I’m part of a soccer team. Not a big-time competitive team or club, just a local meet up of young men who catch up to play a few times a week. You can think of it as an adult version of the little league. So,we are planning this match against each other and we split the group into two. As usual, the pre-match ‘analysis’ slid down into taunts and threats of how we are going to kick each other’s behinds.
And then, it happened! I made what I thought was a subtle taunt. “Okay ladies, see you on Saturday at the pitch”, I signed off. Suddenly, the Whatsapp chat room exploded in uproar! The other team members started typing furiously, each of the incoming texts sizzling with rage! “Have you ever seen me in a skirt?” one of the members protested. “Show a little respect man,” cried another.
The stormy chat eventually died down, about 2 hours later. I was not really bothered by their remarks as much as I was stunned by how the men found it almost abhorrent to be referred to as a woman, even metaphorically. I mean, what is it about a woman that is so hideous that we couldn’t want to be remotely associated?
Within the disciplined forces, the army, and even sports teams, men are constantly referred to as ‘ladies’ so as to motivate them to work harder and to prove that they are men! It is never used in any misogynistic way, not to my knowledge.