Language sets expectations…at least that is what Mayim Bialik want’s us to realize with her most recent vlog entitled “Girl” vs. “Woman”: Why Language Matters.
The video that recently released on Facebook and YouTube, urges people to stop calling women ‘girls’ because it implies that they are inferior to men when we do so. Mayim also explains that in today’s society we are making our culture more male dominated by doing so.
“When we use words to describe adult women that are typically used to describe children, it changes the way we view women, even unconsciously, so that we don’t equate them with adult men,” she continued. “In fact, it implies that they are inferior to men.”
Does the way someone refers to you make you feel inferior to your counterpart, or are words simply just words…
Mayim Bialik also noted that most people when referring to men, do not say ‘boy’ because their place in society has changed and evolved through time. On the contrary she also talks about the women who don’t mind being called a ‘girl’ because they like being viewed as delicate and youthful. However she does battle her point when she furthers her argument with: “But to these women I would say the following: There is a thing that happens when we grow up in the kind of male-centered culture that we live in. We start to believe that the way things are is the way they have to be.”
Think that she may be onto something?
“The terms we’re using for women are outdated and insensitive and they assume a structure of power where men are on the top and women are on the bottom.”
Perhaps it is up to us to change this narrative and mold the unintended and negative impact our words can have on each-other. Simple changes may actually have a long term effect on the way we see people, on the way we view ourselves.
Next time someone calls you a ‘girl’ will you be correcting them, just as Mayim prompts us to do so? Or are you ok with the reference?
“Maybe if we start using language that elevates women and doesn’t equate them with sweet, small, cuddly, tender things, we’ll start treating them as more than that as well,” she said.