Equal Folks

Equal Strokes for Equal Folks

Today the DJ on the morning show referred to a female as a “girl”who worked at a local gym. I noticed this because I have yet to hear him speak about a member of the male species as a “boy” when referring to an 18+ male in a work situation.

He is not alone.

DJs, podcasters, speakers, and others insist that “girls will be girls and boys will be men.” Really? The movie “Guys and Dolls” reflects 1955 not 2018 society. Yet, that’s what I hear from public speakers – influencers—time and time again.

To help change the bias speak, I offer the following table.

When to Use Equal strokes for equal Folks
Gender Male Female
0 to 12 years Boy Girl
12 to 18 years Young Man Young Woman
  Young Gentleman Young Lady
18+ Adults (mixed genders) Man Woman
  Guy Gal
  Sir Ma’am
  Mr. Ms.
  Gentleman Lady
Siblings (mixed genders) Brother Sister
Spouses (mixed genders) Husband Wife

Our language, and the words we choose to communicate, must reflect respect — and it’s even more so in the workplace. Words hold power; use them wisely.



P.S. Remember, just because you hit your 50s and everyone under 30 looks extremely young to you – you must use words of respect and avoid calling young adults boys and girls — even if that’s how you perceive them. Just as people under 30 need to avoid calling you an “old geezer.” Like Aretha Franklin, “All I’m askin’ here is a little respect…” (Lyrics at https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/2877312/Aretha+Franklin/Respectand song history at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/untold-history-behind-aretha-franklin-respect/)