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6 Reasons You Should Stop Referring To Women As "Females" Right Now

Simply put, it's rude and it's weird.

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1. Because the words "female" and "woman" mean different things.

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"Female" is a scientific term that refers to the sex of a species that is capable of producing children. The term "woman" refers specifically to human beings, while "female" could refer to any species.

2. Because reducing a woman to her reproductive abilities is dehumanizing and exclusionary.

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When you refer to a woman as a female, you're ignoring the fact that she is a female human. It reduces a woman to her reproductive parts and abilities.

Also, not all women are biologically female, and the conflation of "female" to "woman" erases gender-nonconforming people and members of the trans community.

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4. Because it is most often used to imply inferiority or contempt.

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Not always, but often. And it's typically when "female" is used as a noun (i.e., "Females are the worst!"). Here's a fun exercise: Search the word "females" on Twitter and see what you get.

5. Because it's grammatically weird.

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The word "female," in its primary usage, is an adjective. When you use "female" as a noun, the subject that you're referring to is erased.

For example:

"I talked to a female yesterday."

A female what? A female kangaroo? A female rock snake? The subject of the sentence is not clear.

"I talked to a female presidential candidate yesterday."

This sentence is now about a human being.

It should be noted, though, that using "female" as an adjective can take a sexist turn when used in a case that isn't notable. Referencing a "female firefighter," for example, is appropriate only when her being female is pertinent to the story; otherwise, she's just a firefighter. But if you're talking about the first woman to become a firefighter, saying "the first female firefighter" is acceptable because her gender is relevant.

For more information on the appropriate grammatical uses of "female" and "woman," click here.

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