fair sex, the

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
While the patriarchs in the party were squirming in discomfort over the prospects of facing fresh challenge from the fair sex, the women leaders have already started weighing their respective chances.
But when it comes to the fair sex, the late Geraldine Guest-Smith's record of six rounds looks likely to be surpassed soon.