This post, or at least thoughts for this post, or on this topic, have been kicking around in my head for years, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to writing them down. Part of it is the time thing yes, and then the topic itself. Do I want to go There? What else can be said, that hasn’t already? And, really, are we STILL having to talk about this in 2015?! Twenty-fricken-fifteen people. Seriously.
Which I suppose it part of what nudged me. As well as seeing this comic and article the other day about Lego’s attempt to appeal to girls. Yes, I played with Lego as a kid, not to the extent WCN does, but I did. (I know it’s hard to believe there was Lego way back then before dirt, but there was. Although my recollection of it was as a more generic building set toy. Nowadays it seems very geared towards kits, where the box holds parts to build a particular thing. Not, of course, that you can’t build other things, but it is a different focus. But I digress.)
Anyway, so yes, the “pink it and shrink it” (and charge 2x or more as much) for “women’s” is one of my pet peeves. And not just because the usual pastel pink they choose is one of the most unfortunate colors. (Although I’m not sure which is chicken and which is egg – would I dislike pastel pink as much if it weren’t the one I’m “supposed” to like and has been stereotyped as the girly girl color?)
But I digress. Again. Can you see why I’ve had difficulties with this post? There’s so many avenues for digression. Or am I just avoiding the point? Which is:
THAT g word
Mr. Webster, please… (OK, not THE dictionary, but Webster’s II New College, 1999, a little better than the pocket dictionary left from the previous home owner)
girl 1. A female child, where then child is 1. A person between birth and puberty
So why do I hear women being referred to as girls? Women who are CEOs or other high level executives in companies. Women who have families of their own. People who yes, are female, and are after birth, but are also after puberty. People who, if they were male, would not be referred to as boys.
OK, there is some grey area, like anything, there are some people who age wise aren’t technically but for other reasons seem like “girls”. And, as I get older, I suppose the age range kinda creeps up (really? you’re old enough to be in college????), and there isn’t really an equivalent to “guys” which can cover that stage between young boys and men. Gals? Do people in California really say that?
Which, yes, there’s that component, of not wanting to age or not supposed to age. Not grow up into a real, actual person.
I’m sure there are other reasons as well. What might they be?
Then I hear some of you saying, “but women use that word, to other women.” Sure, but it’s usually in a positive, encouraging sense. The one that comes to mind (and I’ve probably even said myself) – “you go girl!” So, much as I hate it, there may be a bit of a double standard depending on the speaker and situation.
I’m the first to admit I don’t have THE SOLUTION, and I don’t want to be the Word Police. I don’t think words are inherently bad, and just telling people to not use a particular word doesn’t help the situation. Just using a different word doesn’t mean you’ve had any change in your thought process or how you relate to the world and interact with people. To paraphrase Robert Hughes from an article about political correctness, you can dress up five men in Armani suits – they’ll all look good, but that doesn’t mean that any of them have any taste.
Urgh, re-reading this and even after taking out a couple other digressions and loosely related things it still seems a bit scattered. One of the reasons I write is to make sense of things, to sort things out, to clarify. Maybe the point of this one is that some topics that isn’t necessarily possible on. That you can be conflicted about something like this, where some times the use of the word girl makes me uncomfortable, but it’s not necessarily black and white.
At the end of the day it’s these grey areas that we inhabit, as the imperfect humans that we are. So maybe the thing is figuring out how to navigate the discomfort, while keeping the humanity.