fair sex

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the fair(er) sex

Females. The term has come to be considered inappropriate due to its emphasis on the physical appearance of women and girls. Did he just say, "members of the fairer sex"? I feel like I'm in a Victorian novel. Senator, if you think it is up to legislators to shield the fair sex, as you say, from shocking or troubling matters, then I'm afraid you're living in the wrong century.
See also: sex
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fair sex

Girls or women, as in Many women would object to being called the fair sex nowadays. This euphemism uses fair in the sense of "physically beautiful" and is probably dying out. [Mid-1600s]
See also: fair, sex
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fair sex, the

Females in general. This cliché, which is rapidly dying out, is a direct translation of the French le beau sexe, a phrase popularized by the English journalists Joseph Addison and Richard Steele (“That sex which is therefore called fair,” The Spectator, 1712). It was already a cliché by the time Arthur Conan Doyle (The Second Stain, 1905) put it in Sherlock Holmes’s mouth: “Now Watson, the fair sex is your department.”
See also: fair
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
"They have always claimed that young women were the fair sex and could not bear the sight of blood.
The charismatic Colombian, so beloved by the fair sex, hasn't recovered from that phone-in disqualification at Kapalua first time out, since when he's made only one cut.
Presumably the fair sex turn their noses up at such things.
life the fair sex will retaliate the dark sex will retaliate a fair
Its success was phenomenal, and not only among the "fair sex." Conversations introduced the public to the excitement of chemistry, cruising through at least sixteen editions in England and an equal number in America.
1937: "Men are better drivers than women as far as being able to react in dangerous situations is concerned, lending credence to the prevalent male opinion that the fair sex has little business being on the highways.
Fuller nicely follows that with the soul ballad "Great Lady Golfer," strongly arguing her case for the fair sex in a game dominated by men.
An especially rich source for that piercing has been The Fair Sex: White Women and Racial Patriarchy in the Early American Republic (2001), by Pauline Schloesser.
Elsewhere from the people in white coats comes the news that looking after young children can shorten a woman's life - which, bearing in mind the whole world has been born of, and looked after by a woman at some stage, is bad news for the fair sex whether they are intent on colonising the UK or not.
Dogood pokes fun at the hypocrisy (dishonesty) of men and the "Sort of Pride" that leads women to wear (7)-- and hoop skirts: "If a Number of [the skirts] were well mounted on Noddles Island, they would look more like Engines of War for (8)-- the Town, than Ornaments of the Fair Sex."
Some topics are fairly predictable: a case in point is political resistance in the form of female involvement in Jacobite risings (in Maggie Craig's "the Fair Sex Turns Ugly ...").
Holmes, however, also had this to say about the fair sex, "The motives of women are so inscrutable....
Despite their apparent lack of reverence for beards and an irritating `devotion of the young fair sex to uniforms', Effendi believed that the English, with their Protestant and therefore (as he saw it) tolerant and enlightened views, could act as a moderating, beneficial influence, both for the Christian faith in Syria and for his country as a whole.
Fair Sex, Savage Dream: Race, Psychoanalysis, and Sexual Difference.
As many as 60 women attend "Ladies' Night," and there is even a vanilla-flavored cigar available that has been especially designed for the fair sex.