3/4/20 (Female)

I’ve been adventuring in the Hawick Word Book. It’s (currently) a 3,408 page epic encyclopaedia of Hawick and its unique dialect. It’s written by Douglas Scott, and updated very frequently. It’s free to view here, and it’s a veritable treasure trove. Thanks to the team at the Heritage Hub in Hawick for telling me about it.

I’m using it for casual browsing for now, and impulsively searching words just to see what’s in there. First things first:

Female n. mildly derogatory term for a woman.

This actually makes me feel a little relieved, because I do, really I do, feel vaguely offended when someone describes a woman as a ‘female’, or refers to me as a ‘female’. I mean, I do identify as female; but that doesn’t cut away from a slight feeling of uncomfortableness about being called that. I guess it’s a micro-aggression? I don’t want to anger anyone by accusing them of committing micro-aggressions…

Saying that, here’s this great video from ITV Border with Lana Skeldon, where she’s talking about her career, and girls and women in rugby. She uses the term ‘female’ in a wonderfully positive way.

The narrative around “Female” is changing, thankfully, by women like Lana, and women not like Lana, everywhere. I wonder if I should get in touch with Douglas and let him know that perpetuating the idea of female as something like an insult is unhelpful? I also wonder if I should wait until I no longer feel a faint pang of objection when someone uses the word at me.
It might take a while.

I wonder if there’s a Hawick woman who could offer a definition of the word as part of Hawick’s language today?

There’s no entry for Male in the Hawick Word Book. I wonder what the Hawick definition of that word would be.

Lana grew up in Hawick and now plays rugby for Scotland. Read about her on the Scottish Rugby website here.