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* [http://www.fitt.org.au/ Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications]
 
* [http://www.fitt.org.au/ Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications]
   
Pros:
+
;Pros:
  +
* Age-inclusive
  +
* Inclusive of people who don't feel practically feminine even though they identify as female.
   
Cons:
+
;Cons:
 
* Often considered disrespectful or demeaning in modern usage. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18wwlnsafire.t.html?_r=0]
 
* Often considered disrespectful or demeaning in modern usage. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18wwlnsafire.t.html?_r=0]
* Often used by trans-excluding radical feminists to refer exclusively to cis women. Thus, some trans women will assume that they aren't welcome in a group with "females" in the name.
+
* Can be exclusive to trans women due to use by trans-excluding radical feminists to refer exclusively to cis women.
   
 
==Girls==
 
==Girls==

Revision as of 16:01, 26 August 2015

Are you founding a women geeks group? Then you'll probably need a name. Here are some words/terms/names you could use to show that it is for women.

When choosing a name, it's important to be welcoming to trans women and not just cis women. Additionally, if you want to include genderqueer and/or non-binary-identified people who aren't male in your organization, it's worth thinking about how to choose a name that is inclusive.

Women

Examples:

Pros:

  • Probably the most neutral term available now. Less polarizing than other terms.
  • Very inclusive to adult women, especially ages 25-120
  • Common on restroom signs
  • Recommended in journalism by AP Stylebook

Cons:

  • Doesn't rhyme with anything
  • Younger women and teenagers don't necessarily associate themselves with the term
  • Can feel overly formal and businesslike

Ladies

Examples:

Pros:

  • Commonly reappropriated in hip-hop feminism, e.g. Ladies First by Queen Latifah. Has come back into vogue in recent years [2][3]
  • Can be fun in a retro, ironic way, e.g. "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé
  • Commonly used on restroom signs in some places, esp. multicultural urban areas
  • More casual and playful than "women"
  • Commonly used by college-aged women who might not identify with the term "woman" yet. Widely used by sororities. [3]

Cons:

  • Offensive in some places and contexts [4]
  • Can feel overly old-fashioned
  • Can feel classist
  • "Woman" preferred over "lady" in journalism. AP Stylebook says, "lady: Do not use as a synonym for women. Lady may be used when it is a courtesy title or when a specific reference to fine manners is appropriate without patronizing overtones." [5]

Female

Examples:

Pros
  • Age-inclusive
  • Inclusive of people who don't feel practically feminine even though they identify as female.
Cons
  • Often considered disrespectful or demeaning in modern usage. [4]
  • Can be exclusive to trans women due to use by trans-excluding radical feminists to refer exclusively to cis women.

Girls

Examples:

Pros:

  • concise

Cons:

  • Off-putting/infantilising to some women
  • Used widely in sexualizing contexts, can lead to undesirable web search results
  • professional women in male-dominated fields may have strong association between being called a girl and sexist (micro)aggression
  • Can be confusing to actual intent of audience

Grrls

Examples:

Pros:

  • Rad 90s RiotGrrl zine vibe

Cons:

  • Similar to 'girls', can be off-putting to women
  • Can be alienating
  • suitability limited to contexts where a read rad 90s RiotGrrl zine vibe is relevant

Gals

Examples:

Pros:

  • Casual, fun

Cons:

  • Similar to 'girls', can be off-putting to women
  • Trivialising? Depends on purpose of the group

Chicks/Chix

Examples:

Pros:

  • Fun, casual, and light-hearted. Playful.
  • Fun and empowering to reclaim the word.
  • Common in women's tech group names. Easily identifiable as a fun technical women's group.

Cons:

  • Pretty 90s.
  • "Chicks" is a trivialising and somewhat sexualized term for women. So using it has the pros/cons of reclamation.
  • Can be embarrassing or accidentally offensive to say aloud because it sounds like saying "chicks," e.g. sounds like saying, "Are you going to the Linux Chicks meetup?"
  • If referred to by a man verbally, it can cause accidental insult, e.g. "You're a Dev Chick, right?"

Dolls

Examples:

Pros/Cons:

  • Very informal


Sisters

Examples:

  • Systers
  • CSters (a university group)

Pros:

  • Not necessarily too casual
  • Age-inclusive at both ends
  • Not classist or dated
  • Free of solid association to the trivializing, sexualizing, objectifying use of words like 'girls' or 'chicks'.

Cons:

  • Suggests a level of closeness that may be offputting for a casual group.

Feminist

Examples:

Pros:

  • explicitly claims a feminist space
  • does not exclude feminists who aren't women

Cons:

Divas

Pros:

  • fun and casual
  • does not exclude non-cis women

Cons:

  • may be alienating to women who do not identify as 'divas' and/or traditionally feminine
  • may be alienating to women who want to be taken seriously
  • may take the attention from the actual content to associations with the word 'diva' (melodrama, physical appearance, grand personas)
  • negative term for self-centered, overly dramatic people.

Broads

Examples:

Pros:

  • casual
  • short
  • lends itself to puns

Cons:

  • outdated
  • offensive term in certain spheres.

Babes

Pros:

  • Informal and fun

Cons:

  • Potentially misogynistic

Womyn

Seen in feminist literature and as a self-identification

Pros:

  • Symbolically removes dependence on men/males

Cons:

  • Not usually taken seriously
  • May be taken as a claim of radical feminism

Fistresses

Paying homage to the iconic upwards fist of the feminism logo, this name is a concatenation of the fist of feminism and "mistress".

Pros:

  • No known negativity towards name

Cons:

  • Not widely known outside certain forums
  • Sounds very confusing without prior acquaintance to the term, especially to non-native English speakers

Unicorns

From the unicorn law, ie, a woman geek is as rare/mythical as a unicorn.

Examples:

  • The Haecksen miniconf doesn't use it as a name, but has made considerable use of unicorn logos.

Pros/Cons:

  • Lends itself well to icons and graphics.
  • The term is not well known outside the geek feminism community, and therefore can confuse or alienate people.
  • Haecksen found that some men missed the irony and were encouraged to actually treat women like unicorns: ie, to photograph them and exclaim over a coveted "unicorn" sighting.

Mother/Mom

Examples:

Pros/Cons:

  • Only a good idea if explicitly for mothers and that is relevant to the group

She/Her (female pronouns)

Examples:

Pros:

  • concise
  • clear
  • encompasses all who identify with the pronouns she/her
  • about as little sexist/infantilising/classist/generational schemata as possible

Cons:

  • use of the word 'her' can produce phrases that are objectifying on the grammatical level
  • may produce names that sound more like phrases than names

Miss/Ms/Mrs (female titles)

Examples:

Pros/Cons:


Abbreviation that uses one of the above terms

Examples:

  • WoMoz, short for "Women & Mozilla"

Pro:

  • If you can make a nice acronym it can work well

Con:

  • Can be obscure

Name reference to a famous woman in the field

Pros:

  • Different

Cons:

  • May be too obscure
  • Can be a difficult choice between being named for a recognizable woman and being one of many organizations named for that woman!

Borrowing from other languages

Examples:

Pros:

  • Valid choice for events/groups held in languages other than English

Cons:

  • Obscure for an English audience
  • Potentially appropriative

No gender connotation at all

Examples:

Pros:

  • Lots of flexibility
  • Can avoid a connotation that your group intends to be the only women's group with your scope (as opposed to "ProjectName Women" or "CityName Feminist Hackerspace"

Cons:

  • May need a nearly permanent subtitle
  • Not obvious in a passing reference that women are the intended audience
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