Feminerd: Use of the Word “Girl”

“Hey, girl” A lot of us probably hear that a hundred times a day. In today’s world, it’s very common vernacular to refer to one another as “girl”, especially among women. As I’ve observed, there’s usually a sense of comradery with the word. But what are we really doing with this word? I think there’s some more behind it than we think, and it might not be so positive.

Surely, words are what you make them. But moving that aside, I think we need to think a little bit more about this word. Why do we use it? I’m not really sure. I’m sure using it to address people has been around for a while, but over the last few years, it seems to have grown tremendously. As I mentioned before, there’s a sense of closeness when using the word with other women. For instance, where I work, there’s a lot of customers that come in daily. A lot of them I like to chat with, and I can tell when we’re becoming more friendly when they call me “girl”. It makes me feel nice when they come in and say “Oh hey, girl!” However, maybe it shouldn’t make me so happy.

What are we really doing with this word? I’m afraid that we’re degrading ourselves, and making it okay for others to see us as lesser. We’re grown women calling each other girls, are we dissing our own character by referring to each other as children? I don’t have these answers, it’s hard to tell the affect of the words. But then again, you give a word it’s power.

As I’ve noticed, women referring to each other as girl is hardly ever aggressive. It’s a friendly tag, a way to refer to someone you like, someone you respect. So perhaps, by using the word a lot, we’re giving it’s back it’s power. A girl is no less powerful than a woman, they’re one in the same. A girl is something to be respected. Girls are a community. I think, and I hope, that’s what we’re really getting across when using that word.


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