Professional athletes should not be referred to as girls. Professional athletes (regardless of age) deserve to be called women or ladies. This is a professional courtesy. Male athletes are called men. It seems absurd that female athletes need to request or fight to make sure they are given this same courtesy.
In other professions- military, policy, medical, legal, business- calling another professional a girl would be considered inappropriate. Just recently, the Pasadena Mayor called one of his fellow council members “boy” and the response from the councilor was shock, awe, and feelings of disrespect. If that was not okay, then calling a woman in a professional capacity a girl should equally illicit shock, awe, and feelings of disrespect.
This topic comes up because I recently sent an email to Surf Simply because during one of their pod casts, they called the women on the championship tour girls. I sent an email to the show, saying that as professionals the women deserve to be called women or ladies. In the next podcast, the panel discussed the need to call the women on the tour women or if it is okay to use the term girls.
Surf Simply focused primarily on the definition of the world girl to determine the level of appropriateness. In addition, they focused on codes people use, specifically when people say things like going out with the girls or my boys in the water. In the end, they felt that from a feminist perspective asking that the women on the tour be called women was not a battle worth fighting.
I was a bit taken aback. My point was not about a feminist movement but a professional courtesy. A professional female athlete is not a girl. She is a woman. She is competing at the highest level.
Let’s be professional and let’s get it right.