Woman. Webster says this:
a: an adult female person
b: a woman belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) —usually used in combination <councilwoman>
Female. Webster says this too:
a (1): of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs (2): pistillate
b (1): composed of members of the female sex <the female population> (2): characteristic of girls or women <composed for female voices> <a female name>
We have heard it, lots of us have said it. Referred to a woman or a girl as a female. It's a pet peeve of mine particularly at this age and stage in life. I corrected a co-worker the other day before I realized I did it. It caught him a little off guard but he kept the conversation rolling. There are a lot of things I can tolerate being referred to as, but for someone to oversimplify me in such a generic manner rubs my fur the wrong way. I've earned this title "Woman". And I damn well mean to keep it.
I find it's mostly young women who will allow themselves to be referred to as such, or will sometimes even make reference to others as simply "female". It's always struck me as a negative thing, usually the references are about someone for whom they have no respect. I suppose that's why it fires me up when I hear it come out of a mans mouth. There's already enough of a rift between the sexes, we don't need to cultivate it any more than necessary. Of course I have to remind myself of how not revered women are this day and age.
Why the depersonalization? Why generalize women down to the biological term? I know women who do the same in reference to men. Basically it's an effort to take away from who the person is, to say "that's not a woman! that just a female of the species!". Yes there is a distinct difference between a Woman and a Girl. There is also a difference within women, there are ladies, and there are those who are not. Just as there is a difference between a Man and a Boy. Men have to earn their title, so do Women., in the meantime she's a girl, or a young woman. That does not mean that they need to be reduced to a biological term, it simply means we need to grow and become who are are going to be.
I, personally, don't consider myself a lady, but I am a Woman through and through. I have given life, I have taken life. I've seen people and things grow, and I've seen people and things die. I work, I play, I maintain fairly healthy relationships and I know (for the most part) who I am and where I fit in the world. Now, having said that, would I generalize another woman if she were younger than me and hadn't done all of those things? Absolutely not. She's just not there yet. Just like a man has to go through his points in life to get to earn the title of Man, not just man. I'm not going to generalize men down to "males" simply because there are a handful whose behavior irks me.
I wrote one a while back about misogynists and whatnot. I'm not sure what the feminine equivalent to that would be called, but I know a few. And that's really where it all breaks down, exactly how you feel about the opposite sex and why. That why drives our behavior. No man or woman is going to give very much depth to someone they don't truly, deep down, respect or even like. Take a moment and Google image search the word "woman" and then the word "female". The term female takes you straight to sex/reproductive organs. If that is what we are reduced to in the eyes of members of society, a set of organs with a "crazy" attitude to go with them....we will never evolve past where we are today. It's high time men stopped being put off by a womans natural abilities and functions and remember that it takes two to populate the world and create balance.
Woman, by Wolfmother.