Friday, May 06, 2016


I'm not sure when it became a "thing," but I'm noticing a trend where people who, I presume, are trying to be politically correct, refer to women as "females." Probably most notably in the Kimmy Schmidt open titles, "Females are strong as hell." What I'm not seeing is a corresponding switch from "men" to "males." This bothers me.

It's semantics, I know, but words have power and carry weight and bring certain connotations with them. I know there was a movement a while ago to get away from the word "woman" as it contains "man," and I get it. But by the same token, "movement" contains "men" and we didn't change that to "movemynt," because at a certain point it all gets silly. There are only 26 letters in the English language alphabet and to try to avoid any and all combinations of "m-e-n" and "m-a-n" gets ridiculous.

What bothers me about replacing "woman" with "female" is that is takes the humanity out of the equation. "Female" is a very scientific term, used to define the member of the species capable of producing eggs and bearing children. "Woman" is the word used to describe a human female. The same as adult male chickens are roosters and adult female chickens are hens, adult male humans are men, and adult female humans are women. To call women "females," to me, takes away the specificity of what species we are, which is, in my opinion, even more degrading that the fact that the letters "m-a-n" exist in the word "woman."

Biologically, yes, I am female. Transgender women identify as female as well. But I think all of us would like to think of ourselves as more than a set of sex organs, which is what the term "female" implies to me, and which is why I prefer the word woman. It gets even stickier when we note that men are not being called "males," implying that men are humans with complex lives and thoughts and fears and language abilities - all of the lovely things that make humans humans. We are, again, widening the gap between men and women, allowing one gender to be human and the other to be defined exclusively by its gender.

Granted, this also doesn't allow for agendered individuals, as much of the English language was developed at a time when we thought of gender as more of a binary system as opposed to the spectrum we now understand it to be. But perhaps, instead of allowing men to be human, women to be sex organs, and agendered individuals to feel completely out of place, we need to develop three new words - or six new words, or twelve new words or whatever - that better describe the variations of human existence, as opposed to further alienating more than half of the population.

Just a thought. From a woman.