"skirts" as a pejorative term for women

< Previous | Next >
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It sounds a bit dated to me, Setwale, as does bit of skirt for an individual woman. Maybe I just move in the wrong circles.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I can tell you that as very politically-incorrect slang when speaking among each other, police in New York will sometimes refer disparagingly to male police officers who have assignments or perform duties that are strictly clerical, and not directly related to police patrol, as "skirts".
    Officer Smith: So is roll call going to be your permanent assignment now?
    Officer Jones: Yeah, I guess I am turning into a real skirt.

    One would not hear it, though, as a general term for a woman.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I don't think I've ever heard it personally; I've heard it used in contemporary fiction such as TV shows, but always as a consciously outdated term. A character parodying Frank Sinatra, for example, might say it.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Skirts" as a term for women was slang, but it was never "pejorative". I think if you saw an old movie in which sailors newly in port say they want to go out on the town and meet some "skirts", one can assume that the sailors are not saying that because they dislike women and wish to denigrate them.

    Are you therefore looking for a slang term that may be low class but is not necessarily pejorative, or are you looking for a term that is explicitly insulting or dismissive?
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I occasionally hear people use it as a joke in the same way they might use 'dames' (while imitating hard boiled detective novel dialogue). I certainly wouldn't expect to hear it as generic slang for women or as a pejorative term for women. (I agree with GWB that it's not actually a pejorative no matter how un-PC it sounds to modern ears.)
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Skirts was not pejorative from the viewpoint of those who used it, although it sounds demeaning from today's pulitically keeerect posture. I haven't heard it spoken in about forty or fifty years. I can't imagine anyone using it today, other than to parody the speech of the 1940s or 1950s.

    Some younger men use the term "shorties" to refer to women, with about the same sense that skirts once had. (Women wear skirts, therefore skirts =>women; most women are shorter than most men of the same age group, therefore shortie => woman.) It too is obviously not in keeping with PC standards. Is it demeaning or pejorative? You would have to ask those who use it. I am not among their number.
    I would call it insensitive, maybe crass, but I really don't know if the users intend any insult.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    A term that is skirting both the politically correct barrier and possibly the edge of sounding outdated is "chicks."

    "Shorties" is still firmly within the parlance of hip hop culture only, as far as I know.
     

    baker589

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It must be! If someone said shorties to me I wouldn't have a clue what they were talking about! Chicks does sound outdated and is American English.
     

    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    "Skirts" as a term for women was slang, but it was never "pejorative". I think if you saw an old movie in which sailors newly in port say they want to go out on the town and meet some "skirts", one can assume that the sailors are not saying that because they dislike women and wish to denigrate them.

    Are you therefore looking for a slang term that may be low class but is not necessarily pejorative, or are you looking for a term that is explicitly insulting or dismissive?
    I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning. Simply because sailors do not dislike women or purposely wish to denigrate them, does not mean the word is not insulting or pejorative. In many instances, sexist people do not think that they are being mean and belittling; they think their behaviour is appropriate or even charming and cute-the worst kind of sexism by the way.

    I, for one, would not appreciate being referred to as a "skirt".
     

    Nymeria

    Senior Member
    English - Barbadian/British/educated in US universities blend
    A term that is skirting both the politically correct barrier and possibly the edge of sounding outdated is "chicks."

    "Shorties" is still firmly within the parlance of hip hop culture only, as far as I know.
    Right ye are! "Shorties" is still "on and poppin' ";)

    I wouldn't consider "shorty" to be offensive. It's usually used in an endearing, protective way. But hmmm, maybe if I consider it closely...:idea:
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Setwale, I think there is some confusion and some guessing in the dark going on. (What? In WordReference? Oh surely not...)

    First, since you are looking for a slang word, you really do need to specify AE, BE or some other regional variety because the regional variations can be huge.

    Also, are you sure you mean a pejorative term and not simply an offensive or non-politically correct one?
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning. Simply because sailors do not dislike women or purposely wish to denigrate them, does not mean the word is not insulting or pejorative. In many instances, sexist people do not think that they are being mean and belittling; they think their behaviour is appropriate or even charming and cute-the worst kind of sexism by the way.

    I, for one, would not appreciate being referred to as a "skirt".
    Quite probably the "skirts" whom the sailors are seeking, and who welcome the attention of the sailors (and I do not mean sex-workers) are unlikely to be offended.

    On the other hand, the members of the Wymym's Collective at the local Liberal Arts College - who have no interest in dating the sailors, and who have not consulted the "skirts" - may well be vicariously offended on behalf of the "skirts". The Wymyn's Collective would however not care one whit whether any terms they used were offensive to a sailor.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top