Girls?

Why yes, I am trying to distract you from the obvious fact that I cannot stay home long enough to photo my items for the WIP contest

Hem.  This afternoon, maybe?

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Girls hanging out at Dog House Yarns & More

In the meantime, let’s talk about another word.  Girls.  Most of you (except Pissy, as far as I know) are indeed female, but otherwise, you’re a very diverse group.  So I want to talk about the use of the word “girls” to refer to a group of adult women.

How do you feel about it?  Is it too glib?  Demeaning after a certain age?  Do you use it?  If so, how and when?

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A group of girls at dinner 2009

You see, it came up at a cocktail party Monday night.   A middle-aged woman – a grandmother – casually addressed a group of us, ranging from mid-20s to early 40s (okay, 41, but those of you who were around for my birthday last year know the specifics!) as girls, and then immediately apologized and the discussion began.

Personally, it’s all in context.  As a young female firefighter, younger and much more petite than my male counterparts, I would have growled and snarled had one of them referenced the group of female firefighters as girls, no matter how well I knew that the speaker respected women.  However, I do refer to the delightful women in the League with me as girls, quite often.  It has nothing to do with the age differences; I’m pretty sure I used it when I was a new member and there were plenty of other members older than I was. 

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MJ & a couple of girlfriends fall 2004

MJ talks about the group of mostly retired but some not friends she has lunch with some Wednesdays as “the girls” too, just to add another perspective.

What say you?

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This entry was posted in Friends.

13 comments on “Girls?

  1. Linda Martin says:

    I use the term ‘girls’ all the time, as does my 91-yr-old mother, to refer to my ‘girl’ friends. I’m still a girl at heart and have to remind myself often that I’m actually a grownup. I’d rather be a girl and I think most of my friends feel the same way.

  2. Marjie says:

    I use the term “girls” too. I think it’s a term of some degree of endearment. My MIL refers to her only daughter as a girl (“That girl works so hard,”) and I hear it a lot. I just don’t hear it with reference to work related matters, unless it’s referring to a friendly thing, like, “The girls from work went out for dinner on Tuesday.” I think it’s common, similar to “guys”.

  3. Natalie says:

    Trust me it took me a week to do mine. 😉 You have until the end of the month so just take your time. 🙂

    Girls time is always good times. 🙂

  4. gMarie says:

    I think it’s all about context and how comfortable you are – I think it’s easier taken from a girl than a boy. I do not refer to a group of men as boys however – although it’s probably way, way more accurate!

    I refer to the knitting group as ‘girls’ and we have ages from 20 to 60. I also think it’s easier to say than women – which is so very, very formal, no? g

  5. Bubblesknits says:

    When we’re older, we’re still girls…just wiser. 😉

  6. Sue says:

    I seldom use the term girls. It doesn’t come easily to me. I do often call a group of women guys. I guess it probably goes back to my days as an activist in the womens movement. I guess I should write about that sometime. Today’s younger women take for granted so many things that were fought for by their elders and if they’re not careful they could easily lose many of those rights.

  7. anniebananie says:

    Girls is a southern thing – I am not called a “girl” up north. It doesn’t bother me to be called a girl, because that is what I am – regardless of my age. What’s amusing is that we call men “boys” when we are up north. Go figure. 🙂

  8. I really think it comes down to context. I go out with “the girls” and refer to the collected members of my immediate family as “the boys”, including the dh. I tend to call a group of males “men” in other situations, but always call the fellows on my fav basketball team “boys”. Ladies of the “fill in the blank” trips off my tongue with regularity. Offense taken from being called a girl? Maybe…but not too often.

  9. Kristyn says:

    I don’t mind girls unless it is obviously being used to be condecending. DH doesn’t like being refered to as boy but there is that whole racist tone to it so I understand. I still call him and Clark the boys though – I can’t help it and he knows I mean it lovingly.

  10. Kathy says:

    Personally I like ‘the girls’ referral, makes me feel young ;).
    Like anniebananie we refer to the men as ‘the boys’.

  11. Walden says:

    Well, I use the word ‘girls’ often, but honestly I tend more often to use the generalization of ‘guys’ whether they be girls or boys. Maybe it’s along the same reason I call all dogs, no matter their age ‘puppies’. We never really grow up and really in many aspects I don’t want to. I feel odd and stuffy calling a group of women ‘ladies’, but that could just be my white trash genes talking.

  12. Mary says:

    Funny this topic should come up. Yesterday, I was reading a report that was destined for a federal agency in which the (male) writer, in a description of two professional women, referred to them as “the ladies.” Frankly, I felt it was offensive as no where in the report were men referred to as the “guys” or the “men.” I think it depends on the context and manner in which the term “girls” is being used that makes it okay or not.

  13. Anita says:

    Catching up here…Hmmm… I like the term “Girls”. I like that much more than the people who come in where I work & call me Maam. LOL

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