Over at USA Today, Christine Brennan laments the use of the word “ladies” in regards to women’s sports (i.e. the “ladies singles” competition in tennis or figure skating). Brennan thinks that the term is dated in a post-Title IX world where women are just as tough as the guys. As evidence that female athletes are so tough, Brennan points to the recent WNBA brawl between Detroit and L.A., as if that is some sign of progress for women.
One of the comments on the article sums up my feelings exactly: “Wow, what a world we live in, when it’s an insult to be called a lady!” I can’t fathom that being an insult, mostly because I 1) view it as a sign of respect and 2) I don’t think the term is mutually exclusive from being a tough competitor. When you look at the sports where the term is most commonly used — figure skating, tennis, and golf — it seems perfectly appropriate. There is an element of grace to those sports that “women’s” doesn’t quite capture.
Agree? Disagree? Have at it in the comments.