What’s wrong with the word “woman?”
I ran across a post today asking for some new words for females of the homo sapiens species: “Ladies, We Need More Words Than Just ‘Lady’” by Katie J. M. Baker. Maybe there is a different gyno sapiens species?
What is wrong with being called a WOMAN? Nobody seems to think that the word “man” is derogatory, so why don’t people use “woman” as a descriptive term. Why do we have to be “the girls” or “ladies”?
I’ve actually heard the phrase spoken “men and females” as if females are not people. That is the real question here, and it has always been the question: are women people?
I think the language dilemma was created as recently as the 1960s, when in proper language terms, everyone was male. If you used the vague pronoun “everyone,” you used the male pronoun to match: “Everyone left his underwear on the floor.”
This dichotomy starts out in early childhood–brother is a “buddy” but sister is a “sissy.” Get my drift?
Baker says that men get lots of good generic terms “guy/dude/bro…but we’re stuck choosing between ‘women,’ which is super dry, ‘lady,’ and ‘girl,’ which skews young.” Why is women a dry term? She thinks “dame” and “gal” are “anachronistic.”
Until feminists began to clamor for inclusive language, parodied by a brilliant essay by Douglas Hofstadter “A Person Paper on Purity in Language“,
there was no need for a breezy, friendly word for women, because nobody wrote about women as people, only as “the gentle sex.”
But there are lots of slang terms, terms that never carry the “brotherhood” connotation: babe, bird, chick, cougar, dish, fox, lass, sistah, skirt, twirl, and many more with less savory connotation: bitch, whore, cunt, cooze. It is part of our culture for women to be vilified in languge, even in wikipedia.
Makes you wonder who is afraid of women. Women are powerful, once we get over being constrained to act as ladies, girls, gals, or “the other.” Maybe there is reason to keep us skewed young or old. How about some power words like witch, crone, matriarch, sorceress, maven?
I rather like being “Miss Charlotte,” which in the South means I am old. I think “Dame Charlotte” would be lovely, and “Madame Charlotte” even better, despite the occupational implications. But I’m basically not a guy, a dude, a bro. I am WOMAN, and if you call me merely a “female” as if I was a dog or a holly bush, then you will hear me ROAR.