GMB row erupts as guests clash over use of term ‘birds’

GMB guests debate calling women ‘birds’

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Good Morning Britain presenters Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway invited Sadia Azmat and Ellie Phillips on to debate the issue and both took different stances. A row soon erupted as Sadia accused Ellie of being “angry with men”.

Reading out a comment from a viewer, Ben narrated: “It’s a Scouse thing, up here in the north we’re saying, ‘I’m out with my bird tonight,’ we love it.”

Presenter and showbiz journalist Ellie replied: “Yeah, is used widely in Liverpool and it’s not meant to be offensive.

“That’s the point is that it’s not a malicious term, but the underlying tones speak to other problems and that’s where the real issue is.”

Comedian and author Sadia argued: “But there’s no tone underlying it at all, the tone is affectionate!”

“Affectionate?” Ellie asked, clearly disagreeing with her fellow guest.

“Yeah, none of those tones were like aggressive or mean or predatory,” Sadia added.

“But there were some words that people used widely and argued they’re meant with affection, that now we’re very clear are connected to things that have underlying tones that we don’t want,” Kate pointed out.

“Maybe what your argument is, is that there is a process here, and the process is a kind of education.”

“I think sometimes we just get… between the males and females I think we make it complicated,” Sadia went on.

“And every case is different and while somebody might have been through or had a bad experience with the word bird, we all can’t carry it.

“Like, other people might really want to be called bird and really like it.”

“There was a poll back in 2016,” Ben chimed in. “It was a good few years ago, and bird topped the list of pet names that women want to see banished from everyday use.

“So I was quite surprised when we’re watching Love Island now in 2023 that the young lads on are now using what I thought was quite an old-fashioned term.”

“Yeah, I think terms ebb and flow and they come in and out of usage,” Ellie responded. “I think it’s a bit cringe… Like, it’s 2023 – call us women call us ladies, you know?”

“A lot of women don’t like being called women,” Sadia remarked.

“A lot of women don’t like being called ladies, either,” Kate stated.

“We can’t over analyse everything, like what you just said about your linguistics degree – it’s really exciting, but most of us haven’t had that,” the comedian added.

“So your in-depth knowledge is not something that we’re kind of on board with necessarily and so no one’s trying to cause the offence that you’ve taken.”

“Yeah, I understand that,” Elie agreed. “Like I said, I don’t think anyone says it maliciously. It’s used in Liverpool all the time, but it’s just understanding that there’s actually more to it than just these simplistic terms.”

Later, Ben pointed out that some women refer to their friends as birds.

“I think that’s reclaiming it though, isn’t it?” Ellie suggested, but Sadia quickly fumed: “It’s not reclaiming it.”

As Ellie argued it was, Sadia cut in to say: “No, there is no friction…”

“It is! If I choose to call myself that or my friends -” Ellie began but was once again cut off.

“We’re not all angry with men, we’re not all angry with men…” Sadia remarked.

“I’m not angry with men!” laughed Ellie. “I just don’t want to be called bird!”

“But just because you don’t doesn’t mean everyone else has to go with what you prefer,” Sadia pressed.

Ellie replied: “No, but I do think the majority of women would say…” before Sadia yelled: “No!”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.

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