One of the things about society's general perception about women that repeatedly disturbs me is how a fair number of women somehow tend not to like to be called exactly what they are - women.
In any conversation throughout the day, it is nearly a betting success that anybody will address a particular grown female as either a 'girl', or if way too mature to fit that assumably accurate description, then be entitled 'lady'. This has been going on for generations that it just becomes so natural to assign such designations, Terms that even when by loose logic (let's not even bother to ventured into the point of technicality) would actually fail.
Refer to the definition of 'girl', and realise that a female fully grown as an adult will possess traits that an immature female lacks. Conversely, a grown female will lose certain properties that would otherwise lead others to classify her a child. The reason for the existence of these two differentiating terms are extremely clear. Yet many still continue to mix them up synonymously and failing to realise that by labelling a woman as a girl, they are implicitly suggesting the subject of their talk does not qualify for the respect of a peer adult. An adult who can think, comprehend, relate, make decisions way better than that of a developing person. And rightfully suggested in dictionary.com's usage note - as the terming of boy vs man has significant differences, girl vs woman has the same amount.
I probably cannot illustrate this better than a friend back in the polytechnic days who saw an incredibly attractive female school mate and breathlessly went, "That's not a girl..... that's a WOMAN!"
There is without a doubt the ascension to the category of Woman imbues a great degree of quality that is sexy, beautiful, attractive. Nope I do not mean just the bodily curves; that is just a portion of a bigger formula.
Moving to the other far end of the spectrum, it would seem any woman by virtue of their feminity is instantly deserving of the title 'lady'. When looking up what it means to be a lady, I get the impression a lady is one who has made her mark on the surrounding people with her high-quality morals and lifestyle practices. One who draws the adoration of the masses by her elegance, the beauty of her ways. A lady is classified by the way she acts, and not by a categorisation of gender.
This is perhaps most clear in the time when my friend was reading the newspapers and condeming the kidnapping and abusing acts of a 'lady'. Hmmmm, based on all that was described, I found absolutely zero evidence that would move me to regard such a woman as a lady. My correction towards my friend was swift, "that does not sound like what a lady would do....."
Like not all men are gentlemen, not all women are ladies. Only an elite few behave with enough majesty and righteousness to be truly deserving of such titles. They have done their bit to earn the respect.
I will not call you a girl, for you have my respect and expectation due to an adult.
I will not freely call you a lady, for you need to work to receive my salute.