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Bob Lind, Published March 17 2014

Lind: Neighbors, is the term ‘gal’ offensive?

Once again, Neighbors would appreciate feedback from you. This time it concerns the use of the word “gals.”

Since this column is written informally, it often has used that term. But it turns at least one woman off, because she wrote Neighbors to “please quit referring to women as ‘gals.’ It is so sexist.”

Neighbors sent her a note seeking permission to use her name, but the email came back as undeliverable, so she apparently has switched her address. So, without her permission, Neighbors won’t publish her name.

But here’s what else she wrote:

“I enjoy reading your columns, but simply get irritated when you use the word ‘gals’ or ‘gal’ when referring to women. I also do not use the word ‘guys’ which is as bad.

“If I am referring to an individual or a group of men (or women) at work or other social scene, I just use that description: a man (or plural – men) – at the office said, etc. Likewise for women.

“Sometimes,” she says, “all of these language shortcuts (as I call them) do nothing more than destroy the English language and portray bad grammar.”

Neighbors asked a woman and a man what they thought of this, and found they disagreed with her, thinking those terms fit the tone and personality of the column.

Now over to you, neighbors. Do the terms “gals” and “guys” offend you? Write us your thoughts on this. Neighbors may discontinue using them, depending on how the majority of you vote. This column probably offends people for lots of reasons without adding this one to the list.

If you write, Neighbors would use your name in a follow-up column unless you request otherwise.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; ax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com