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I find the term "Ladies" offensive


19 replies to this topic

#1
Lace Mindu

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It's because our society started as a sexist society, where women were perceived to be the weaker sex, and were, quite seriously, regarded as the property of their fathers, and then their husbands, until death. We were second class citizens, unable to own property, vote, make our own decisions, hold "real" jobs, etc, and were seen as enherently inferior to men.

We have now crossed MOST, but not ALL, of those obstacles. (We are still underrepresented at the highest levels of business, politics, and education, for one, and still are ROUTINELY paid less for the same work as a man gets). And rightly or wrongly, I see our continuingly sexist language as a part of this problem, i.e. "businessman", "policeman", the use of "his" to represent something that could apply to all people, and: "ladies".

Why the later? The connotation of "girls" and "ladies" to label us suggests that women are perpetually young, genteel, quietly SUBSERVIENT, well-mannered and non-aggressive people, and it does not reflect the TRUE nature and vast potential that women have.

I quote from the University of Minnesota's guidelines in this matter:

"3. Do not use the word girl to refer to an adult. Many women find this term offensive. Call females over the age of 18 women, not girls, gals, or ladies. (The definition of girl is a female child. One possibility for eliminating problems with this word is to use the terms young woman and young man for teenagers.)

4. Use parallel terms for women and men. Use men and women, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, husband and wife (not man and wife). Alternate the order sometimes: women and men, gentlemen and ladies, wife and husband. Use ladies only when men are being referred to as gentlemen. And don't call women wives and mothers unless you are calling men husbands and fathers."

So, IMO, we are WOMEN. That is the strong term, the un-sexist term, and the CORRECT term. Yeah, I can see people using "ladies" once in a while, but only if they would substitute (or add) "gentlemen" in the same place, and it's in some very formal, genteel, well-mannered context. If not, or if in doubt, I prefer to use the term "women". It's just part of letting the world know that we're not meek, subservient inferiors to men anymore.

Now...about this "chick" thing... :D ;)

#2
Cerina

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I have no problem with the term "ladies"...it might be the southern in me but that's what I prefer to be called. I think of a "lady" as a woman of distinction and sophistication. So that in no way is derogatory to me.

Now "girls" bugs me, but depending on who uses it and how. When one of my male friends refers to us females of the group as the "girls" it doesn't bother me. I call them the "guys".

Though, I do really really hate being called a "young lady" now that makes me want to start ripping off heads. "Chick" I have no feelings about either way. I use it. Who doesn't?

I guess it's just like with any other name/title/nickname..it depends on who's using it and what their motives are. I even consider "*****" to be ok when talking about/to me...but only when used appropiately..by friends.

#3
Ingeri

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I have to agree with Cerina with this. I was raised not only in the South, but also in a military environment. The term "lady" brings to mind a figure with class, an air of nobility, someone to be respected. A diva, if you will.

That article you quoted, Lace? I was called a "young lady" when I was six. When a group of women go out on the town, what do they call it? "Girl's Night Out."

In today's society, it is perfectly natural for a woman to speak her mind and be heard.

When a man opens a door for me, or holds a chair out for me, I do not think he is treatigng me like an inferior person who is incapable of doing these things on my own. He is showing manners, chivalry, and letting me know he respects me enough to do these things. Servants to kings (men, so you know) held doors and chairs for them because it was a gesture of respect. As a royal figure, the commoners bowed their heads in respect to him as he passed, and bowed or curtsied before him, a silent way of saying "I honor and respect you." As the bride walks down the aisle at her wedding, the friends and family members rise and bow their heads to her, a mark of respect.

Ladies, girls, women, gals, broads, chicks, dames, skirts.... Yes, I am all of the above, but most of all, I am a lady.

#4
Sigh Snootles

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i am all for calling a person what they WANT to be called. ****, i know some women who take the word ***** as a compliment; they interpret that word as a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind. whether or not they prefer being introduced as a ***** is another thing, but hey, you never know!!

personally, if someone says 'lady' or 'woman' to describe me, i don't mind either way. if they say something i don't like, i correct them, and we carry on. now, if i correct them, and they STILL call me something i don't want to be called, THEN we have a problem.

but i've always hated that whole 'man and wife' thing at weddings, too. its like the woman is the only one who is changing, the man is still the man, but the woman has now gone from woman to 'wife'. wtf??? yes, it should be 'husband and wife'... its a joint venture, marriage, and it should start that way right from the get go.

#5
Mara Jade Skywalker

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I'm 25, and I still refer to myself as a girl. I refer to most women as girls, actually, if I know them personally. My friends are girls, not women, even though they're all my age.

Why do I do this? I have no idea. I think it's still weird for me to think of myself as a self-sufficient, independent woman. There was never a big moment for me when I started thinking of myself as a grown-up. So, it's still weird when I hear myself referred to as a woman, although I know that's what I should be called.

I don't mind the word "lady," especially if I'm called a "ladyfriend." Or, when Tom Jones sings it. :D

#6
Ender

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Interesting topic.

Meanings of words change and mean different things to different people. I view the word lady equal to the word gentleman. Someone of a particular sex that is polite and perhaps well read. The same holds true for men. I do not see how this is sexist no more than the word gentleman is sexist. If I had a daughter I might say to her when we might be going out to "be a lady" the same way I would tell me son to "be a gentleman". To quote George Carlin, "Words themselves aren't racist, it is the racist ******* that is using them!" It is not the word that is used, but HOW the word is being used. It is the intent that is the problem. Now, Noam Chomsky states that our language shapes how we view the world. I agree and I think this is the route Lace is taking. However I do not think words should be removed from our venecular all together because some might deem them as sexist or racist. Men and women are different. Men are better at some things (better spatial/kinesthetic intelligence) and women are better at some things (better verbal/interpersonal intelligence). Both are equally essential to a society. Both sexes are equal, but different.

One other thing, about the wage gaps. I am not doubting that it is not there, but it is vastly overblown. Yes, overall women do get paid less than men. However what is not told is that the bulk of those statistics come from jobs that do not require a high level of education. In those jobs men do get paid more because of the type of work. They are highly physical jobs (construction, sanitation workers, truck drivers, etc) that most women do not want to take. It isn't that Job X pays men $2/ hour and women $1/ hour (that is straight out illegal). It is that men usually take job X that pays $2/ hour and women take job Y that pays $1/hour . We hear about "same job/different pay" because they fall under the same catagory of work (often unskilled/skilled labor). The problem is that the sexes need to get equal opportunity for those same jobs, which sometimes they do not.

#7
Darth Mall

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It's already been said a few times, but I use the term lady out of respect. If you don't like being called a lady, fine, tell me what you would like to be called instead. Don't get mad at me the first time though when I refer to you respectfully.

#8
munipixel2

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I don't always find the word 'lady' offensive. Just like alot of terms, it's just offensive in the context that it's used. When the women at work go home for the night, I always say "Good Night Ladies!" And I don't mean it badly at all... afterall, if I said "Good Night Women!" or tried saying goodnight to each and every one of them, it would be wierd. So it could be offensive, yeah, but only if it's meant to be so... After all, we do say 'ladies and gentlemen.', not 'women and gentlemen.'

Anywho... look at my cute avvie!

#9
Kyrian

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Cute cat pics ftw!! Ask Mrs for the PM i sent her... :P

#10
Mrslukeskywalker

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Why the later? The connotation of "girls" and "ladies" to label us suggests that women are perpetually young, genteel, quietly SUBSERVIENT, well-mannered and non-aggressive people, and it does not reflect the TRUE nature and vast potential that women have.

I could tell THAT much just from that post. ;)
Anyway, I don't think lady is an offensive term. If I was called a lady by a guy in my school, I would probably die of happiness. I think 'Lady' and 'Mistress' are cool names to be called, like Sith Lady or Jedi Mistress.
Heck, Jedi Mistress just sounds straight up cool!
People should start callin Female Jedi Masters, Mistress.
Muni, your avvy is ADOREABLE!!!!
And I'll send you the PM, muni, If you want it.

#11
munipixel2

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Thanks! Yeah, I'd love to see it. :D

#12
Mrslukeskywalker

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Ok.

#13
Destiny Skywalker

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I have a funny take on the term.

IMO, all females are women. Not all women are "ladies". I think of a lady as a title almost. It is a women who has both class and feminimity, but has a quiet strength as well.

#14
basil

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As long as it's quiet.

#15
Reality

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what up, ladies?

#16
Cerina

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Know what's funny...you two have both said the same thing to me today and most of the LADIES in here would find it horribly offensive.

#17
basil

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Which is why YOU need to check PM.

And THEY don't.

#18
QueenWoodRat

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I'm not bothered being called a Lady or a Girl or a Tomboy or a Rat lol.



I just give people a right old lecture if they insult me with a much more nastier name.

#19
Arica

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I don't think it's offensive when used (as you said) as in "Ladies and Gentlemen," and actually I don't really find it offensive in general (to me it just means you're a nice person of the female sex), EXCEPT in this idiotic hip hop context that they have come up with in recent years (e.g. "'Sup to all the laydees in the hizzouse!", etc.). I really hate that. Frankly, it reflects badly on both men and women. The cavalier way the word is usually shouted is really disrespectful, and apparently it makes some girls out there giggle and think the guy yelling it out is cute, which is really, really lame. Other than that, though, it doesn't really bother me. Women over 18 should definitely not be called girls, though. And "chick", well, that depends on who it's coming from. I would take it from a Southern Californian, as it's just sort of crept into our vocabulary as another word for female, though if they used it in an obviously derogatory manner, that would irk me. Usually it's not, though. An example from my male friend: "Dude! I met this chick, and she was really cool!" (lol, then there's the fact that he's calling me a dude, but whatever). However, I wouldn't take it from an East Coaster, as they don't have the same manner of usage for it (as far as I know), and it would be used in a derogatory sense.

#20
irishdancer2

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I've thought about this at length before, and concluded that it really doesn't make a difference to me, as long as it doesn't seem like they're disrespecting me.

Which is why YOU need to check PM.

And THEY don't.


I'd be anything from a lady to a ***** if I got a PM from basil. . . *hint hint*



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