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Frasier Balzov

(3,007 posts)
Fri May 3, 2024, 03:46 PM May 3

Is "gal Friday" still a socially acceptable term for an assistant?

I never read Robinson Crusoe.

But isn't the character of Friday an indigenous person encountered by the castaway who becomes a devoted servant?

So in the context of a modern female assistant, the reference seems quite tainted with a white and male supremacist worldview.

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Ping Tung

(986 posts)
2. I am an ocotgenarian white man who's never used the term.
Fri May 3, 2024, 03:52 PM
May 3

Even when it was commonly used and "acceptable" I thought it sounded degrading.


(2,083 posts)
6. Wouldn't expect you or anyone here to have
Fri May 3, 2024, 04:00 PM
May 3

It is degrading. Only times I've heard it used were by men who hang on to their other degrading terms that they should have evolved beyond. The men who also toss the notepad to the woman in the room and tell her to take notes.


(9,468 posts)
9. If I'd every used that term with my administrative assistant,
Fri May 3, 2024, 04:37 PM
May 3

after I stopped the bleeding, I’d never get any more administers assisted.


(6,725 posts)
10. I say he should say it . Then we can count how many times his head bounces.
Fri May 3, 2024, 04:40 PM
May 3

And cheer for her, the woman who runs everything.

Yes I know, it's brutal.


(27,176 posts)
12. My paper used to have ads. This was in the 70's when I was job hunting.
Fri May 3, 2024, 05:28 PM
May 3

"What's a girl Friday?"

Answer: "Well, ummm..You can do better than that. You're going to college" I never got a clear answer. It sounded like fun to a teenager. But I think that's why they used the term...


(35,700 posts)
17. It started as "my man Friday."
Fri May 3, 2024, 06:36 PM
May 3

"Gal Friday" cropped up later. It's the grandkid.

Some said it was sexist--"man" versus "gal." The daughter term (yeah, it's two-way gendered) was "girl Friday." That was deemed sexist and "gal Friday" was better. By then standards, but things have gotten worse so we expect more of people.

(BTW, "man Friday" goes back way before the 1950s.)

On edit: Because some want to be believed "on trust" while disbelieving "on principle"--life's asymmetric like that--here's a link.


(27,176 posts)
19. 1940 - His Girl Friday - Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. She's his crazy assistant.
Fri May 3, 2024, 10:12 PM
May 3

Great acting. Don't remember the plot, but it's funny and the acting is great.


(5,340 posts)
14. In the book, Robinson Crusoe rescued Friday from cannibals who were
Fri May 3, 2024, 05:57 PM
May 3

having a 'feast' on the beach of the island, and were about to devour him. In his gratitude for being saved, and in the custom of his tribe, Friday dedicates his life to serving Crusoe.

Jedi Guy

(3,308 posts)
15. I prefer "secret weapon". I use that term for my right-hand people, the ones I rely on to do things right. N/T
Fri May 3, 2024, 05:59 PM
May 3


(47,814 posts)
16. 1950 called and wants its jargon back.
Fri May 3, 2024, 06:08 PM
May 3

Seriously though, I’ve been working in office settings for a couple of decades, and I’ve observed modern men don’t usually complain about being called guys, but modern women don’t respond well to being called gals. Unless you’re the boss. And you’re a hundred. Like I said, 1950 called…


(23,811 posts)
20. I don't think so.
Fri May 3, 2024, 10:14 PM
May 3

I have heard an older man say “girl Friday”, and it is quite generally cringe inducing in my opinion. Tied to gender based concepts of what type of labor should be done by whom.

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