Take a look around you—words are everywhere! On TV and the radio, in magazines and newspapers, online, at school, in the mall, even at sporting events. Many people are trying to give us information, and they’re using words to do it. Of course, that seems fairly obvious; how else would someone try to tell you something, right? But have you ever stopped to think about why people choose certain words? Have you ever wondered why they might have picked those specific words to communicate their messages?
Consider, for example, the multiple words that refer to someone of the female sex: “lady,” “babe,” “chick,” “girl,” “woman,” “broad,” even “bitch.” Although these words can describe a girl or woman, we don’t always use them interchangeably. Plus, some girls and women take offense if they’re called some of those words; others may not care. What do you think of when you hear each of these words? Chances are our answers will differ among us. The flexibility of language is both a blessing and a curse—a blessing because flexibility means we’re constantly finding new ways to use words, but a curse because two people can use different definitions of a word and not even realize it until a conversation has taken a misunderstood turn for the worse.
Or, think about it this way: how frustrating is it when you can’t say exactly what you mean? When you want to say one thing but end up saying another? Or when someone misunderstands you? It’s kind of like getting to school and realizing your outfit doesn’t look the way you thought it did at home. You had a look you were going for that morning, but somewhere between leaving the house and second period, things changed. And now you’re sending an entirely different message. It’s the same with word choice.
As you discover how complicated—and fascinating—language can be, we think you’ll come around to Girl Power Words. But don’t just take our word for it…start exploring!