Thursday, November 30, 2006

swimming and feminism

Our new swim coach started this week. He is all of about 28 years old and has never coached adults before. I was startled Tuesday when he said to the two women in one lane "How are you girls doing?" Our fastest swimmers are a man and a woman not long out of college, and there may be one more of our group who is in her 20s, but the rest of us are four women in their 30s and 40s and two of us over 50. I don't think very fast at 5:30 in the morning, so it took me several hours to figure out what I wanted to do.

This morning when he referred to us as girls I told him that I have been a feminist since 1969 and I object to being called a girl. He said he would try not to do so but he was clearly mystified--he said he thought we would be complimented. I didn't think fast enough to say "How would you feel if I called you 'boy'?"

He asked what we would like to be called. I came up with "folks"--"how are you folks doing?" seems natural. Anybody got a better idea?


Anonymous said...

How about "ass-kicking swimmers"? Or "motivated morning people"? Or "people with odd latex items on your heads"? Or "people who would not recognize each other in street clothes"?


Here's hoping the new coach works out well.

Joann said...

I too object to the "girls" comments. I usually tell people, "The dictionary definition of 'girl' is "a young maiden 12 or under." Since I clearly don't fit that category, I let them know I'm a WOMAN, but I try hard to be educational and polite. The idea of "girls" still gets under my skin because so many office workers, who are clearly WOMEN are called "the girls" as a way of diminishing their rank -- the pink collar syndrome. I've suggested "folks" in the past. "You'all" works well. I all like what Isis said. He probably would not like being called a "pal," "boy," "pup," "yungun," or "sweetie." You could always pull out one of those in a reply if he continues to slip back into "girl" mode.

Most young men and young women of today have no clue how far our society has come and WHY it changed with regard to women. He probably can't tell you what Feminism is. When I taught classes at college none of my students ever knew.

Good luck with educating him.

When will you know if you get to go to Turkey?