From 1963-1966, actor William Hartnell portrayed the character of The Doctor on the British television program “Doctor Who.” Towards the end of his run, Hartnell was weary from the intense schedule and bowed out. The producers faced a fundamental dilemma: How to continue the series if they did not have their lead actor?
If you are female, which term do you prefer if you had to be labeled by one of these words: “Girl” or “Woman” or “Female” or doesn’t it matter?
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln I was educated, roughly and roundly, by certain forces in the English Department that one must never call a female a “girl” if she has had her period — how one determines if menstruation has happened or not was never explained — and the correct term for the rest of her life was “woman” but never “lady” because “lady” was an Olde Englishe synonym for “bitch.”
Ladies and gentlemen rightly translated to the modern ear, I was told, as Bitches and gentlemen and it was an unfortunate, but culturally accepted, put-down of women who fought to advance their self-worth beyond being seen merely as property.