I’ve noticed an interesting trend on the internet and it’s this idea that Women who prefer being called women, as opposed to females, are irrational and should really stop voicing why the term “female” is offensive.
I’ve noticed this the most on Tumblr, which makes sense because that’s the place I just “hang out” on the internet. Surprisingly, I’m seeing it more on Twitter and I can’t put my finger on why because I actually work very hard to ensure that my Twitter timeline doesn’t piss me off. So it is with a bit of confusion that I find myself even having to write out these thoughts.
The title of this is “Here’s Why You Should Call Me a Woman.” The most obvious reason? After being born, I was assigned the sex of “female” based on my genitalia. That’s right! I have a vagina which is awesome about 23 days out of the month. As I grew older, I was socialized as a “normal and acceptable” girl. I wore skirts and bows and shirts with the rounded collar, my socks were ruffled nine times out of ten and I enjoyed games like Jacks and Double-Dutch.
Pause…I’m only 26.
However, something really weird happened over a three-year period from the time I was 13 until I was 16. Wanna know what that was?
I was introduced to the descriptor of “female” and at the same time, I was experiencing puberty. Now, I’ll save y’all the story of the first time a grown man actually used female to describe me because this is not about street harassment. I’ll just say that what’s even crazier is that around the same time I’m going through puberty, my older brother (only older by a year and some months) was also experiencing this life change. What made us different?
He was growing into a Man.
I was apparently only growing into an incubator for smaller humans, or a “female.”
And this is why I have a fundamental problem with being described as a “female.” I look at myself and I say, “Hmm, I’ve matured into quite a catch!” I think of the traits that make me awesome, among them my charm, intelligence, ability to think, speak, and write well; and I say to myself, “Funny how all of these traits are encompassed in the descriptor man but not in the descriptor female.”
But it’s not funny.
When you use the word “female,” what you are saying to a whole person that identifies as a Woman is that they are just their genitalia. Some people may say that explaining the word this way goes a bit too far, but I don’t think that it does. When a friend of mine uses this term, I point out that they shouldn’t because it’s disrespectful. When guys hear that Women find this term offensive, they get upset and today I asked this question of men:
Should we be quiet because women saying they don’t like that word bothers you OR is it that we are vocal enough to challenge your authority when you feel we shouldn’t?
There are a few things that are going on when men get offended that a woman says she’s offended or feels disrespected but I’m not here for your feelings. Here’s what people who use “female” so freely need to understand:
- We are adults and have gone through the process of maturing –> this makes us Women.
- We want to be called Women –> so call us Women.
- We feel disrespected when you don’t call us Women –> so call us Women.
- You don’t like calling us Women? –> Call us by our names.
And I know that there are some people who will read this and say, “Well the military uses female” and “You have to call yourself a female when you fill out paperwork?” or some other ludicrous shit like “Not all females are Women.” Just stop because you’re wrong. You’re so wrong that you’re dead ass wrong. If you even feel the need to come up with a reason why it’s okay to still disrespect a woman who has said don’t call her a female, assess yourself.
At the end of the day, call Women what we are – women. And if you can’t do that, learn our names and refer to us that way because what’s so hard about respecting a person?
~Ms. C. Jayne