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A Conversation on "Female"

tbarryfigu's picture

 Hello Serendippers, 

Glad to continue the conversation, as it were, with all of you after [my] graduation and a two year hiatus! I recently found myself involved in a facebook discussion (a response to a 'status') with a friend and a stranger, both from the tri-co, concerning the use of "female" in a colloquial context. I found it to be pretty interesting and worth posting for additional comments...I've removed their names and photos. My initial reaction was to disagree with the original post, but I changed my mind as I formed my response...what are your thoughts?




[Name removed] has identified her problem w/ *women* being called females. The terms 'male' and 'female' are usually used in a medical/ scientific context therefore making 'female' in its colloquial usage dehumanizing.


January 30 at 2:25pm · Like · 
  • 2 people like this.
    •  Except it's not.

      I take issue with woman being used as an adjective, but female used colloquially isn't anything new.
      January 30 at 2:32pm · Like
    • Nothing new, maybe not. But offensive.
      January 30 at 2:37pm · Like
    • Why, though? Could you clarify the context you mean? I can understand being put out when it's used as a separator, writers from female writers, for example, but as an everyday adjective, it doesn't seem offensive.
      January 30 at 2:41pm · Like
      Well, mostly because of my exposure, I hear it a lot in lets say 'black dialect' and in varying contexts. 

      Some examples:

      'You know how females act/ That's why I don't fuck with females.'

      Sometimes not necessary negative but almost similar to how 'chick' is used. Generally speaking its simply used as a replacement to "women" but w/o there being an equal parallel. Men are *never* referred to as "males."
      January 30 at 2:47pm · Like
    •  Yeah, but I'd be offended with both of those whether female or women is used, wouldn't you? And when it comes to denigrating comments towards women, there often aren't male counterparts. Look at the words used to put people down; they are nearly all female: bitch, pussy, cunt, clit, woman, etc. Even asshole isn't really a male insult; it's more homosexual than anything. Such is the nature of a patriarchal history.
      January 30 at 2:52pm · Like
    • Again, the usage of the 'female' isn't always accompanied by disparaging remarks of women. Those are just two examples I came up with to highlight its general usage (in dialect I'm referring to) as a noun, seemingly in replacement of 'woman.'

      It's belittling and dehumanizing to merely be referred to by our sex-our biological makeup and not by our gender as men are.
      January 30 at 3:00pm · Like
    • Tamarinda Figueroa 
      ‎"Male" and "female" are actually the gender assignments, but I think I understand what you're getting at; "female" is used negatively when someone thinks they perceive something distinctly characteristic of women being "acted out" because of their biology (ex. emotion). That is to say, we are accused of playing into the roles our sex dictates; there is an assumption there that we have no control, especially in relation to excess (i.e. TOO needy, TOO emotional). I've got to point out though, I'm not convinced this would be as offensive to you, [original poster], if not for the power of the word "woman" as we have learned and been exposed to it, especially during college. Whether it be in communities of color or otherwise, "woman" has such a positive and strong connotation that "female" simply pales in comparison.




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