When Did We Stop Being ‘Women’ and Start Being ‘Female’?

“Middle fingers up. Tell ’em boy by!'” –Beyonce

*I know you’ve noticed it. Not recently, but years ago. Men, not all, but too many, stopped referring to women as such; and started calling us by our gender, female.

I was once told this use of the word came from the prison mentality. You know, where men and women are made to feel like animals, and separated into different areas. There, the word is used as a form of contempt…purposely.

Males over here. Females over there.

But then it started migrating into the general population and its as if the word “women” is forbidden.

Even today, when athletes such as Cam Newton, who just got fired from his spokesperson role for Dannon Yogurt, speak publicly and address a woman, she is called by her gender.

Newton’s comment, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like — it’s funny.” Too bad the people at Dannon Yogurt didn’t think so.

There is something so very unnatural about the use of the word in that comment. Why couldn’t he just say “woman?”

…and while I’m on it. Let me take the opportunity to address the obvious “elephant in the room” I may have alerted. No, I don’t believe Newton should have been fired for this comment.

More on that later.

Please don’t get me wrong, there is still a place where the word “female” should apply. After all, its not a curse word. Women are females just like men are males. 

But my issue is why are men reluctant to refer to a woman as a ‘woman’ versus a ‘female?’

This is not a new topic by any means. In 2014, a very informative argument in the form of an article called 6 Reasons Why You Should Stop Referring to Women as ‘Females’ Right Now notes in #1 that the words “female” and “Woman” mean different things.

The Buzzfeed article, written by staffers Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, who refer to the men’s usage of the word as “Rude” and “Weird,” states…

“Female” is a scientific term that refers to the sex of a species that is capable of producing children. The term “woman” refers specifically to human beings, while “female” could refer to any species.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be referred to by my ability to reproduce. Call me by my ability to be beautiful, express love, be sexual and sexy, lovely and passionate. I’m a human being, not a science project.

Another good point in the Buzzfeed article is #3.

Because nobody casually refers to men as “males.”

Case in point: “You know how males are,” said literally no one ever!

Guys, young and old, its time you got it together. If you’re now out of prison, act like it. Stop using the language you used when you were inside. All others, grow up. Start seeing females as the WOMEN they are. You know, your mothers, sisters, nieces…WIVES.

Its 2017. You should know better.

As for my comment about Cam Newton. While I disagree with his use of the word, female, as spoken about in the article above, I viewed the controversial video and personally was not offended by it. I saw it as a man who is not used to women knowing about football ideologies. He hasn’t totally wrapped his brain around talking football with a woman. Period. Could he have used another word instead of “funny?” Probably. But you try saying everything right with a mic in front of your face.

How many women do you think was in the football press room? 

There are some things we shouldn’t be so quick to misjudge. The misuse of word female however, is not one of them. 

This article was written by DeBorah B. Pryor

3 thoughts on “When Did We Stop Being ‘Women’ and Start Being ‘Female’?”

  1. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been fired. This could be viewed as somewhat extreme; however, there are some companies/organizations that believe in accountability, and if a spokesperson for a business garners backlash from consumers due to irresponsibility they have every right to cut ties with that spokesperson. He didn’t really have to say that at all. She wouldn’t have been there unless she knew something about football. Why did he think she was there, to wash all the players’ jockstraps?

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