Not a “girl”.

In Germany, when a female turns 16, she ceases to be “Fräulein” (little woman) and becomes “Frau” (woman, or lady). I like this tradition and think that it speaks well of treating a child as a full member of the community, even before he or she actually becomes one. Similarly, the bar/bat mitzvah tradition recognizes adulthood. We don’t really have an equivalent in the United States and I don’t like that the counterpart to “guys” is “girls”. I can have a night out with the “guys” or a night out with the “girls”. The first sounds like there will be drinking and fun to be had. The second sounds like parlor games and children. [“Gals” is not an acceptable substitution.]

I bristle at being called a “girl” by people who don’t know me. To my parents and family can still be their “little girl” (and will be even when I’m 85), but in general, I don’t think a woman should be called a girl.

Especially when that woman is participating in one of the most difficult sports in the world at the highest possible level. I could care less about “Girls’ Ski Cross” but I’ll be watching avidly “Women’s Ski Cross”.


  1. I love how Sex Toy James immediately jumps in and says

    “When one first stumbles into it and gets the whole spiel about how it demeans and infantilizes women and blah blah blah, what I heard and I’m sure many others hear is “You don’t respect women… As a dude with a massive respect for women who knows that he does not use the term “girl” as a diminutive, I’m going to fight back.”

    “Blah blah blah”? He has a “massive respect for women” but he still calls them “girls”? Someone needs to check his unconscious bias and privilege.

  2. Maybe we use it differently in the Midwest. I hear (and use) the word girl(s) and term “girls night out” a lot, about as often as using the word gal(s). I don’t hear it or us it in a derogatory way.

    In reference to what you’re referring to with sports, that would seem odd to me to use the word girl.

    Random trivia: Scritti Politti had a song called “The World Girl”. It’s one of my faves of theirs.

  3. I know that “gal” is the commonly-accepted word corresponding to “guy” but I reject it. It sounds forced, weird, and reminds me of “Buffalo Gals, won’t you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight”.

    I think that, as a generic means of referring to a group of women a woman hangs out with, “Girls’ Night Out” is acceptable. But we don’t say “Boys’ Night Out”.

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