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Adult human females should be called ‘women’—if only for the sake of consistency

Adult human females should be called ‘women’—if only for the sake of consistency in our
linguistic practice. And just to be clear, by ‘adult’, I mean a person 18 years old or older,
whether that person is a high school student or a university student or a clerk or a construction
worker or whatever. 18 year-old “girls” have the ability to be mothers, so I don’t see how we
can consistently use a non-adult word to talk about them. Likewise, they have the ability to
vote, and surely anyone with that ability deserves to be talked about as a grown-up, not a
child. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go to silly extremes. If you’d rather say ‘young
woman’ than just ‘woman’ in some cases, I couldn’t object, since an 18 year-old is certainly
young in comparison to most other adults, and if you want to call women ‘girls’ and men ‘boys’
in some circumstances where it’s appropriate as a metaphor, such as when the men are
acting boyishly or the women girlishly, then there’s no harm in that either. The main thing to
which I object is using a word for children as though it literally applied to adults also. I guess
that’s the main objection I have: ‘girl’ is a word for a human female child, and to call women
‘girls’ is to imply that they are children, which is inaccurate and probably has other negative
consequences.

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