Is Using The Word ‘Girl’ Sexist?

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • In some circumstances being called a 'girl' can be belittling

    We want to know if you find the word ‘girl’ offensive?

    First, let us explain. A discussion about the use of the word ‘girl’, and more specifically the connotations behind it, has started due to the BBC editing it out of a recent documentary.

    In the documentary, about the Commonwealth Games, called The Queen’s Baton Relay, presenter Mark Beaumont was apparently taken aback when he was defeated by judo champion Cynthia Rahming (we’re not sure why, one doesn’t become a champion for nothing after all) and the first time the programme was shown he was heard saying: ‘I am not sure I can live that down – being beaten by a 19-year-old girl.’

    When the show was repeated, the word ‘girl’ had been removed.

    Judo star Cynthia herself said, when asked by the Mail on Sunday, that she wasn’t in the slightest bit offended by the word, saying: ‘I wasn’t offended – I didn’t find it sexist.’

    A spokeswoman for the BBC revealed that they had taken out the word ‘girl’ in case it caused offence (the worry being, we presume, that people might think the BBC meant being a woman or a girl makes you less capable than a man). A decision that Mariella Frostrup agrees with. ‘”Girls” to me is a fantastic word because I think, “Girls… full of potential,”‘ she said.

    ‘But it has been used as a dismissive term as well. So I can imagine why it would be controversial. The athlete may not have been offended but the BBC has to think of the sensibilities of everybody watching.’

    So, what do you think about the use of the word ‘girl’? Can it be demeaning when in used in a specific context, or is the world going PC mad? Let us know in the comment box below…

    Reading now