Mayim Bialik – aka Dr Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory – has called upon her social media followers to stop referring to women as “girls” in a video that has been shared all over the world.
The actor and neuroscientist begins the clip by recalling an outing with some male friends. The group absconded to a nearby bar and set about enjoying their evening – but the mood shifted when one of them referred to a nearby woman as a ‘girl’.
“I start looking around, wondering why they would let a child into the bar,” says Bialik.
“Then I realised that when he said ‘girl’, he meant ‘woman’. But, because she's in that super narrow age range between five years old and 55 years old, we just don't know what to call her. So we call her a ‘girl’.”
The 41-year-old goes on to argue that “language matters” – especially when it comes to gender.
“When we use words to describe adult women that are typically used to describe children, it changes the way we view women — even unconsciously, so that we don’t equate them with adult men,” Bialik says. “In fact, it implies that they’re inferior to men.
“We never call men boys because it’s demeaning and emasculating.”
Bialik goes on to acknowledge that there are women who don’t mind being girls. However, despite this, she has implored them to stop accepting some preconceived notion that men are in charge and somehow superior.
“It assumes a position of power where men are on the top and women are on the bottom,” she says. “Maybe if we start using language that elevates women and doesn’t equate them with sweet, small, cuddly, tender things, we’ll start treating them as more than that as well.”
Watch the video for yourself below:
Not sure if the person you’re talking to is a woman or a girl? Well, Bialik has some top tips for you.
“Indications that she might, in fact, be a woman are a high school diploma, a job, a car she pays insurance on, a mortgage, a home she calls her own, or a 401K [pension],” she says. “Being a mum is usually a very good indication that someone is, in fact, a woman.”
She adds that girls, on the other hand, “tend to be under the age of 18 and typically live with their parents.”
Bialik says it’s “up to us to change the narrative” and finishes by asking women everywhere to correct someone if they hear them refer to another woman as a ‘girl’.
Or, in other words, ‘we are woman, hear us roar’ – and we deserve to be called as such.
Images: Rex Features