Is it degrading/condescending to refer to a woman as 'female'?


Happy cake day, Lucy!


I don’t know about other guys, but after thinking about this… I can tell you that when I choose the word “female” / “females” it’s typically because I’m referring to the gender, not gender & age.

For example:

  • When I say “men,” I’m typically referring to adults who are legal to drink (21+)
  • When I say “boys,” I’m typically referring to children and teens (under 18)
  • When I say “guys,” I’m typically referring to all post puberty males.
  • When I say “males,” I’m typically referring to all post conception male humans.

However, with girls & women: the female version of “guys” is “gals.” Most men I know are not comfortable using the term “gals” (me included). Therefore, I would use the world “females” when referring all post puberty females instead of “gals” and of course when referring to all post conception female humans.

So for me, it’s just a product of less socially acceptable words to use in place of “females.”

Note: I only typically use the word “ladies” in similar ways to my use of “gentlemen”

Just my two cents.

God Bless


Or, it’s just someone who understands grammar. Female is an adjective, not a noun. So, “a female human” is correct – simply saying “a female” is not.


Then why did you start a thread on the topic?
Is there some underlying news article to explain your title.


Ok, I’m sorry, but you can hardly use the Ferengi as a good example for any argument. Unless you are talking about Muslim men who don’t let their women do things in public nor show their skin in public, the Ferengi really are not a good representation of men. But they did treat their women the exact same way that a lot of Muslim men treat women, and they actually wanted their women naked for “Chastity” reasons in the show - Quark was ashamed in one episode because his mom was wearing clothes.

When they did say the English word “woman,” it was like this WOOOOHHHHman. It always sounded to me like they sad “females” because it was easier for them to say and because they have “WO” sound.

So, I don’t think this is a good example… it’s a very extreme example, though a good parity of fundamentalist Muslims.

God Bless


How have we gotten to a point in society where we get so worked up about descriptors and their potential to cause offence? Especially when the words used are perfectly normal descriptors and the person using them is not intending to offend?

Is our society is going mad?


Its an adjective AND a noun!


You could have possibly said the girl I was engaged to, the lady who I dated or something of that sort.

Once hubby referred to me as “the wife” in a conversation and I was standing right there. When we were alone I PROMISE you I let him know in no uncertain terms that I was NEVER to be referred to as “The Wife” again. He could have said my wife, used my name or something nice. I told him I was not property like the house, the car, the dog, whatever. He KNOWS now NEVER to use that term in reference to me again.


Actually you’re right, I’ve just remembered those lyrics, the female of the species is more deadly than the male.


There’s a lot of weird stuff going on with language policing.

But this isn’t a case of that. Referring to “that female” or “females” in most general conversations just sounds awkward and like it’s being said by charity censor activated someone lacking good social skills or manners. It’s not common usage and rather impolite.


No news article, it’s because of his other thread about priesthood.


As others have noted, using “female” or “male” as an adjective is fine. And if for some reason you were saying “males and females” rather than “men and women,” that would seem okay (if a bit formal and possibly better used for lower animals), too.

There is unfortunately a strain of men on the internet who manage to make “female” as a noun sound a lot like the sneering Ferengi version mentioned above. So that use of the word is kind of poisoned these days. It’s easy enough just to use “woman” or “women” instead, surely.


[quote=“CajunJoy65, post:68, topic:471803”]
When we were alone I PROMISE you I let him know in no uncertain terms that I was NEVER to be referred to as “The Wife” again.
[/quote] Oh dear!:smile::smile:


It can be used as both. I used it as a noun. Apparently you cannot do so; and, if you do, you are inherently degrading ‘this female’ to an antelope.


You may have used it as a noun, but it is not a noun. Check a dictionary.



I don’t know what dictionary that is, but my Webster’s dictionary does not have it as a noun. It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. It is not a word I really ever have need to use. I say man or woman, not male or female.


Yeah it’s not uncommon.

I don’t find the word offensive. It really depends on the context. What you described sounds perfectly fine. I think I tend to do that before, too.

Some examples I’ve read that made me uncomfortable is usually the ones that clearly meant women. Like there are tweets I have came across that are along the lines of ‘went out with a female tonight and she blah blah blah’ ‘females be like’ and so on. It’s just weird and can be quite dehumanizing, especially these guys only call women females, and men ‘men’. It’s slang, from what I see.

Ultimately it is a trivial thing to worry about, but it still make a lot of us uncomfortable.


It’s interesting that females instead of women is used a lot more than males instead of men. I don’t think it would be so jarring if both were used.


And, that is entirely your prerogative! But to say that ‘it is not a noun’ is incorrect.

I have a strong sense that many females (couldn’t help it) on this thread and the other have been induced by a form of sensationalism that can lead to a desire to change the meanings of words and parts of speech.

What’s next? Are we to revise every single application of any kind to state woman/man instead of male/female?

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