Just as the male-as-neutral form of our language invisiblizes numerous demographics of people, the way that language casually infantilizes women perpetuates rape culture and normalizes sexism. To refer to a woman–a female-identifying person over the age of 18–as a “girl,” is not only disrespectful, treating them as a child, removing agency and autonomy, but it is blatantly sexist. If I were to describe someone as a boy, regardless of context, I highly doubt you would picture someone over the age of 18. But if I were to say, “I hung out with this girl the other night…” you would picture an adult; it is unlikely you would assume that I was referring to a child. The normalization of sexist language not only perpetuates rape culture, but it allows for rape culture to be normalized in our minds and hearts.
– Brett Goldberg
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