Female equivalent for "guy"

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Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:30 pm UTC

It's bothered me for a while that there's no good female equivalent for "guy". That is a word which casually describes an adult (or older teenager) female human. You see, girl, like boy is not a good choice because it implies that they're not an adult and thus its use for female adults has problematic implications from a feminist point of view; woman tends to sound a bit stuffy and old for 16-23 year olds or so and lady certainly does.

So, what do you guys use? Do you just ignore it and use girl because it's the norm? Do you feel bad about it every time you do it? Do you use some other word? Or do you use woman or lady?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Qaanol » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:08 am UTC

Can we make it be ‘guy’ please?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:27 am UTC

I doubt it. "Guy" is already pretty entrenched as masculine, at least in the singular.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Thesh » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:35 am UTC

Wouldn't that be "Gal"?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Xenomortis » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:42 am UTC

Actually context dependent.
But I've used girl(s), lady/ladies and woman/women for people above 18. Only generally used the first for those below 18.

Northerners appear to use "lass" fairly indiscriminately.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:24 am UTC

I'm fine with using "guys" as a gender neutral term but, for me, "a guy" is male, likewise "a dude" (even though I do address my female friends as dude sometimes).

Lass is a reasonable option but suffers from being associated with lads rather than guys and given modern adaptation of that term, has different connotations for me. Of course that made me think of "doll" but I think we can all see that that wouldn't be a great option :P

I hadn't really thought about gal. It sounds a bit similar to girl (but if its also meant to work as a pair with guy that's pretty much inevitable) but doesn't have any particularly off-putting associations.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Aiwendil » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:07 pm UTC

It seems to me that 'gal' is the traditional female equivalent of 'guy', but that, at least in my idiolect, it is now too infrequently used to completely fill that role. It would be nice if 'guy' could be gender-neutral. In my usage it is sometimes used gender-neutrally, but only in restricted cases. I might refer to a mixed-sex group as 'those guys', for example. Or I might address a group of any sex (even all female) as 'you guys'. But if I say 'I was talking to this guy the other day', I am definitely referring to a male. If it had been a female I was talking to, I would be forced to choose between calling her a 'girl' or a 'woman'.

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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:43 pm UTC

I think it would be easier to revive the use of "gal" than it would be to get people to use singular "guy" in a gender neutral way.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gaurwraith » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:20 pm UTC

I hear 'gal' often ...
and 'guys' as neutral, but no guy for a girl
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby poxic » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:47 pm UTC

In the '70s, gal was lumped in with broad, girl, and chick as demeaning toward women. Some people were still pushing for the use of lady at that point, though I think woman won out in that or the next decade.

Things have mellowed a bit since then. My friends and I use chick sometimes, as a sort-of-funny reclamation. Gal has been gone long enough that it just might be able to make a value-neutral comeback. At least, for people who weren't around for (or don't remember much of) the '60s and '70s.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Jumble » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:22 pm UTC

Interesting topic. I find I naturally use 'guys' as a group, and slip into 'girl' for singular. However, I've had a couple of complaints and I really don't want to cause offence so I've started trying say 'lady', but it just sounds a bit stuffy. Advice would be gratefully received. You can't offend me, I'm an old fart.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:31 pm UTC

I tend to use woman even though it does feel like it implies too much grown-up-ness (more than I would feel comfortable labelling myself with were I in their shoes) albeit less so than lady.

Gal I think has been long enough gone that, were it to make a comeback, the value previously assigned to it would not make it problematic.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Qaanol » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:50 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I doubt it. "Guy" is already pretty entrenched as masculine, at least in the singular.

Wait, it’s not entrenched to mean a burning rag effigy of a traitor to the crown anymore?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby mathmannix » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:14 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:I'm fine with using "guys" as a gender neutral term but, for me, "a guy" is male, likewise "a dude" (even though I do address my female friends as dude sometimes).

Lass is a reasonable option but suffers from being associated with lads rather than guys and given modern adaptation of that term, has different connotations for me. Of course that made me think of "doll" but I think we can all see that that wouldn't be a great option :P

I hadn't really thought about gal. It sounds a bit similar to girl (but if its also meant to work as a pair with guy that's pretty much inevitable) but doesn't have any particularly off-putting associations.


The first two that pop in my head are "gal" because of the alliteration with guy, and "doll" because of the musical. ("A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck"!)

Lass goes with Lad, so it seems forced to make it go with Guy.

Girl, Lass, Chick, and Doll (and probably even Broad, I would venture) are claimed by many female-types as their preferred nomenclature, but would be found offensive by others. I too know of know negative connotation for Gal, but it has a certain classy old-time flavor to it - as does Dame. I recommend either Gal or Dame, and Gal works better merely because of the aforementioned alliteration.

On the other hand, since Guy is also a (now-rare) male proper name, you could use another monosyllabic female name as a generic, like maybe "Jane" or "Sue".
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:26 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I doubt it. "Guy" is already pretty entrenched as masculine, at least in the singular.

Wait, it’s not entrenched to mean a burning rag effigy of a traitor to the crown anymore?

Obviously words can change meaning over time, but not quickly, and so why not just revive an existing word that everyone already understands as meaning female, even if it is a wee bit archaic?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Роберт » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

Gal seems like the most appropriate one to play the same role as "guy".

However, I've seen a man say to a college-aged woman "how's it going, man"? So the words may be becoming more gender-neutral in some circles.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby eSOANEM » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:41 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:On the other hand, since Guy is also a (now-rare) male proper name, you could use another monosyllabic female name as a generic, like maybe "Jane" or "Sue".


Sheila? :lol:

Роберт wrote:Gal seems like the most appropriate one to play the same role as "guy".

However, I've seen a man say to a college-aged woman "how's it going, man"? So the words may be becoming more gender-neutral in some circles.


I do this too (albeit usually with "dude" instead of "man") but I would still never say someone female was "a dude" (unless I was meant dude in a slightly different sense (possibly nsfw for swearing)).
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby rhetorical » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:02 pm UTC

Dude -- Dudette?

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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

Just "Dude" - it is gender-neutral.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:51 pm UTC

I specifically don't want a gender-neutral though. I want a noun to describe a female late-teenager/early-twenties-er i.e. an equivalent to "a guy".

I do definitely use dude as gender neutral most of the time, but, whilst I would interpret "dude" as a form of address as gender neutral, I'd usually interpret "a dude" as being male.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby mathmannix » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:52 pm UTC

How about Guyana?

(Seriously though, Guy as a French-English name comes from Italian Guido, which apparently means Guide, so how about Guida?)
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby tpr » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

If you look at the frequency of 'guy' and 'gal' on Google n-grams, you can see that usage of 'gal' hasn't really declined by much since about 1960. It's remained fairly constant, but 'guy' has taken off in a big way.

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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:48 pm UTC

Can I just take a moment to point out how completely stupid it is for Google to report frequencies in percents like that? If I have to sit and count zeroes regardless, they might at least have just reported raw frequencies. If they want something that's actually legible, they could have gone with per-million counts instead of percent.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Cecily » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:57 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Wouldn't that be "Gal"?


Oh please not "gal". Maybe it's generational and/or depends what side of the Atlantic you are, but to me "gal" is much like "gel" and conjures a posh young lady.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Erezen » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:11 am UTC

Here in the US, "girl" is regularly used for any girl/woman up through the age of about 25. "Guys and girls" is a regularly used turn of phrase. The slang term is generally "chick," but that's more equivalent to "dude." Using the term "girl" for women of this age does not "imply" that they're not adults any more than the fact that a table is masculine in German "implies" that Germans think a table has any sex whatsoever.

Alternatively, "gal," which derives from "girl" but has drifted enough semantically to be considered a separate word, can be used generally until a woman is around 35.

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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby sje46 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:23 am UTC

You see, girl, like boy is not a good choice because it implies that they're not an adult


You are hitting on some fuzzy terms here. This all depends heavily on context and on the general feel of our times. If I were to commit a crime, the newspaper would refer to me as a 24-year-old man, or, gender neutral, an "adult". If I'm with peers doing casual stuff, I'm a "guy". But am I an adult? I do not normally refer to myself as an adult, because that sounds weird to me. I do not feel like an adult with adult responsibilities, not quite yet. It's an identity sort of thing. Maybe I will when I'm 26. Adolescence is being prolonged into the mid-to-late 20s. In the past, people were out on their own when they were still *teenagers*.

Calling a 22 year old girl a "woman" is kinda like calling her an adult. It may be technically true but sounds out of place and inappropriate. It may make her feel uncomfortable. And the same exact thing is true with guys. It's not the case with *all* people in the demographic, sure, but enough where I choose not to refer to people my age as "men" and "women". At least not in a casual context. Not yet.

Additionally, you are a bit iffy on the linguistics here. A word can perform more than two functions. A word can be in multiple word pairs. To use an example someone else gave me, look at the word "short". "Short" can be paired with "long" or it can be paired with "tall". That doesn't mean that using "short" in that way is *implying* that 'long" and "tall" are the same thing.

Girl just happens to refer to both a pre-pubescent female and a post-pubescent-but-not-yet-adult female. That's how society uses it, and very few people seem to be offended by it, whereas people *are* put off by being called a "man", "woman", "ma'am", etc.

So I'll err on the side of making people feel comfortable. In a few years I'll be calling them "women" I'm sure. If things get too awkward, then society will just start using a new word to fix the problem, which is exactly how "guy" got its present meaning (referring to all males over the age of puberty). To be blunt about it, I think the girl/guy issue is a made-up issue.

Forcing "gal" wouldn't work, because forcing words never works, and it makes you sound awkward in the process. At least where I live, absolutely no one uses the word "gal" anymore. Not since the 40s I'm sure.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Роберт » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:13 pm UTC

You're an adult. A 22-year-old woman is an adult.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby sje46 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:04 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:You're an adult. A 22-year-old woman is an adult.


I don't mean to be rude, but I'm not sure you read or fully comprehended my comment. I said that while technically adults, many people my age feel really uncomfortable being referred to as adults.

It's an self-identity thing.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:59 pm UTC

Oh, it makes you uncomfortable, does it?

Well, I've known a lot more women who are uncomfortable being called girls than being called women, whereas you can avoid the issue entirely for men with "guy". So we're still better off with a female equivalent for "guy" than we are calling all young women "girls".
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby poxic » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:12 am UTC

Yes, "girl" isn't great. Anyone referring to me as a girl is going to get quizzical-looked. (Granted, I'm at the age where I'll be fighting off "old biddy" soon.)
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby sje46 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:53 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Oh, it makes you uncomfortable, does it?
Yes, that is literally what I said.
Well, I've known a lot more women who are uncomfortable being called girls than being called women, whereas you can avoid the issue entirely for men with "guy". So we're still better off with a female equivalent for "guy" than we are calling all young women "girls".

You didn't address the issue of age. An 18 year old is legally an adult. Does that mean she's comfortable being called a woman? I'm going to take a chance and say no. In my experiences, girls that age would rather be called girls than women. That lingers a bit. At college they were girls. Never once at college did I run into trouble or have anyone tell me "Actually I'm a woman". I think I'm on the cusp of this (if I didn't make that clear enough), though, so let's keep the discussion for college-aged females.

I have no idea how old the females you're talking about are. I don't know if you are talking about 50 year old women or college aged girls. So your argument doesn't really address anything I said. I also don't know how feminist the group you hang out with is. Context also matters a ton.

Yes, it would be neat if there were a term for it. There isn't. And I'm not going to use awkward made up phrases just to appease people I haven't actually run into in my life yet.. So it's kinda a non-issue.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:12 am UTC

sje46 wrote:Never once at college did I run into trouble or have anyone tell me "Actually I'm a woman".
How comfortable do you think any of them would have been telling you that when everyone else just implicitly assumed as you do, that "obviously" it's totes okay to call all of them girls? Maybe some of them did mind, but knew you well enough to know that they'd get the kind of reaction you've given to this thread, and so decided to avoid conflict by remaining silent.

You know, the way girls and women are always encouraged to keep silent rather than be confrontational?

I have no idea how old the females you're talking about are. I don't know if you are talking about 50 year old women or college aged girls.
I had this discussion for the first time in college, with other college-aged men and women. I have since had it several times with other people, ranging from teenagers to retirees.

Even if you are right that women prefer to be thought of as "girls" a bit longer than men prefer to be thought of as "boys", isn't that precisely because their only alternative is "women", whereas you and I have the intermediate "guys" stage?

Yes, it would be neat if there were a term for it. There isn't. And I'm not going to use awkward made up phrases just to appease people I haven't actually run into in my life yet.. So it's kinda a non-issue.
You're welcome to continue disregarding the potential wishes of women who don't like to be infantilized, but that doesn't mean we won't call you out for it.

And which suggestions in this thread have been awkward made up phrases? Hell, which have even been phrases of any kind, rather than single (generally monosyllabic) words? I count one neologism, which is "guyana" and which I don't think was really meant seriously.

Are you sure you're replying to the right thread? Did you think you were talking about, for example, awkward made up pronouns for singular gender-neutral or gender-nonbinary use? Because I have yet to see any awkwardness or made-upness or even phrasiness in this particular thread that you actually responded to.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Wednesday » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:22 am UTC

Speaking as a 19-year-old-woman, I prefer the term "woman" to girl. I am fully capable of doing adult things, having adult conversations, and at this point I find it harder to empathize with younger girls/women (anyone my age or younger, really. I have used the term "lady" and "chick" to refer to other female people my age and older before, usually where I'd use the term "guy" to refer to a male person at the same time.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby sje46 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:47 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
sje46 wrote:Never once at college did I run into trouble or have anyone tell me "Actually I'm a woman".
How comfortable do you think any of them would have been telling you that when everyone else just implicitly assumed as you do, that "obviously" it's totes okay to call all of them girls? Maybe some of them did mind, but knew you well enough to know that they'd get the kind of reaction you've given to this thread, and so decided to avoid conflict by remaining silent.
What reaction? The slightly confrontational edge I have in online discussions? Doesn't exist with me in real life. Of course you can call bullshit on that but unless you actually meet me you're going to have to take my word that I'm not really that confrontational in real life.
[/i]
You know, the way girls and women are always encouraged to keep silent rather than be confrontational?
Well yeah, that is definitely true (I remember one professor mentioning that male students almost always participate more in classes, even if he's outnumbered 30:1 by women. Note how I use "women" there...that actually flowed out naturally; my word choice depends on context.
However, you are assuming things about the type of women I'm around. I've lived in lowell, mass the past few years...women don't really have much issue telling you off. My family is very confrontational. My sister is too.
Also, in my experiences, college-aged females have expressed more discomfort with "woman" than "girl".
Additionally, you still haven't discussed age. You simply stated that there *could* be bias here, and certainly there is. But do you think I'm actually wrong, or are you disagreeing with me only on principle? Do you think that for college-aged females, more than 50% prefer "woman" over "girl" in casual contexts?
It'd be neat if there were a study on this.

I have no idea how old the females you're talking about are. I don't know if you are talking about 50 year old women or college aged girls.
I had this discussion for the first time in college, with other college-aged men and women. I have since had it several times with other people, ranging from teenagers to retirees.[/quote]
And? What were the results?
Even if you are right that women prefer to be thought of as "girls" a bit longer than men prefer to be thought of as "boys", isn't that precisely because their only alternative is "women", whereas you and I have the intermediate "guys" stage?

Hell if I know; I'm no sociologist. I'm just operating off what makes people less comfortable. I will now refer to Nessie as a woman for now on, since that's what she prefers.
Yes, it would be neat if there were a term for it. There isn't. And I'm not going to use awkward made up phrases just to appease people I haven't actually run into in my life yet.. So it's kinda a non-issue.
You're welcome to continue disregarding the potential wishes of women who don't like to be infantilized, but that doesn't mean we won't call you out for it. [/quote]
You're making it sound like it's intentionally not giving a shit, when really it's that I reached a different conclusion. You're more concerned about making those who prefer "woman" feel uncomfortable because you think it's a higher percentage (possibly? You never actually said.). I'm more concerned about making those who prefer "girl" feel uncomfortable because I think it's a higher percentage. How is that me not giving a shit? Aren't you kinda assuming things about my intention?

Fuck, if you link a poll that said the majority of college-aged females prefer "woman" I'll start calling them "woman" today. I'm really not *that* passionate about it. It's not my place to say how they actually feel. I wouldn't know. I'm just making guesses as a biased male, as you are too.
And which suggestions in this thread have been awkward made up phrases? Hell, which have even been phrases of any kind, rather than single (generally monosyllabic) words? I count one neologism, which is "guyana" and which I don't think was really meant seriously.

Are you sure you're replying to the right thread? Did you think you were talking about, for example, awkward made up pronouns for singular gender-neutral or gender-nonbinary use? Because I have yet to see any awkwardness or made-upness or even phrasiness in this particular thread that you actually responded to.

No, just misspoke is all. Not so much "made up" but "contrived". I think "gal" is inappropriate since that word is steeped with sexism. As I mentioned in another thread, I think it'd be better to use loan words, since loan words don't seem to come with preloaded connotations already.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 14, 2013 2:58 am UTC

I'm still not sure you understand the bent of this thread. We're not advocating calling everyone who has reached the age of majority "men" and "women". We're advocating a female equivalent for "guy" that fills the semantic space between boy/girl and man/woman. Of course many female-identifying people in a certain age range prefer not to be called "women", and many others prefer not to be called "girls", and therein lies the problem that for male-identifying people is solved with the word "guy". Actual statistics or knowledge of the precise age at which it switches from majority-in-favor-of-"girl" to majority-in-favor-of-"woman" are completely beside the point because the point isn't what you seem to want to argue against.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Lazar » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:03 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Even if you are right that women prefer to be thought of as "girls" a bit longer than men prefer to be thought of as "boys", isn't that precisely because their only alternative is "women", whereas you and I have the intermediate "guys" stage?

Firstly, I think you're taking an overly deterministic view of language. You're totally discounting the fact that if people wanted a new self-identification, it would have arisen naturally among them. [Edit: I should have said "possibility" rather than "fact".] Young women are often found to be the leaders of linguistic innovation (take, for example, the Valley Girl speech variety which was in many ways a predecessor of the Californian English dialect, in addition to its global influence on American English), and we're already seeing young women reducing the genderedness of "guy" by using its plural form for female referents. Maybe its singular form will also become degendered in the future, or maybe something else will arise - but I don't see a compelling reason to change popular usage that has arisen organically. It's hard for me to envision young people as being shackled by the slang appellations which are applied to them, and which to a great extent they apply to themselves, when young people (and especially young women) have such a reputation for initiating language change.

Secondly, I think you're begging the question by taking for granted that "girl" is infantilizing. "Girl" and "boy" don't have parallel etymologies ("girl" was once gender-neutral) and from a descriptive point of view they don't have parallel meanings now, so it's hard for me to understand why they need to have parallel meanings in the future. You seem to be positing that "girl/guy" form a "broken" or socially problematic pairing because, despite their being equivalent in some contexts, "girl" has a broader range of meaning than "guy". But as sje indicated, this sort of asymmetrical pairing occurs all the time in English - "sweet" with "bitter/sour", "short" with "long/tall", "light" with "heavy/dark", "right" with "left/wrong" - and I've never seen people claim that these indicate conceptual deficiencies, with one meaning mixing into the other. So the mere fact that "girl" has two meanings (at a certain level of analysis) while "guy" only has one doesn't necessarily seem problematic to me, in the absence of some other evidence that "girl" is used in a sexist way. It's true that some people take exception to the girl-guy equivalency (though like sje, I've never encountered this in real life), but it's also true that a lot of people don't like to be referred to as "men" or "women" (outside of formal contexts) through their mid 20s or so - as I read your post, you're pretty much acknowledging the unworkability of a contrived neologism or word-repurposing, so either way young women are going to be at what you would consider a lexical deficiency, and in each case some indeterminate number of people are going to take exception. I'd rather use the forms which we know to be widely used, and which I don't think have been proven to pose a social problem. I think it's unwise to approach a situation like this, which is conceptually muddled at best, and take the position that we need to err on the side of directed language change.

One last point - this might be a strained analogy, but hey, it popped into my head - is that it seems problematic to decry the lack of specificity in the "girl"-"boy/guy" correspondence as sexist while also decrying the hyperspecificity of the "Miss/Mrs."-"Mr." correspondence as sexist (which I do, in fact). The analogy isn't perfect, as the latter is enforced in a more formal way (which is what I think makes it more clearly objectionable), but there's a widespread sense that men, in this equation, are allowed a greater degree of social freedom because their gendered identity is less specified than the female equivalent. I think it's hard to pivot from this to the position that young women are hampered by the fact that their gendered identity is less specified than the male equivalent.
Last edited by Lazar on Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:40 am UTC, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby sje46 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:03 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I'm still not sure you understand the bent of this thread. We're not advocating calling everyone who has reached the age of majority "men" and "women". We're advocating a female equivalent for "guy" that fills the semantic spaaace between boy/girl and man/woman. Of course many college-aged women don't prefer to be called "women", and many others don't prefer to be called "girls", and therein lies the problem that for male-identifying people is solved with the word "guy". Actual statistics are completely beside the point because the point isn't what you seem to want to argue against.

My answer to the thread was that in English, the word "girl" refers to adolescence as well, and the language will develop a new word when the need is high enough (as has happened with the singular gender-neutral "they").
I am curious though, on what you think the majority of college-aged females prefer, since you seem to be avoiding the question a lot. I mean you don't have to answer, just curious.
And threads can get a little off-topic outside of SB, right? :D
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:13 am UTC

Lazar wrote:You're totally discounting the fact that if people wanted a new self-identification, it would have arisen naturally among them.
And you're discounting the fact that, as already mentioned by more than one person in this thread, many women have settled on "woman" because they don't particularly like "girl" and there aren't any other going options at the moment. They might be happy to embrace a different term if enough people decided to use it.

Young women are often found to be the leaders of linguistic innovation (take, for example, the Valley Girl speech variety which was in many ways a predecessor of the Californian English dialect, in addition to its global influence on American English)
Is "valley girl" speech really something that started with women, or was it just something that was first widely noticed (and almost universally commented on in a negative way) when rich white women were using it?
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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:39 am UTC

poxic wrote:Yes, "girl" isn't great. Anyone referring to me as a girl is going to get quizzical-looked. (Granted, I'm at the age where I'll be fighting off "old biddy" soon.)

Hey girl. Is this weird, girl? Am I freaky, girl? Can you quiz, girl? I bet you quiz like an animal, girl.

ETA: In my experience, "chick" and "gal" sounds a lot better when Americans say it. When I say it, it sounds silly.

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Re: Female equivalent for "guy"

Postby Red Hal » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:28 am UTC

That's all well and good, but are they hep?

"Chaps and Chapesses" works in my peer group when addressing mixed company, but then we're at that stage of life where it is both accurate and acceptable to all in that friendship group to refer to the males as "the husbands" and the females as "the wives".
Even for someone who makes Cthulu look like a Johnny-come-lately the word "gal" is old-fashioned*. Which I suppose makes this post a long-winded way of saying "I got nothing".


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