We’re Grown Women, So Can We Please Stop Referring To Ourselves & Each Other As “Girls”?

Here’s a public request for all the women out there: can we please stop calling each other “girls”? It might not seem like a big deal to do so, especially when the people we’re referring to as girls are our best friends, but here are 12 reasons we need to embrace being the grown, badass women we are.

  1. We’re not kids. Look up the word “girl” on the internet and you’ll see this definition: “female child.” We’re not children and so we don’t need to call each other a word that basically means we’re underage.
  2. It denies our growth. We’ve grown through childhood and early adulthood to be the amazing women that we are now, so why would we be calling each other by a word that signifies we haven’t grown up at all? It’s so not empowering!
  3. It makes us vulnerable. There’s nothing wrong with being a little vulnerable, but we can own vulnerability as grown, mature women. We don’t need to be vulnerable like young girls who are helpless! See the difference? There’s no strength in girl-child vulnerability.
  4. It’s creepy. When a guy comes over to the table where we’re enjoying dinner with our girlfriends and says, “Can I get you girls a drink?” it feels like we’ve taken a trip back to the early 1900s. If he’s flirting, it’s creepy and a tad sexist. He might think he’s being a gentleman, but he’s really doing the verbal equivalent of patting us on the heads. Ugh.
  5. It limits us. Calling ourselves “girls” immediately puts us in a different category to boys/men. It reminds us of the days when girls wore pink and boys wore blue when girls played with dolls while boys played with cars. We need to put an end to those gender discriminations and limitations. So many women before us didn’t smash the glass ceiling for us to be restricting ourselves all over again!
  6. It feels fake. Sometimes, calling each other “girls” can feel fake AF, like we’re trying too hard to be sisters. Can we just cut through the bull and bond over genuine things? Just because we’re all women, it doesn’t mean we need to bond over that fact, so let’s stop trying to force sisterhood to happen.
  7. It zaps our power.  They say, “I am woman, hear me roar!” They never say, “I am girl, hear me roar.” It just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Girls don’t roar, they squeak. So let’s not give up our power by trying to be girly and sweet as pie. Let’s rather be badass women and own it.
  8. It makes us struggle with the clock. When men refer to women as “girls,” it can feel like they’re trying to keep women as young as possible, which is infuriating. There’s beauty in growing up and getting older. When we refer to each other as girls, it should be just as much of a no-no as when men do it because it signifies our desperate need to try to hold onto our youth. Who needs that? Becoming a woman is so much more fun and sexy than remaining a girl.
  9. It makes us silly. The person who’s not responsible for her life, needs help, and is a damsel in distress is a girl. As women, we own our lives, live independently, and take care of ourselves. Being a “girl” implies trying to be feminine and girly to get what we want. When you’re a grown woman, that’s called dumbing yourself down. There’s no room for that in womanhood.
  10. It makes us nostalgic. Being a “girl” might make us remember having stuffed teddy bears on our beds, fun sleepovers, and an age of innocence. Sure, those were the good old days, but let’s get over them and live the lives we really want without feeling like our best times are gone. There’s so much more to look forward to!
  11. It’s not the same as when men call each other “boys.” Sometimes men do call each other “boys”, which implies fun, mischief, and naughtiness. Think of the saying “boys will be boys,” for instance. “Girls” is a word that doesn’t imply that freedom. Sure, it might be feminine and girly, but girls were taught to be good, sweet, and obedient. Based on that alone, why would we ever want to call ourselves girls?
  12. It prevents equality. If you’ve ever been in a business meeting where a male boss referred to you as a “girl,” you’ll know how infuriating it can be. Same goes for when men call women “bitches” or “sluts.” If we use those words on each other, we’re saying they’re acceptable. We’re allowing men to say those things to us, which isn’t acceptable ever. Let’s be real about this: we can’t expect to be treated as equals if we’re the ones making ourselves out to be children, such as by calling ourselves “girls.” Girls and men aren’t equal and never will be. Let’s not be girls, but amazing, badass, and worthy women. There’s power in words. Let’s use it.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.