The “F” Word?
We all have pet peeves, Whether it’s chewing your food while talking, talking loudly, or endless clicking of pens. Mine, however, would have to be guys spewing out unintentional ingrained misogyny by saying one word: “female”.
There are various reasons as to why you should not identify [young] women as “females”. Identifying women as by this word means that you are only recognizing them only for their reproductive system. According to the dictionary, the word female means: of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs. To me, it seems as if the people who call women females just see them for their biological function, babymakers.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. English teacher Ms. Giknis is also strongly opinionated on this topic.
“First, the word female is a strange one to use in place of woman from a grammatical standpoint. It’s primarily an adjective, which means it needs to be followed by a noun. When someone uses it, they should follow it with what kind of female. A female human, or some other species? Usually they’re referring to a female human, not other species who also use the scientific language of female, and amazingly, we have a word for that in English: woman,” she said.
So, does context matter to her when people do use the word “females” when referring to other women?
“Context does matter, but it’s just not the right way to refer to a woman, period,” Giknis said. She also adds the way the word is used is usually negative and sort of degrading. People rarely make a statement about “females” and say something positive about them. Also, why isn’t the opposite true? Why do we never refer to men as males? This says nothing of what the language does to people who do not conform to these gender binaries.”
Does Giknis label everyone as a misogynist if they use the word “female” when referring to humans?
“Not necessarily misogynistic, but ignorant. It’s not really a single individual’s fault, since I hear that so often that I believe many people (men and women and all) alike are doing it innocuously, with no negative intentions toward women.”
Other people in the SLA community had opinions of their own.
“To be honest it depends on the context,” stated Sophomore Savannah Manns. “if a man called me a “female” and it was in a derogatory way, then I would be upset, but I can not deny what I am, a female and a woman.”
Do the guys of SLA has any opinions on this topic?
“I use that word when I talk about women. I didn’t think it had any negative connotation. But, I will think twice when I speak about girls,” said Sophomore Joseph Lee.
The word “female” is used throughout everyday conversations when referring to an actual woman. Majority of the population does not realize that it is offensive. Even though it has become normalized, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to unlearn bad habits. It may not be your intentions of being offensive, but that doesn’t change the fact that nine times out of ten that you’re probably degrading women.