I saw this image:

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This character is at least 20 years old and they refer to themselves as otome. Is this correct or can one be called that?

  • 2
    I'm just curious, but is using 'singular they' so common that it's used in a case like this (the character is by all standards she)?
    – sundowner
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:08
  • It is mostly like 女子 What is the difference between 女子 and 女の人? / 女子 vs 女の子 nuances
    – sundowner
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:09
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    @sundowner it's pretty normal. I wouldn't have thought about it if you hadn't mentioned it.
    – Leebo
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:17
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    @Leebo - The apparent mismatch in number between "this character" and "20 year olds" caught my eye more than the use of "they." Is it also normal? I didn't take that "they" as gender neutral because of the plural "olds."
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:35
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    @sundowner there is a wide range of usage nowadays. Traditionally, "they" only referred to an unknown hypothetical person; now it's commonly used to refer to a known person of unknown gender, or a person who claims a gender outside the traditional binary. Some people went further and started requesting others to refer to them with "they" despite a strong binary gender identification, in solidarity and/or to normalize de-emphasizing the gender of individuals. It's at the point where some younger speakers habitually don't use "he" or "she" etc. at all. Commented Feb 22 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


Like 女の子, it's pretty acceptable for women to call themselves this up to 30ish (though I would assume jokingly, as 乙女 sounds poetic). Here it sounds like she is stressing that she is a young, innocent girl by using 乙女 (like "How dare you burn an innocent girl's chest!").

  • 1
    'up to 30ish' Some people may be furious :)
    – sundowner
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:11
  • 1
    As a joke it works for any woman above certain age.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 22 at 23:44
  • @jimmy regarding this character does this say anything about this characters age as I assume they are 20? does it mean its wrong? is the context here meant to be a joke? Commented Feb 23 at 2:09
  • @ZainAlleck In this particular scene, I don't think there's any real joke here. Just chastising the other person (a man I assume) for burning a girl (her), which is not very gentleman-like. Localized, I might just translate the scene as "I got burned bad because of you!" "You burned the chest of a maiden! What the hell!"
    – Jimmy
    Commented Feb 23 at 7:58
  • @Jimmy I was wondering does this say anything about her age? I assume she's 20 but does the use of otome mean she is younger? Commented Feb 23 at 21:08

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