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Why does this happen?

(41 Posts)
wisewoman Sun 20-Jan-13 14:35:06

I put this on another thread where it really didn't belong and no none responded to it (irrelevant to the thread). Does anyone else wonder why we say "wee man" when talking about boys but never "wee woman" when talking about girls? Just wondered as around my part of Scotland people talk about "the wee man" all the time. confused

Ana Sun 20-Jan-13 14:37:16

I must admit I've never thought about that before, wisewoman. Even south of the border some people refer to a boy as a 'little man', but I've not heard a female equivalent...confused

Movedalot Sun 20-Jan-13 14:38:18

And 'Big Man'?

absent Sun 20-Jan-13 14:38:46

But you do say the wee girl. Wee women happen at the other end of life as they shrink with the years.

Butty Sun 20-Jan-13 14:38:47

What about "the wee lassie" or "wee lass" ?

Ana Sun 20-Jan-13 14:39:50

But to me, Butty, a lass implies a girl, not a woman, so it wouldn't be the same (IYSWIM)

Butty Sun 20-Jan-13 14:42:40

Oh! I thought it was about boys and girls, Ana, but I do see what you mean. smile

wisewoman Sun 20-Jan-13 14:44:16

Thanks for replying "ana". The use of language is so interesting when discussing gender. Twenty years ago I used to get irritated when the women I worked with were called "the girls in the office" even when near retirement age. Maybe the subtext is that girls don't ever grow up but boy will grow into men? Maybe I am just thinking too much!!! That Womens Studies course in the eighties had a lot to answer for.

absent Sun 20-Jan-13 15:00:42

wisewoman It still happens. Sports commentators still often talk about the men's team and the girls' team.

Ariadne Sun 20-Jan-13 15:02:53

DH is a Scot and has been known to use the phrase "wee wifie". Not very often, though grin. He learns quickly..

Anne58 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:03:03

I saw some graffiti once that said "Boys will be boys, but girls will be women"

Grannyknot Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:24

Not related to gender, but ... actually in a way it is, because I've not heard this said about a woman! Why do people always say "a massive heart attack". My husband had one 5 years ago, but it was clearly not massive because he survived. So did he have a little heart attack?

annodomini Sun 20-Jan-13 15:11:16

Ariadne, I had thought of that one too but it's not normally used to refer to little girls. A man might refer to his 'wee wifie' affectionately or patronisingly but not referring to his daughter.

glammanana Sun 20-Jan-13 15:12:09

My DSs and DGSs have always been known as "the boys" but DD and DGD have have never been known as "the girls" there are a number of names they could be called but I am too polite to put on here.
My friend from Newcastle always calls me "man woman" when we are in conversation which is typical of the area and I find endearing.

Grannyknot Sun 20-Jan-13 15:14:47

South Africans say 'man' all the time no matter who they are talking to as in "Geez, it's hot today, man!" Or "Come on, man, let's go to the beach".

Bags Sun 20-Jan-13 15:19:41

We talk about wee lassies here, or wee girruls (trying to write girls with a Scottish accent phonically!).

Bags Sun 20-Jan-13 15:25:12

I think lassie can mean young woman. Once when I was cycling through Edinburgh in winter and at night (so I was well wrapped up) someone shouted as I waited at a junction: "Are you a lassie or a laddy?" I didn't answer but in fact I was a woman in my late twenties and a mother of two.

Are grown mean ever called Wee Man? I should think they'd dislike it as much as women probably dislike terms like Little Woman.

DH referred to Kate Middleton as "poor lass" when he heard about her pregnancy sickness. Perhaps it's used in Wales.

grrrranny Sun 20-Jan-13 15:25:54

Like the wee girrul in the Lidl or Aldi ad who said 'but we don't like shepherds'. She was great.

janeainsworth Sun 20-Jan-13 16:03:52

Ana 'lass' is certainly applied to women of all ages here in the Northeast and 'posh lass' is a derogatory term for anyone who cannot boast good working class credentials. Only joking everyone!
Similarly 'young man' is used as a greeting to any male person, but especially old men in an affectionate way.
I am sure glass, gillybob or any of the other genuine Geordies will correct me if I have got this wrong.

janeainsworth Sun 20-Jan-13 16:06:37

An unusual use of 'wife' in the NE is to mean any grown woman eg
'Did you see a man doctor last time you came to th clinic'
'No, it was a wife.'

gracesmum Sun 20-Jan-13 16:08:11

Little man and little lady? (for a tiny)
Wee man and wee lass?
Young man and young lady/woman? (any age)

These sound OK to me

annodomini Sun 20-Jan-13 16:15:53

As in 'fishwife', jane. In Anglo Saxon, 'wif' is an adult female whether married or not. Also 'wifmann' which eventually evolved into woman.

wisewoman Sun 20-Jan-13 16:20:53

Gracesmum I haven't ever heard anyone call a wee girl a little lady but I hear boys referred to as "the wee man" regularly. Again maybe that is just in my part of the world in central Scotland.

mrshat Sun 20-Jan-13 16:22:44

My daughters were always 'the girls' (still are sometimes!) and now my granddaughters are also 'the girls or more often 'the girlies' - I did not have any sons nor do I have grandsons (yet!?) grin

Ana Sun 20-Jan-13 16:25:48

There's nothing wrong with any of those names, gracesmum, it's just that 'wee man' or 'little man' seems fairly common all over the country, whereas you don't often hear baby girls or toddlers referred to as 'little ladies' - except when they're dressed up in their finest, I suppose!