl are not analogues.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Lazar » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:EXACTLY! The female in question is too old to be called a child. The English word for a *female child* is "girl". You shouldn't call her girl for that reason! Because Man and Girl are not analogues.

But guy and girl are analogs. I'm not saying that every instance where an adult woman is referred to as a girl is okay, but if it's a context where her male peer would be referred to as a guy, I'm fine with it. See definition 5 here: the "sometimes offensive" should cover those cases where it really is being used as an analog of "man".
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:07 am UTC

Lazar wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:EXACTLY! The female in question is too old to be called a child. The English word for a *female child* is "girl". You shouldn't call her girl for that reason! Because Man and Girl are not analogues.

But guy and girl are analogs. I'm not saying that every instance where an adult woman is referred to as a girl is okay, but if it's a context where her male peer would be referred to as a guy, I'm fine with it. See definition 5 here: the "sometimes offensive" should cover those cases where it really is being used as an analog of "man".


This.

I quite agree, Sir - my issue is not with guy/girl (even though I'm not terribly proud of that combo...the same dictionary defines "guy" using "man", but eh, they're not precisely the same thing...and when used to refer to the same age groups "guy" doesn't really have the "superiority" connotations, if you will, as far as I can tell), it's with man/girl.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Lazar » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:10 am UTC

Yeah, we're in agreement then.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:14 am UTC

tl;dr: Problematic language is problematic because it offends and because it disseminates harmful ideas. Makri is working us into a proper snipefest over the first point, but has missed the second one entirely.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:16 am UTC

I can understand guy/girl, but I wish we had a better word for the female side since it carries (for me) all the connotations of girl in the boy/girl sense. I do NOT like man/girl, as I don't like man/lady. Gentleman/lady, well okay, but man/lady = normal person/person who conforms to stereotypes of proper behaviour.

I wish "gal" didn't have the connotation of "someone who can be dismissed/ignored/disparaged". It's the linguistic equivalent of "guy", but sexism has altered its emotional meaning over time. "Gal" is now an offensive thing to call a woman, a word used only when you don't respect the person you're referring to. I wish it were different, but oh well.

I suspect that we'll fumble our way into a new word that kinda works, the way we fumbled into "partner" to describe a generic mate. It might take a while.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:18 am UTC

Well, trying to find Cheezwhiz's position ridiculous was my way of avoiding feeling offended myself. Because I feel like I'm one of those innocent, unsuspecting language users, and when I'm accused of using language in a sexist, insulting way, despite the fact that it is known that I have no ill intentions, and without my being aware (and evidence being presented to the effect) that the language community has agreed that my usage is insulting, I have an inclination to feel offended, because I feel like I'm accused of something I didn't do. Therefore, it was natural for me to put the smiley there to express my attitude.

However, I'm sorry for letting this debate become so emotional. I hope the above explains a little the feelings involved on my part... I'll try to keep the further conversation focused on the topic.

Er, since you've decided to demand proof from me, I reciprocate: citation needed on that entire paragraph.


This is like requiring proof that there aren't many black swans in Europe. I mean with respect to the logical structure...

I've tried to explain how girl is a derogatory sounding term when used with man.


Well, as I see it, you think that calling a young woman a girl has certain implications that I cannot relate to. The fact that I'm not a native speaker of English means that my empirical basis for usage of the word "girl" is narrower than yours, but there are a few facts worth noting:

1) The negative implications (connotations?) of that usage have escaped me in my learning of English, unlike those of "gal".
2) You yourself seem to agree that that usage is not rare. I think if it were widely agreed upon that it is offensive, it would be rarer; or do you really thing everybody who doesn't pedantically watch his tongue is misogynistic?

If there is a reasonable degree of agreement in the linguistic community that it's offensive or derogatory to call a young woman "girl", then this is just a fact that escaped acquisition of English and I'll stand corrected. However, that a term is offensive should be easier to prove than that it's not offensive.

In any case, I would appreciate if some more people here voiced their feelings on the matter, and I'll try to have a look at the OED the next time I'm at uni.

However, if speakers (at least of some region) don't agree that it's offensive, then I stand by my position, as the usage in other languages (German and Russian) and the lack of offensive connotations there shows that the conceptual content and relation to other words (e.g. the fact that "girl" is inter alia used for the female analogue of "boy") alone don't give rise to the implications you object to.

Since I do think the above paragraphs constitute and argument, please ask for clarification at any point you want.

By the way, I just came up with an alternative idea why the collocation "man and girl" might be (especially?) offensive for you: If it is indeed a stylistic clash, as seems to be the case for some, then the fact that the more informal word is used for the woman can give rise to the feeling that the speaker expresses a negative attitude towards her, as opposed to the man, for whom he uses the more formal word.

Does it sound equally bad to you if someone says "guy and girl", or if someone tells a young woman that she's a pretty girl? Apparently not, as your last post suggests. Which is actually a huge step towards a common position in this discussion, because detailed informal-formal-connotations are a very delicate thing, so I might easily have gotten them a little wrong, which would then be the reason for my not finding "man and girl" particularly problematic. On the other hand, it seems likely that some children learning English would have gotten that wrong, too... Probably depending on area and social environment.


So how is it you called me incorrect a few posts ago? If we're gonna go with the postmodernistic view of language (which doesn't work for very long...), then I'm as "right" as you are, and this entire thread and both our posts are moot.


That's not a postmodernistic view. In fact, it's the only view that works in the long run (for cognitive linguistics). As for me calling you incorrect:

Your claim was about language usage: "usage of each word individually, without using any of the others are clear - a woman is an adult female, a man is an adult male. A girl is a juvenile female, a boy is a juvenile male." This is the statement I called incorrect. The reason we are having this discussion is that usage is not clear, because there are enough people who don't accept that a girl is necessarily a juvenile female so that the fact came to your attention and provoked your displeasure.

And how is it paranoid to not want to be called something?


That's not paranoid at all. But not wanting to be called something is not the same thing as feeling insulted when one is called that.

a few posts ago you said otherwise


No, I didn't. I agree to your statement only because it's restricted to a situation were one refers to children. Considering all situation, I still deny that "girl" and "boy" are analogues.

See definition 5 here: the "sometimes offensive" should cover those cases where it really is being used as an analog of "man".


It's definitions 4, really. Anyway, maybe I'm misreading it, but this

a grown woman, esp. when referred to familiarly: She's having the girls over for bridge next week.


... somehow suggests to me that we're not talking about young women exclusively here. I'm not denying that it's problematic to call a 40-year-old lady (who is more likely to play bridge, which may be one of the reasons this definition 4 doesn't make me think of young women) a girl.

Lazar, thank's for bringing up the definition!
Last edited by Makri on Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:22 am UTC

Also, what the fuck is "the language community"? Fucking everybody speaks a language. And we certainly don't need any expert's opinion in order to be offended by anything.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Makri » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:28 am UTC

Also, what the fuck is "the language community"?


Apparently, Wikipedia calls it Speech Community. Don't ask me to define it, but try to talk about "the English language" without using the concept. ;) I guess it works to a sufficient degree to say that the speech community of a language (or variety of a language) is the entirety of its native speakers.

And we certainly don't need any expert's opinion in order to be offended by anything.


Is this meant to be an objection to bringing dictionaries into the discussion?
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:33 am UTC

I had assumed that "language community" referred to linguists, and I was objecting to the notion that we need linguists to determine a word as offensive before it can be deemed offensive.

Same goes for speech communities, though. Lots of words that get thrown around without a thought offend various people quite a bit.

But, seriously. Offense isn't the Main Problem. The Main Problem is the ideas spread by the conflation of women with children. These ideas can be spread even when there are no women listening.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:35 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:But, seriously. Offense isn't the Main Problem. The Main Problem is the ideas spread by the conflation of women with children. These ideas can be spread even when there are no women listening.

Thank you.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:06 am UTC

>Deep breath before Very Long Post<

Makri wrote:Well, trying to find Cheezwhiz's position ridiculous was my way of avoiding feeling offended myself. Because I feel like I'm one of those innocent, unsuspecting language users, and when I'm accused of using language in a sexist, insulting way, despite the fact that it is known that I have no ill intentions, and without my being aware (and evidence being presented to the effect) that the language community has agreed that my usage is insulting, I have an inclination to feel offended, because I feel like I'm accused of something I didn't do. Therefore, it was natural for me to put the smiley there to express my attitude.

However, I'm sorry for letting this debate become so emotional. I hope the above explains a little the feelings involved on my part... I'll try to keep the further conversation focused on the topic.


Wow. I find that unexpectedly...open. Non-defensive. Thank you for clarifying why you feel the way you do. I'd like to explain a bit myself by saying that I'm not saying you (or anyone else who uses it this way) has bad intent or was necessarily thinking about it - just that it's a usage I don't like and that I think I can make an argument against for linguistic/social reasons. My intent is not to accuse anyone of misogyny, and I apologize if the way I write the OP sounded hostile. :)

(Also, please take the word "offense" relatively lightly - as one poster stated above, it's more of a peeve than something I take truly serious offense to. I don't like it, but I do have bigger fish to fry in terms of getting mad. And I know I keep talking about "how I feel" - I realize this likely sounds egocentric, but that's truly not how I mean it, just "this is the conlcusion X I reach based on the arguments Y that I'm making herein.")

Er, since you've decided to demand proof from me, I reciprocate: citation needed on that entire paragraph.


This is (sort of) like requiring proof that there aren't many black swans in Europe. I mean with respect to the logical structure...


Well then, the first paragraph must be opinion, not fact - no?

Also, that wouldn't be _that_ hard to prove - at least not conceptually, in practical terms it might take awhile to tag all the black swans in Europe and come up with agreed-upon definitions of "many", "Europe" and "black swans".

I've tried to explain how girl is a derogatory sounding term when used with man.


Well, as I see it, you think that calling a young woman a girl has certain implications that I cannot relate to. The fact that I'm not a native speaker of English means that my empirical basis for usage of the word "girl" is narrower than yours, but there are a few facts worth noting:

1) The negative implications (connotations?) of that usage have escaped me in my learning of English.
2) You yourself seem to agree that that usage is not rare. I think if it were widely agreed upon that it is offensive, it would be rarer; or do you really thing everybody who doesn't pedantically watch his tongue is misogynistic?


1) Well, I'm trying to explain why the usage is negative. Because they imply an immaturity based on nothing more than gender. It's problematic to refer to an adult female as a girl whether or not you're also mentioning a man. It's the same way "boy" would be insulting if used to refer to one fully grown man. "The President of the United States is a powerful boy" is very disrespectful (because we know he is a fully grown man) (and awkward to say...but I can't think of a better example at the moment...). "The President of the United States is a powerful boy, and the Secretary of State is a powerful woman" would be insulting, and doubly so because you called Hillary a woman but Obama a man. But either way it's insulting. Girl implicitly connatates immaturity (not to mention the qualities mentioned by the poster with the weird avatar eyes...oh yeah, TainedDeity. :D ), man inherently connatates maturity.

2) No, I do not agree that people widely and consistently avoid offensive language. If they did, nobody would ever tell dirty jokes, use racial slurs, or curse around others. But of course I don't think that "everyone who doesn't pedantically watch his tongue is misogynistic" - I've said all along it's a usage that people have picked up regardless of views on gender. I'm not saying everyone who says this is misogynistic. Really, I'm more saying "this is an instance where a lot of people may not have thought about it all that much before, but if you think about the deeper meaning behind the words it has insulting connotations".

If there is a reasonable degree of agreement in the linguistic community that it's offensive or derogatory to call a young woman "girl", then this is just a fact that escaped acquisition of English and I'll stand corrected. However, that a term is offensive should be easier to prove than that it's not offensive.


If you'll accept Wikipedia as a source (I understand and quite accept that not everyone would), there is in fact such agreement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl#Usage_for_adults and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman#Terminology

However, if speakers (at least of some region) don't agree that it's offensive, then I stand by my position, as the usage in other languages (German and Russian) and the lack of offensive connotations there shows that the conceptual content and relation to other words (e.g. the fact that "girl" is inter alia used for the female analogue of "boy") alone don't give rise to the implications you object to.


Well, that's sort of the point - a lot of people will (at least at first) argue it is not offensive, but I'm explaining why I and some others think it is.

Since I do think the above paragraphs constitute and argument, please ask for clarification at any point you want.

By the way, I just came up with an alternative idea why the collocation "man and girl" might be (especially?) offensive for you: If it is indeed a stylistic clash, as seems to be the case for some, then the fact that the more informal word is used for the woman can give rise to the feeling that the speaker expresses a negative attitude towards her, as opposed to the man, for whom he uses the more formal word.


That's pretty much a different way of stating my problem with the usage - it's not *exactly* what I've been saying all along, but is pretty darn close.

Does it sound equally bad to you if someone says "guy and girl", or if someone tells a young woman that she's a pretty girl? Apparently not, as your last post suggests. Which is actually a huge step towards a common position in this discussion, because detailed informal-formal-connotations are a very delicate thing, so I might easily have gotten them a little wrong, which would then be the reason for my not finding "man and girl" particularly problematic. On the other hand, it seems likely that some children learning English would have gotten that wrong, too... Probably depending on area and social environment.


As I told Lazar, I'm OK with guy/girl. I'm not wild about it, but I'd rather man/girl went first. :P But I don't like the second scenario, of someone telling a young woman she's a pretty girl, if she is in fact a woman. Because, to reiterate, girl suggests immaturity, so unless the person in question truly is a girl, no, I wouldn't be happy with that usage.


So how is it you called me incorrect a few posts ago? If we're gonna go with the postmodernistic view of language (which doesn't work for very long...), then I'm as "right" as you are, and this entire thread and both our posts are moot.


That's not a postmodernistic view. In fact, it's the only view that works in the long run (for cognitive linguistics).


Okay, one thing I know is I am NOT debating what postmodernism tonight. The relativistic "there is no objective truth" argument is postmodernistic by *all* my experience with the term, but okay, whatever. But, setting aside the question of how you define the attitude, I don't see how "there are no rules, only usage" works in the long run. "Textspeak English" may be extraordinarily common, but that doesn't mean it's OK to use in a term paper - because English has formal *rules*, regardless of whether people use them. Usage can most certainly be incorrect. We do change the rules sometimes, and rightfully so, but that doesn't mean there ARE no rules.

As for me calling you incorrect:

Your claim was about language usage: "usage of each word individually, without using any of the others are clear - a woman is an adult female, a man is an adult male. A girl is a juvenile female, a boy is a juvenile male." This is the statement I called incorrect. The reason we are having this discussion is that usage is not clear, because there are enough people who don't accept that a girl is necessarily a juvenile female so that the fact came to your attention and provoked your displeasure.


Well, it really comes down to this: the dictionary defines girl as a juvenile female. But some people refer to fully grown women as girls, so the argument is made that usage is defining girl in a new way. I don't think this is the case. For the reasons outlined above, I think the usage is simply improper, not evolving.

And how is it paranoid to not want to be called something?


That's not paranoid at all. But not wanting to be called something is not the same thing as feeling insulted when one is called that.


I don't want to be called that because I feel insulted when I am. Most people have a reason behind not wanting to be called something.

poxic wrote:Thank you.


Seconded! :)
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Qaanol » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:25 am UTC

First of all, the suggestion that we refer to women as "woman" puts men in an untenable position, at least during the transition period (if there is one). That is because, whereas it's perfectly okay, if somewhat casual, to say, "Hey man, make me a sandwich will you?" it is absolutely unacceptable to say, "Hey woman, make me a sandwich will you?" I say unacceptable because almost every woman I know would take it as a major insult to be called "woman". Think about it. "Listen woman, you need to get your shoes off my chair." Compared to, "Listen man, you need to get your shoes off my chair."

As a form of address, vocative case, "man" is established and reasonably common, but "woman" is, as far as I know, generally taken to be derogatory. That is, the women at whom such phrases are directly have, in my experience, seen it as an insult.

poxic wrote:It irritates me when people won't use a grown-up word for women. Y'know, like the word "women". I don't call the men I know "boys" unless I'm specifically referring to something boyish about them. They're men. Why can't I be a woman, instead of a girl? Is it because women have to be taken seriously?

It's more of a pet peeve than a really offensive thing, but man is it a peeve. Very peevishly so.

I see what you did there.

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Your argument seems to be "that's the way we use it so it's generally accepted as right" - and that's exactly my point. It's the common usage, accepted as correct, when it is not correct. There is no way to rationalize it other than "that's just how it's used". As far as I've seen on the forums, that's not an accepted argument for keeping phraseology.

As far as I'm concerned, that's the only acceptable argument for keeping phraseology, and the only criterion for grammatical and lexical correctness.
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:34 am UTC

It doesn't satisfy Basic Human Decency, however. And politics is certainly intertwined with the lexicon.

Also, I have this sweet little violin concerto for all the people who would have to drop a slangy redundant form of address in order to stop treating women like children.
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TaintedDeity
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:39 am UTC

Replacing the word 'man' with the word 'woman' in that situation just doesn't work.
In these situations: "Hey man, you're pretty cool" or "Listen, man, let's go buy some chips" the word 'man' is used as a gender neutral pronoun.
That particular usage of the word 'man' also hasn't got decades of oppression behind it whereas shouting something like "Do this, woman!" does. The word woman is tacked on to make a statement derogatory.
That really sucks and is further proof of the entrenched sexism in society.

It's also not very related to the discussion here, I don't think.
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poxic
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:47 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:I see what you did there.

Heh. I didn't even notice it. Kudos.

The reason that "hey woman, make me a sandwich" is more offensive than "hey man, make me a sandwich"? The first sentence is stuffed full of a sexist context, one in which women are supposed to be making sandwiches and men are supposed to be receiving them. The second sentence just sounds like the asker is being obnoxious to a generic person (man = generic person, woman = a female). That has nothing to do with the sentence "Look at those women over there" vs. "Look at those girls over there".

It used to be totally acceptable (to white people) to make this sort of cartoon. Does that mean it was correct to do so? It used to be totally acceptable for men to call grown women "girls", and many still do. Does that mean it's correct? Does that mean it doesn't matter what women think of it? That the only thing that matters is that some men think it doesn't matter?

/trying not to asplode
The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.
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Pez Dispens3r
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:48 am UTC

This reminds me of an incident on an Australian awards show in the seventies when the host, speaking of Muhammad Ali, said, "I like the boy", not realizing 'boy' is considered a racial slur against African Americans in the United States [the audio is a little poor, but the incident happens about 2 minutes in]. And I'll get a little offended when people refer to me as 'boy' at work (elderly Italian gentlemen will often say, "Good boy" when they mean, "Thank you"--you kinda just have to swallow it as being part of a cultural divide, as opposed to barking at them). In any event, I don't think 'girl' has a place outside of referring to young adolescent women, or as a term of endearment (in the same way one might refer to a group of people as 'kids', or one might say, "I met a boy/girl at a party the other night"). "Man and girl", unless referring to a male adult and a female child, definitely seems socially incorrect purely because of the juxtaposition. There is a clear superior/inferior implication, which should encourage one to use it very selectively ( for example, when you wanted people to consider you an arsehat. Like if you were portraying Tony Stark in a film).

In any event, how do people feel about "guys" being used to refer to a group of people of mixed gender? I seem to find the usage common enough, even when it's referring exclusively to a group of women, that it's taken on a more universal meaning. Although I accept it would be odd to call a single woman a "guy" ("Sophie's just zis guy, you know?").
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Re: Man vs Girl

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:04 am UTC

I see "guy" moving into a neutral role, though I'm not quite comfortable with it yet. Someone calling me a guy still feels weird, though I get that it's meant to be a neutral term.

I wish we didn't have to use a male term in order to refer to females in a neutral way, I guess. If that's how the language will evolve, then I'll try to evolve with it. I just wish we could find a new non-judgment-laden word to refer to generic companion females, like "guyas" or something. (Please don't use "guyas". Even I can tell that it sucks. :wink: )
The Supreme Ethical Rule: Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself.
- Felix Adler, professor, lecturer, and reformer (13 Aug 1851-1933)


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