'Good guy' and 'bad guy' to refer to women

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,


I heard that "good guy"(good character in a movie) and "bad guy" (bad character in a movie) can be used to refer to women. My question: does it sound appropriate to use "good guy" or "bad guy" in reference to women? [in American English or British]


''Anna will play the bad guy in our movie. Betty, you will be the good guy.''


Thank you in advance!
 
  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    You are correct.

    I would be careful about addressing women as "guys," as in "Hey guys, come look at this!" Some women don't mind this, but others do. However, "good guy" and "bad guy" are terms designating the hero or villian. I doubt if there are many women* who would object to being referred to this way. It's common for a woman to say something like "My husband won't discipline the kids. I always have to be the bad guy."

    *I can't say no woman would object because there are some people you can never please.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    In some contexts guys is exclusively male, the corresponding female being gals.
    In other contexts guys is inclusive and embraces both sexes.

    In clichés like "good guy" and "bad guy" movie roles, there is no reason to suppose the characters have to be male (even though more often than not they probably are), so yes, I think it's perfectly OK for Anna and Betty to play the bad guy and good guy.

    I take it that in your context the characters are in fact female, and that you're not talking of a situation in which, say, an all-girl school is putting on a production of a movie in which therefore all the roles are filled by females, even though some of the principal roles might be male (in which case your question would not arise, since the characters would still be male guys).
     
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