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Edited 1 year, 8 months ago

Poll: POLL: Is it weird to use the word "Female"? (277 votes)

Yes. 32%
No. 66%

What up duders.

As some of you might have noticed, I'm currently in a discussion regarding the word "female". Some random duder used it when commenting on the video for the second part of the PAX panel. I quote:

First female I've seen to ask a question on one of these and IMO she had the best one, good job ma'am!

I obviously think that's PURDY WEIRD. It just feels so detatched. Like we're watching a documentary on Animal Planet. Imagine you're at the hospital, and your baby comes to the world, the nurse comes over and says:

It's a beautiful baby female!

In both those istances, the right word to use would be girl (or woman for the first one). Female is something that's normal to use when talking science and stuff.

So, let's settle this. In that context, was it weird to use "female"?

#1 Posted by Morbid_Coffee (955 posts) -

All uses of the word "female" on the Giant Bomb forums shall here on out be replaced with "guuurl."

Example: "Guurl, you're question is fiiiiiine!""

#2 Edited by believer258 (12176 posts) -

Yes, it was kinda weird. Not terribly incorrect but socially... I don't want to say "unacceptable" but I can't think of a word for "looked down upon".

I can't really judge if it's offensive or not in that context, but it was certainly horrible word choice.

#3 Edited by zoozilla (984 posts) -

I think the problem is that there's no good female counterpart for "guy." "Gal" seems slightly patronizing, and "lady" just feels weird for some reason (or maybe it's just me). So the only options are "woman" or "female." In this case, I guess "woman" would work, but it still feels strangely formal - I mean, I wouldn't say, "That man asked a nice question."

Of course, if we can solidify "dudette" as the informal, generic term for a woman, then all our problems are solved.

#4 Edited by Legion_ (1555 posts) -

Yes, it was kinda weird. Not terribly incorrect but socially... I don't want to say "unacceptable" but I can't think of a word for "looked down upon".

I can't really judge if it's offensive or not in that context, but it was certainly horrible word choice.

It's not that it's offensive or anything, I just think it shows a lack of social skills. If it could be used in that context, it could be used to describe your girlfriend as your femalefriend.

#5 Posted by Legion_ (1555 posts) -

@zoozilla said:

I think the problem is that there's no good female counterpart for "guy." "Gal" seems slightly patronizing, and "lady" just feels weird for some reason (or maybe it's just me). So the only options are "woman" or "female." In this case, I guess "woman" would work, but it still feels strangely formal - I mean, I wouldn't say, "That man asked a nice question."

Of course, if we can solidify "dudette" as the informal, generic term for a woman, then all our problems are solved.

Or just... Girl?

#6 Edited by Nivash (241 posts) -

It's not just weird, it's actually wrong. "Female" is typically never used as a noun when referring to humans, only as an adjective. The correct word in your first example is obviously "woman" and in the second "girl". The correct use of "female" is contexts like "female gamer" or similar. And yes, I've noticed this too.

While on the topic: I've seen a lot of people on this very forum being incapable of using "woman" and "women" correctly. Learn the difference people;the first is singular, the second plural.

Strangely, I almost never encounter similar problems when using "male" or "man/men". It's an oddly selective error.

#7 Edited by Tennmuerti (8174 posts) -

Depends entirely on the context and how it's being used in a sentence.

@nivash said it better.

#8 Posted by LordAndrew (14430 posts) -

It all depends on context.

#9 Posted by believer258 (12176 posts) -

@legion_ said:

@zoozilla said:

I think the problem is that there's no good female counterpart for "guy." "Gal" seems slightly patronizing, and "lady" just feels weird for some reason (or maybe it's just me). So the only options are "woman" or "female." In this case, I guess "woman" would work, but it still feels strangely formal - I mean, I wouldn't say, "That man asked a nice question."

Of course, if we can solidify "dudette" as the informal, generic term for a woman, then all our problems are solved.

Or just... Girl?

But that only implies someone still in their youth. Which might be taken as a compliment by someone in their 30's or 40's ("oh! He thought I looked like I was 20!") but another might be offended because they're not young and dumb and naive.

#10 Edited by Jay_Ray (1126 posts) -

@legion_ said:

@zoozilla said:

I think the problem is that there's no good female counterpart for "guy." "Gal" seems slightly patronizing, and "lady" just feels weird for some reason (or maybe it's just me). So the only options are "woman" or "female." In this case, I guess "woman" would work, but it still feels strangely formal - I mean, I wouldn't say, "That man asked a nice question."

Of course, if we can solidify "dudette" as the informal, generic term for a woman, then all our problems are solved.

Or just... Girl?

Girl is the counter to boy, to me there is an age difference between boy and guy that woman don't have if you use the term girl as an encompassing term not matter the age. I agree with zoozila, there is not a good informal woman version of "guy"

#11 Edited by Legion_ (1555 posts) -

@nivash said:

It's not just weird, it's actually wrong. "Female" is typically never used as a noun when referring to humans, only as an adjective. The correct word in your first example is obviously "woman" and in the second "girl". The correct use of "female" is contexts like "female gamer" or similar. And yes, I've noticed this too.

While on the topic: I've seen a lot of people on this very forum being incapable of using "woman" and "women" correctly. Learn the difference people;the first is singular, the second plural.

Strangely, I almost never encounter similar problems when using "male" or "man/men". It's an oddly selective error.

Well said.

#12 Edited by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -

I just call everybody "lady" regardless of gender.

#13 Edited by Sharpless (472 posts) -

It's entirely contextual. I have no idea how to explain the appropriate contexts, though. I would think it would be a common sense thing, something where you just know what's appropriate, but apparently it's not. A lot of the problem with "female" is how detached and impersonal it can be, the sort of thing someone with misogynistic tendencies might say. "Woman" or "girl" is just more natural and somewhat more personal. Just flip the gender and ask yourself if you'd say "male" instead of "man" or "boy." (I sometimes also have a problem with men using "girl" instead of "woman," but I'll holster that one for now.)

Just noticed @nivash's post and, yeah, they said it best.

#14 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

I'm sorry, this is about whether it's normal to use the word female when clearly that guy used the word "ma'am" in the same fucking sentence?! Ma'am?! MA'AM?!

#15 Posted by Demoskinos (15129 posts) -

Well at least he didn't call her a broad or a chick. So hey...theres that.

#16 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Example: "Guurl, you're question is fiiiiiine!""

Man, this sounds like something Borat would say. "Girl, you are question. Is fiiiine."

#17 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

It's entirely contextual. I have no idea how to explain the appropriate contexts, though. I would think it would be a common sense thing, something where you just know what's appropriate, but apparently it's not. A lot of the problem with "female" is how detached and impersonal it can be, the sort of thing someone with misogynistic tendencies might say. "Woman" or "girl" is just more natural and somewhat more personal. Just flip the gender and ask yourself if you'd say "male" instead of "man" or "boy." (I sometimes also have a problem with men using "girl" instead of "woman," but I'll holster that one for now.)

And this is probably why the dude used the word "female," there is no pronoun that you can use to refer to the notmale gender which won't cause you to be labelled a misogynist on the internet.

#18 Edited by TheHT (11765 posts) -
  
#19 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@sharpless said:

It's entirely contextual. I have no idea how to explain the appropriate contexts, though. I would think it would be a common sense thing, something where you just know what's appropriate, but apparently it's not. A lot of the problem with "female" is how detached and impersonal it can be, the sort of thing someone with misogynistic tendencies might say. "Woman" or "girl" is just more natural and somewhat more personal. Just flip the gender and ask yourself if you'd say "male" instead of "man" or "boy." (I sometimes also have a problem with men using "girl" instead of "woman," but I'll holster that one for now.)

And this is probably why the dude used the word "female," there is no pronoun that you can use to refer to the notmale gender which won't cause you to be labelled a misogynist on the internet.

Especially right now. Somehow it does not matter at the moment because if you are white and a male you always lose in such conversations right now.,...

#20 Posted by Reisz (1527 posts) -

@zoozilla said:

I think the problem is that there's no good female counterpart for "guy." "Gal" seems slightly patronizing, and "lady" just feels weird for some reason (or maybe it's just me). So the only options are "woman" or "female." In this case, I guess "woman" would work, but it still feels strangely formal - I mean, I wouldn't say, "That man asked a nice question."

Of course, if we can solidify "dudette" as the informal, generic term for a woman, then all our problems are solved.

That sounds like a world I want to live in, I too will carry the dudette torch.

#21 Posted by EXTomar (4940 posts) -

Using words and terms in the correct context is never weird.

#22 Edited by Pr1mus (3943 posts) -

Context is key. Use the right word for the right context.

Online
#23 Edited by mikethekilla (328 posts) -

Depends on the context.

#24 Edited by ajamafalous (12145 posts) -

Well at least he didn't call her a broad or a chick. So hey...theres that.

That skirt asked a good question.

#25 Posted by JasonR86 (9723 posts) -

It does sound a little weird when spoken.

Online
#26 Posted by yoshimitz707 (2453 posts) -

@nivash: It's wrong because it's rarely used as a noun? It can still be used as a noun and I see people use it like that all the time. Because it's rarely used like that doesn't make it wrong. That doesn't make any sense.

#27 Edited by Legion_ (1555 posts) -

Well, this just goes to show that 66% of Giant Bomb users are weird. Seriously, using the word female is major creepy. It shows a lack of social skills.

#28 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

@demoskinos said:

Well at least he didn't call her a broad or a chick. So hey...theres that.

That skirt asked a good question.

Be a little respectful she's not a skirt she's a piece of ass.

#29 Edited by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

@ravenlight said:

I just call everybody "lady" regardless of gender.

This guy knows what's up.

#30 Edited by rotorious (75 posts) -

It's a very military thing to refer to a woman as a "female".

#32 Posted by Soapy86 (2617 posts) -
@legion_ said:

Well, this just goes to show that 66% of Giant Bomb users are weird. Seriously, using the word female is major creepy. It shows a lack of social skills.

  • Make a poll to "decide" if using the word female is weird or not.
  • Results don't suit agenda.
  • Claim everyone who disagrees is "major creepy".

Does that about sum it up?

#33 Edited by Neurotic (632 posts) -

@legion_ said:

Well, this just goes to show that 66% of Giant Bomb users are weird. Seriously, using the word female is major creepy. It shows a lack of social skills.

Way to jump to conclusions. Bravo. Do you use the same word to describe something every single time? Ever heard of synonyms? Who says that the guy you picked out in the OP, or anyone who answered 'No', only ever refers to women as 'females'? Sure, woman/girl/lady might have sounded more natural in the context of that comment but accusing people of being creeps because they might occasionally use a word, or just don't give a crap if other people do, is going too far.

#34 Edited by Slay3r1583 (639 posts) -

I think we should bring dame back into use.

#35 Posted by Nivash (241 posts) -

@legion_: Actually, I think that's mostly because it's worded badly (sorry OP). I actually answered "No" by accident because of the thread title - the thread title makes it sound like the question is if you can ever use "female" in any context. Hence the number of oneliner posts pointing out that it depends on context.

Lazy by me? Sure. But that's kind of the way people answer polls.

#36 Edited by Winternet (8050 posts) -

Everything is weird.

#37 Posted by tourgen (4542 posts) -

well it's easier to say than receptionist.

#38 Edited by Barrock (3553 posts) -

She was the first (and only) female to ask a question.

I don't see how that's weird.

#39 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

Hahaha this topic is just an endless maze.

If you say she's the only female to ask a question, feminists would call you mysogynyst because if only one dude asked a question you wouldn't say "he's the only male to ask a question," you'd say guy. At least I would.

If you go with 'girl,' some consider it disrespectful and some get offended if they consider themselves "not young" (happened with me personally). If you go with woman, well, females like to feel young so saying woman makes her feel she's 40. If you use any slang word it's degrading, and 'lady' belongs in the 19th century.

I really think what makes this whole issue fucked up is the double life women lead today. They want equality and respect, but they also want tenderness and compliments. Don't fucking tell me I'm generalizing, I've met over a thousand females aged 18 to 30 just in the last two years and a half, I know what I'm talking about.

#40 Edited by bennyboy (329 posts) -

It was fine in the first instance you cited, and maybe a little weird in the second instance. But not because the word female itself is weird or anything, but because it just sounded weird in the context of that sentence. If you replaced "female" with "male" in those two instances it would still come off weird in the same exact way.

You might as well have asked "is it weird to use awkward diction?"

#41 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

Yes. You don't use male, and frankly it's quite demeaning to use a word that doesn't mean Human Female, but instead can be used interchangeably between plants and non Human animals. It's like purposely using the wrong pronoun or some shit.

edit: I'm talking nouns here. Adjective is obviously fine.

#42 Posted by mrfluke (5339 posts) -

lady, or chick would be better.

#43 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19382 posts) -

I voted no, but I was only thinking of "female" as an adjective and not a noun. Used as a noun is weird, I would say, but some say that it's also weird used as an adjective and I don't think so.

#44 Edited by trebert (45 posts) -

I've always wondered why people insist on using woman rather than female when talking of firsts, and other such stuff in the news. It's always been jarring to me since were it a male, I'd say the first male x, or the male x in the same case. Regardless of what people think, I've always handled this by asking if I'd say male in the same case, and that use of female was alright in my book. That is until such a time that there is a female-gendered impersonal pronoun that isn't seen as inherently inappropriate.

#45 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@trebert: In your example, the correct use is Female, as you are using it as an adjective. If there was no noun following it, then it would be Woman or Man.

The first woman on the scene.

The first female officer on the scene.

You can't use an adjective on its own as a noun, thus adjective nouns.

#46 Posted by ArtelinaRose (1857 posts) -

It's just a gender identifier, the same as she, her, woman, lady, girl, duderette, etc.

#47 Edited by trebert (45 posts) -

@canteu: You're certainly right. What I was getting with that was more along the lines of saying "woman congressman," or "woman doctor." I think the usage of female, as in the "first female i've seen" is fine because the alternatives are poor. This is because I'd take improper grammarDiction over perceived misogyny. The problem rests in tying the usage of woman together with the usage of man. This results in the use of "woman" sounding worse to the ear in these cases, because I would say first "guy", or "dude", but not "man". You'd use man or woman to distinguish a level of maturity, and using it all the time is just weird in my opinion. Guy doesn't have a female analogue, so that's off the table. Dudette isn't a word, and isn't something you'd ever hear really. Chick, ma'am, and the others like them wouldn't work for obvious reasons. I'd rather use an analogue, that wouldn't make me look like an ass if I knew of one.

#48 Edited by bennyboy (329 posts) -

Wait....let me get this straight. Are there actually people in this thread saying that female isn't a noun?

#49 Edited by trebert (45 posts) -

@bennyboy: You might want to work on your reading comprehension.

#50 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@bennyboy: It is a noun, but more often used as an adjective. Also the fact there are alternative nouns which can be used more accurately in more situations, it's generally a poor choice for a noun.