Make Your Editor Cry: Female vs. Female vs. Girl/Woman and Male vs. Boy/Man

Make Your Editor Cry:  Female vs. Female vs. Girl/Woman and Male vs. Boy/Man

WARNING: This article deals factually with gender and sex and could trigger those who adhere to “identity politics.”

You can correctly say, “I transferred the male patient upstairs,” but you cannot correctly say, “I transferred the male upstairs.” Other than the initial example, the correct wording would be, “I transferred the man (or boy) upstairs,” or  “I transferred the patient upstairs.”

You can correctly say, “The female suspect fled,” but you cannot correctly say, “The female fled.” The correct wording would be, “The woman (or girl) fled,” or “The suspect fled.”

This is so commonly misused these days that I am just waiting for Webster and the style manuals to give up, throw up their hands, and toss out the English language.

The words man and woman are both nouns. The words girl and boy are both nouns. The words male and female are both adjectives as are words like masculine and feminine.

That is a seemingly thin but in reality very important distinction. Remember, a very thin line separates a numerator from a denominator.

In English, a noun is a word that functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas. If you are of a particular age, as I am, and you can hearken back to the after school Schoolhouse Rock songs, a noun is a person, place, or thing.

An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or a noun phrase or describes its referent. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. As much as I love a good adjective, it isn’t a noun, and ought not be promoted to “noun-hood” regardless of one’s political agenda.

So, when introducing a character, for example, you can correctly say the character is “a man” or “a woman” with articles in front of the nouns and whatnot and that is just fine. But, it is entirely incorrect to say he is “a male” or she is “a female” without a noun in sight because those words are adjectives that describe nouns like “man” and “woman” or for that matter any member of the animal kingdom, as in “a female fox is called a vixen” or “a male elephant is called a bull.”

I am going to take some space to explain the secular rationalization for this mistake. In recent days, there have been organized “movements” to eliminate so-called “gender discriminating” pronouns and nouns. You may or may not have witnessed this. There was a rather large-scale rhubarb on Twitter where certain factions applied pressure to public figures there to stop using male/female pronouns in their tweets. Same thing with our esteemed electorate in their public speeches, and so on. This is due to the the core philosophies of “identity politics” and it may deserve at least one or two paragraphs of sidebar to provide context.

The secular world of “identity politics” has a philosophical notion that if it were somehow possible to strip away every male physical aspect and every cultural masculine facet from a man that you would arrive at just a “core identity” of some kind of amorphous sexless being. Then if it were somehow possible to replace everything you first stripped away with female physicality and feminine cultural facets, then that once man’s “core identity” could equally and effortlessly shift to “identifying” as a woman. The philosophy concludes that the converse is equally true, and so a woman could just as equally and effortlessly transform into and operate as a man. But this philosophy disagrees with scripture and the truth of God’s word informs otherwise.

In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; (Genesis 5: 1b-2a KJV from 1611)

So, it’s no surprise that the Christian worldview and the secular worldview are in direct conflict on this core belief of their philosophy.

Now, in English, there are cases where the noun subject of a sentence is understood. Take the sentence, “Go get the mail.” In this case, the noun subject [You] is understood as in “[You] go get the mail.”

The secular world has rationalized replacing the gendered noun words “Man” and “Woman” with gendered adjectives like “Male” and “Female” by saying that–where [human] represents that somehow entirely sexless and non-gendered “core identity” according to their philosophy–“the [human] is silent” but implicit and understood.

Okay. Let me get this straight. The noun [human] is somehow implied by the writer and should rightly be inferred by the reader. Therefore, when I read a sentence like, “A male beat on my door yesterday,” I am supposed to understand and/or infer an intended meaning of “A male [human] beat on my door yesterday.” because the silent noun [human] is somehow implicit. Likewise, when I read something like, “This product was designed especially for females,” I should rightly infer the implicit meaning that the sentence is intended to read something like, “This product was designed especially for [human] females.”

The above rationalization makes me think of the implicitly understood male bovine called a [bull]. If it smells like it came out of the south end of a [bull] and it looks like it came out of the south end of a [bull], it might just be a giant load of [bull].  I mean, what the, heck? In that case, why not just silence all the nouns? We can then have sentences like, “The male beat on my.” Ah, but nouns like [door] don’t have anything to do with a certain political agenda. They are not “discriminatory,” so they get a pass. Here ends the sidebar.

At the end of the day–besides being grammatically correct–it is much clearer, cleaner, and more accurate to just use the noun and write about how “A man beat on my door yesterday,” or “This product was designed especially for women.” They are cool nouns. Why not use them?

Therefore:

I am a man. My son is a boy.

As a man, I am male. As a boy, he is male.

Note the absence of articles in the latter two sentences. The “to be” verbs literally put us in a state of being a man or a boy. What kind of man or boy? A male man or boy. If the adjective was “tall” instead of “male” you would say “I am tall. He is tall.” However:

I am not a male. He is not a male.

Note the incorrectly added articles. Either I or my son can be described as male in an adjective sense but neither is a male. You would never say “I am a tall. He is a tall.”

My wife is a woman. My daughter is a girl.

As a woman, my wife is female. As a woman, my daughter is female.

My wife is not a female. My daughter is not a female.

If the adjective was “lovely” instead of “female” you would say “My wife is lovely. My daughter is lovely.” You would never say “My wife is a lovely. My daughter is a lovely.”

I realize that the pervasive clamor of identity politics has probably muddied that very plain text above to the point of near incomprehensibility. Let’s see if this clears it up. Near perfect synonyms for the adjectives male and female are the adjectives masculine and feminine.

Therefore:

I am a man. My son is a boy.

As a man, I am masculine. As a boy, he is masculine.
I am male. He is male.

I am not a masculine. He is not a masculine.
I am not a male. He is not a male.

My wife is a woman. My daughter is a girl.

As a woman, my wife is feminine. As a girl, my daughter is feminine.
My wife is female.
My daughter is female.

My wife is not a feminine. My daughter is not a feminine.
My wife is not a female. My daughter is not a female.

Just as with the adjective male, either man or boy can be described as masculine in an adjective sense but neither are, in essence, a masculine. Just as with the adjective female, either woman or girl can be described as feminine in an adjective sense but neither is, in essence, a feminine.

Hopefully, the distinction is more clear now.

One more example for clarity. Where the word “room” is the noun, I would not say I need to go use the adjective male‘s room or the adjective masculine‘s room. I would say I need to use the men‘s room. Or, for the women reading this, a women‘s room not a female‘s room or a feminine‘s room. You get the idea.

In conclusion, while it is perfectly correct to say, “the male killer skulked into the room” or “the female sailor could not lift the ammo crate,” because those gender specific adjectives directly modify nouns, it is perfectly incorrect to say, “the male skulked into the room,” or “the female could not lift the ammo crate” because there is no noun present in the sentence for the adjectives to modify.

Examples:

Incorrect:

The man is a male.He can use the male's
restroom.

The woman is a female. The female contradicted the male's
story.

The boy is a male.The girl is a female.

He was a shy boy, but he grew to be a strong and confident
male. He's a grown male now.

She was a pudgy girl, but she
grew to be a slender adult female. She's a grown female now.

The female fled through the back alley. The male got away.

The state female's swimming and diving finals will
be held in the Lower Peninsula.

Correct:

The man is male. He can use the men's
restroom.

The woman is female. The woman contradicted the man's
story.

The boy is male. The girl is female.

He was a shy boy, but he grew to be a strong and confident
man. He's a grown man now.

She was a pudgy girl, but she grew to be a slender woman. She's a grown woman now.

The woman fled through the back alley. The man got away.

The state girl's swimming and diving finals will be
held in the Lower Peninsula.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 13 + 5 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)