Tell Me About “Hey Girl,” My Friends

I’ve reached out to the PMag readership once before for advice on tights, and it was good stuff. I am yet again asking for counsel, and this time it’s about the greeting, “Hey, girl.”

My almost 10-year-old daughter was at the skatepark and as she walked by, she was greeted casually by a slightly older boy who said, “Hey, girl.” As a non-native English speaker who still gets thrown on slang sometimes, she was nonplussed, as was I when I tried to figure out what exactly that meant.

This may seem that I’m overthinking, but here’s where I’m at: Is this something I should be concerned about as a feminist? I wouldn’t want someone to refer to me as “woman.” Is there a flirtatious or sexual implication? My daughter didn’t pick up on one. Is it harmless cheeseball?

The first thing that came to mind was the whole Ryan Gosling thing, but that clearly didn’t apply.

Ryan Gosling, dream meme boyfriend. (Source: Boombeat)
Ryan Gosling, dream meme boyfriend. (Source: Boomsbeat)

I did a search at Urban Dictionary, which I tend to avoid because it saddens, and sometimes traumatizes, me. Also, the answers are just plain old wrong a lot of the time.

Here’s the leading definition:

A rude way to get a girl’s attention when you don’t know her name.
Used by girls and boys.

Girl 1: Hey girl! What’s the homework?
Girl 2: Well…I have a name.
Girl 1: Ah whatever, I’ll ask someone else. HEY GIRL OVER THERE!
Girl 2: -_____-

So thanks for nothing, Urban Dictionary.

So tell me, PMag sages, what’s the story on this greeting? Is it appropriate for children? Does it depend on who’s saying it, or how it’s said?

Published by

Profile photo of Moretta


Moretta is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist. Her Twitter is

One thought on “Tell Me About “Hey Girl,” My Friends”

  1. Hmm. My first gut blurb is that it’s okay. He didn’t say it in a “psssht look here” predator tone or any stupid baby voice? I must say I’m quite influenced by Ryan Gosling in this, but if your daughter felt like she could have replied “that’s correct, I’m a girl” without feeling threatened or offended, I think the boyo can walk away scot-free.

Leave a Reply