Why we need to stop calling women 'females'

You can call them women, if you want.

Sarwat Fatima Sarwat Fatima Oct 11, 2017
There is something off about calling women females. Photo Courtesy: Pixabay


Female. How many times in your life have you been called this? Probably hundreds. No points for guessing that you did not mind being called one because that's what you are. A female. Well, there's a slight problem here. It's not okay if people refer to you as a female. No, this is not another feminist propaganda but a fact most people conveniently ignore.

There's a Difference Between Being a Female and a Woman

Yes, the two are not the same. I came across this piece on Odyssey written by Sofia Walton that describes the difference between the two--quite beautifully, in fact.

"According to Merriam-Webster, a female, when used as an adjective, is 'of or denoting the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes.' And when used as a noun, it means 'a female person, animal, or plant. Interesting that there is no distinction between those three organisms. When referring to a female, you could literally be talking about a plant," states the piece.

So, basically--female is a term that is often used to describe the sex of a specie that is capable of producing offspring. The term 'woman,' on the other hand, is not anatomy-based. It signifies a human being.

If you don't think that's a reason sound enough to stop calling women 'female,' then here's another:

Don't Do It For The Sake of Grammar

"The word 'female,' in its primary usage, is an adjective. When you use 'female' as a noun, the subject that you are referring to is erased," writes Kara Brown for Jezebel.

By calling a woman 'female' you are turning her into an adjective instead of a noun. For instance, no one really calls you a 'brown' or an 'Indian.' You want people to call you a person. Right? Similarly, when you call someone a female, you are masking their identity with an adjective--an adjective that describes their biology.

The Term 'Female' Implies Inferiority

Don't believe us? Try looking up for the term 'female' on Twitter. You'll be surprised to see the results. In fact, here are a few. Take a look:

See, how women have conveniently been called 'female' here but men are just 'men'.

If you pay close attention, you would notice the term 'female' refers to a characteristic or a stereotype. "The vast majority of people who use 'females' to refer to women are men who are expressing dislike, no matter how faint, of a group they consider a species," writes Brown.

But, most people choose to ignore the underlying meaning because it's a socially acceptable term. FYI, not everything that is popular or socially acceptable is also right. So, the next time you feel the urge to call a lady 'female' think about what you've just read.

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