Men and girls
April 28, 2010 2:42 AM Subscribe
Is it acceptable and PC to refer to grown-up women as girls in this context? Does it say something about the person who does it?
posted by sively to society & culture (87 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
English isn't my first language, and even though I'm relatively fluent and use it daily, subtexts can be tricky, which is why I'd appreciate some native speaker insight.
I recently heard a 40+ year old American guy talk (as in, overshare) about his sex life, and more generally discuss sex, relationships and other gender-related topics, and he consistently referred to women as "girls". E.g., "I like it when girls do X" and "some girls want the man to Y" and "the girl should never Z". He was talking about grown ups, and his own partners were 20-40 years old.
Is this just standard, normal, neutral use of English without any sexist connotations at all?
I have of course over the years noticed that this kind of use of "girls" is more commonplace in English than in my mother tongue (or, in fact, in most other languages I've learned), especially as the counterpart to "guys". But in this case, the person in question referred to men as, well, "men", which made the juxtaposition sound a bit off to me.
Is it just my non-native ear that caused me to hear a slightly sleazy or condescending undertone?