Sunday, April 27, 2014

Who Are You Calling A Female? By Stephanie J. Gates

I was sitting at the table watching the manicurist meticulously paint my nails, when he said something about “females.” I sucked in my breath as the words from his tongue screeched against the chalkboard of my mind.  By the time, he uttered it the third time, my ears were on fire so I said, “I don’t like being called a female.” He looked at me, paused hunched up his shoulders and resumed polishing my nails. It was quiet for a few minutes as he continued to work, and then he asked, “What’s wrong with female?”

So, I threw a question right back at him. I said, “If I am simply a female, then what separates me from a dog, a cat or cow?” He admitted that he had never really thought about it that way. And I’m sure he didn’t because it’s so common now. I hear a lot of young people referring to females as females, but I don’t here guys being called males. Where I’m from—depending on what hood I’m in at the time—guys are well, guys, dudes, bros and niggas. Never males. They are the male gender of people. So, how did we get to become females?

How did we get stripped of our humanity? According to, female means a (1):  of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs (2) A female is a thing; it’s an object. I don’t want to be objectified by the v-shaped space below my navel. I don’t want to be reduced to my genitals. I am more than the body parts that distinguish me from a boy or man.

The term dehumanizes girls and women. It treats as objects or toys to be played with, and we know what happens when something new becomes old. It’s discarded. Words are things. Words have power. And if we allow ourselves to be simply female, we lessen ourselves in the eyes of those who label us as such. So, while some may think it’s silly of me not to think of girls and women as females, when technically we are, I know we are females, but we are so much more than the abstract idea of simply being opposite a male or the other gender. Girls and women have feelings. We have goals. We have ambition. Our lives have purpose. Calling us female negates that.

Female is what I check on forms to distinguish me from a male. So I’m female for statistical and identification purposes only! When I was born, the doctor said, “It’s a girl!  Time and experience groomed me into a young woman, and the tutelage of magnificent mentors helped me blossom me into a lady. So, why would I settle for the façade of half-dressed femininity when I can wear the full worldliness of a woman and/or the loveliness of a lady so much better?


  1. I would first like to thank you for writing this. I have never thought of it that way before either. I use both the words males and females when I can not call a person a woman or a man because of their behavior. I don't use the cuss words Ni**a, Bi#(Hes, etc. I won't anymore because I understand exactly what you mean. My question to you is what words should I use?

    1. Yes! Yes! I hadn't even given this term a thought but now I have. Thank you!

    2. It is a matter of personal choice. When I hear guys say, "Females be like. . ." Then I wonder who are they talking about. Say girls, women, say female if it's ok by you. I happen not to like it. Thanks for reading.

    3. You're welcome.