Archive for January, 2004
“Yeah, so I met this chick the other day and … .”
Inevitably, this is how a certain male friend always refers to any woman. The outcome and length of his story may differ, but the feminine reference is always the same – chick. And my response to this word is always the same too: “I can’t believe he just said ‘chick.’”
I have many other male friends who throw this word around as well, although not as frequently. Most restrain themselves around me because they know I find it offensive.
I’m not really sure why I find “chick” so demeaning when it comes from the lips of a man because honestly, if a female friend calls me a chick, then I have no problem with it. In fact, it usually evokes a feeling of camaraderie.
However, when rolling off the lips of a guy, this word makes me want to initiate a lengthy discourse on equality. If this were a few decades ago, I would probably be sacrificing my bra up to a bonfire, although I never understood the significance of burning a bra.
I missed the whole feminine movement, and I didn’t work in the ’80s when women felt the need to dress more like men to be taken seriously in the workplace. In fact, my generation has been able to enjoy the generally accepted wide-open spaces of feminine equality. However, I do know how small and insignificant it makes me feel when an attempt is made to be put in “my place” by a man who still lives in the Neanderthal caves of “me man, you woman.”
This is the type of man who cannot handle a woman with a thinking mind and a strong spirit. Maybe that feeling of worthlessness is why I have such issues with the word “chick.” When it comes from the mouth of a man, it reduces the value of the whole female race to that of an animal. Not just any animal either, but a helpless and ignorant little animal that needs someone to take care of it and protect it from the big, bad world.
In all fairness, I decided to explore the contemporary female vocabulary to see if there was an equally demeaning word for a general reference to men. Although its use is floundering, I think the word “dude” is used almost as a counterpart for “chick.” It is interesting to note the dictionary reference to “dude” says it is actually used to refer to a man. However, the dictionary says “chick” is slang for a young woman.
The word “dog” is one animalistic word reserved by women for specific men. However, there is a behavior pattern that accompanies the use of this word that is animalistic in origin. It is important to know this is not a word used lightly by women or as a general reference to men, as is “chick.”
All women may not share my feelings on the use of the word “chick.” However, it is a fact more and more women are flooding the workplaces of America and rising to places of management. I would venture to say referring to a female executive as a “chick” would not be in the best interest of any man.
I suppose some changes are slow in coming, and since bras cost a small fortune these days I don’t foresee any bonfires on campus. However, for those sensitive guys who care about how your female friends feel on this issue, you might want to ask before throwing around words that might offend them.
As for the other guys who don’t really care one way or another, it is because of you that women have fought so hard to be where they are today. Thanks.