Hey, girl!

Illustration by Cara Seccafien

Illustration by Cara Seccafien

Why do you have such a problem with a friendly, feminine nickname?


By Janis McMath, Contributor
If you’ve been to middle school, you know what it’s like to suffer the phase of coloured braces and constantly saying “dude” unironically. “Dude” is a fantastic word, and as you may already know, the term is an extremely common synonym for “friend,” or “buddy.” While originally used in the 1800s to make fun of extravagantly dressed men, the expression has been used indiscriminately of gender since the twentieth century.  Everyone (male, female, non-binary, etc.) seems to use the expression “dude” because it’s a damn good expression, dude.

But, personally, I believe that the era of “dude” is over—I much prefer “girl,” so I use the term regularly with all my friends of all varying genders.

“Girl” is a similar expression to “dude” because it is used in friendship and camaraderie. Furthermore, the term has evolved over time to take on a more gender-neutral meaning. To see an example of its neutral meaning, one only needs to look at the popular use of “girl” in drag culture. Regardless of gender or sex, cisgender male drag queens call each other “girl” in a way that highlights their companionship. The word is gaining traction as a synonym for pal—yet I keep meeting guys who are offended by my friendly use of “girl.” The reaction I have received from many guys at the use of “girl” is “I’m actually a guy if you didn’t know!” Yes dude, I know—also, how is that relevant?

While it’s totally fair for people to be unaware of language trends and correct me due to their ignorance, guys that respond this way will consistently correct my use of “girl” even if I’ve already explained that I only mean it as friend or pal. Adding to the hypocrisy, these guys will knowingly call me “dude”—yet constantly reject being called “girl.” If you understand that gendered words like “dude” can simply mean “pal,” why keep correcting me when I call you “girl?” The only difference between “dude” and “girl” is the masculine and feminine implications, and if you are offended by the feminine implication (i.e., you think women are lesser than men), then you’re misogynistic! How fragile could your masculinity possibly be?

It seems that everyone has readily accepted “dude,” yet “girl” keeps facing rejection from those who dislike the feminine implication. “Girl” should be acknowledged and appreciated as a friendly term of endearment—and if you hate it because you’re misogynistic, then I weep for the woman who literally grew you in her “girly” uterus.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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