To my great surprise, I discovered today that I’m not actually a woman. I’d always thought I was one, but apparently I am mistaken.
It turns out that I am a girl.
That’s right. This exchange provides a Taxonomy of Females.
One night at a dinner table at a wedding, I got into an argument with a female guest about terminology I was using. She was asking about my dating escapades and I kept calling females “girls”. After a while, she took offense:
“We are not girls, we are women.”
I said: “No, I call most females girls. Women are different than girls.”
She asked me to explain my terminology for females. I responded:
“Girls are girls until they have a baby. Then they become women.”
She asked: “And what do they become after they are moms?”
I said: “Well eventually they become ladies.”
Before reproduction, then, women are children. It is reproduction, and only reproduction, that can help us grow up.
Forget anything else. We are defined by what comes out of our uteruses. As my uterus plays host only to eggs that I make damn sure are immature and unfertilised, I shall remain a child.
At least this means I don’t have to ever be a lady. I have always hated the word “lady”; it smacks of nobility and sitting uncomfortably primly. Ladies don’t go paddling with their dresses tucked in their knickers or smoke or eat a big fuckoff rare steak or shout “cunt” at an utter cunt.
All of the above, though, are better than the increasingly-popular use of the term “females”. I hate the group noun “females” to the depth of my soul. It makes women sound like cattle or livestock, defining us by our ovaries and uteruses, and by our genitals, thus excluding a sizeable chunk of intersex and transwomen.
Worst of all, “females” is grammatically incorrect. “Female” is an adjective, not a noun.
In the face of the infanitilising, the puritanical or the perjorative and syntactically wrong descriptors, I think I will stick with “women”.
6 thoughts on “It turns out, I’m not a woman.”
Indeed. 18 or over & female? You’re a woman. Under 18 & female? Girl. Simple.
I’d argue for more nuance than that. Some women under 18 are more mature than I will ever be. I am currently constructing another blog about a graph that looks like a willy.
Hah, nearly spat all my drink out at the mention of a willy graph. Clearly I am no lady (which is just as well cause it sounds boring).
Aye, it’s just that < 18 is a minor, hence, a child in the eyes of the law.
…although, bearing in mind etymology, both lady & woman are a bit limiting & stereotyping in themselves. lady = hlafdig in Anglo-Saxon iirc (not sure of spelling!), meaning loaf-maker, i.e. one who works in the kitchen. Woman comes from A-S wif-man, literally wife-man. Surely there must be a better term than one derived from stereotypical gender roles or heteronormative sexual roles?
Not that I can think of; a lot of feminists use “womyn” because of that, though.