Last night at the 10th Annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference, Alice Walker bemoaned the fact that women still refer to each other in groups as “guys.” Thinking in the shower this morning, what’s an alternative? Gals? Ladies? Women? Think about it. Can you hear yourselves, hum, Ladies, using any feminine term of address that doesn’t have just a smidge or an echo of diminution in it. Diminution? Is that a good word? Maybe I’m thinking “a tone of condescension.” Maybe I’ll come up with some better term for calling out to a group of my, (oh dear, shall I say it?) gal pals, when I want to get their attention. Gal pals? Yech. That tasted awful on my tongue. Help me come up with something better!
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Ladies. Why would that term be a problem?
Darlene, SOMEWHERE (I can’t find it right now) Mary Alice commented that “Lady” was a term of English nobility, so she objected to it on that basis. It is totally a matter of personal preference. I don’t use it, because it brings up audible memory of nasal voices rising above a crowd. But, hey, if someone’s voice sounds NICE, I’m going to respond. Thanks for YOUR response!
Just found Mary Alice’s comment….on Google Plus. Does ANYONE keep all this straight???
I think “ladies” is just fine.
I think we can embrace ‘guys’
I think we could embrace ‘guys’ as a unisex term. As terms go, to my ear its pretty neutral. Maybe im missing the point, maybe its a sign of men coming first (?) but the fact that a term that referred to ‘them’ now refers to ‘us and them’ and sometimes just ‘us’ is progress.
Alice was just making the point that our language is often thoughtlessly male-centric, which is true. “Ladies” is a term that’s good, if it can be said without sounding shrewish, as in LAY DEEZ! And awmillie, I LOVE to embrace “guys.!” OK, one in particular. I’m with you. I use it all the time. Except in Texas, where I fall back to “All ya’ll.”