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In America...

Being a "woman" is about being respected but used to be used to refer, in part, to the fact that you were less than a man.

To be a "Lady" used to be about respect; there were the Lords and Ladies of the lands (there still are, but for us americans they may as well be figments of our imagination). Now, it is an insult and refers, in part, to the fact that you are less than a man.

To be a "chick" is to be fuckable. It's about the body, not the mind. Sometimes used in ways that imply a lack of respect, and sometimes used just to refer to a woman who is youthful, feminine (butch girls don't tend to be reffered to as chicks nearly as often), and sexually attractive. Men can say "chick" but only men who have shown their respect and appreciation for women can do it without it being insulting.

moJoe: Talk to your female friends... In my experience the majority of women under 30 do not find Lady to be a compliment, although I agree it should be. It should also be farly obvious that I am describing the common American, ok the Americanisn't obvious, usage and interpretation, not the actual meanings.

Woman is a gender specific adjective or noun. It has nothing to do with being any less than or any more than a man.

Lady is a gender specific adjective or noun and a term of respect.

Chick is a gender specific adjective or noun, which is informal and conveys youth or impartiality.

However, all of these words are contextually dependent. Anyone can say I love you and make it sound like I hate you. If you actually believe that the name of your gender is inherently oppressive you are in all likelihood suffering from acute paranoia.

P.S.: I see nothing wrong with being "fuckable". I have sexual thoughts about women, live with it. Using sex as a weapon or a swear word is a sin against yourself, nature and humanity. Sex is what we make it; why not make it beautiful and fun as it can be and dare I even say; should be.

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