Wednesday, July 16, 2014

James South and “Girls”

We recently blogged about a male professor in Marquette’s Philosophy Department who was reprimanded by then department chair James South for referring to an event attended by female faculty as a “girls night out.”

The professor contested the reprimand, and got it overturned.

But now an e-mail correspondent brings something to our attention.

On James South’s personal web page, he lists one of his “Top Five Xena Episodes” as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

In fact, it’s listed an number one, his absolute favorite!

So he doesn’t really seem to mind referring to adult women as “girls” so long as he is doing it.

So is it really “offensive” to refer to grown women as “girls?”

This came up in a conversation with a feminist colleague of ours (a sensible woman, now retired) and she pointed out that nobody seems to mind The Spice Girls or The Indigo Girls.

But what about calling grown men “boys?”  Well, there are “good ol’ boys,” which a Google search shows to be very widely used.

And the greatest Bluegrass band in history was The Foggy Mountain Boys with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.  And the Oak Ridge Boys have been a fixture in country music for decades.

No doubt in some contexts calling adult women “girls” would be demeaning.  But context matters, and stock phrases like “girls night out” are not offensive. 

Feminists running around looking for a grievance are offensive.

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2 Comments:

Blogger jimspice said...

"Feminists running around looking for a grievance are offensive."

Pretty sure they can just stand in place and find a grievance. No running necessary.

3:26 AM  
Blogger James Pawlak said...

At my age, any female under 50-years of age is a "girl".

On the other hand, "girls" should NOT have a night out as they should be cooking, cleaning, in church or taking care of children. (I can write that as I am not a teacher in a once Catholic university...)

2:19 PM  

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