Jul 31st, 2012
I’ve been called girl, ma’am, miss, lady, dude (?), cougar (!) and from my own husband, chick. It’s amazing how many different words there are for females. With the exception of miss when I was 8 years old, I’ve not been especially pleased about any of them. But chick really rankles me – and I’m not only irked when I’m called one. No, I don’t like any woman to be called a chick. I don’t like chick flick for romance films either, unless I say it of course. Yes, guys (or dudes), disparaging names are only allowed to be spoken by those being dissed, like African Americans are the only ones allowed to use the N word. I draw the line at the B word for anything but female dogs. I don’t know how young women can be comfortable with that one.
In the scheme of things though, I don’t have much room to complain. For some women, a slang expression spoken in passing is nothing compared to losing your name. In the Middle East a woman becomes “mother of” as soon as her first child is born. So, if her first-born is a girl, say Sonya, she’s referred to as “mother of Sonya.” If she gives birth to a boy, then forever after she’s mother of … plus her son’s name. Her own birth name ceases to be used by her family.
I like my son’s name. But mother of Alex seems like a mouthful and it’s a little weird in our country anyway. The name business is a sad reminder that women have so little value in the strict Muslim countries. They must cover up, can’t drive or work and as soon as they’re a mother they nearly cease to exist as individuals. I guess I can put up with an occasional chick. But only if I say it.