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How did you react to the “#girlblog” title?
Maybe you smiled. Or maybe you thought, “Who is she calling a ‘girl’ … and why?” Or maybe you shrugged and moved on. Your response may well depend on your age. And your familiarity with TikTok.
We’ve seen a wave of #girl the past few months. Girl dinners, random food from the fridge, eaten alone, possibly standing over the sink. Hot girl walks, taken without a companion and without regard to how the walker looks. Even girl rotting, which seems to mean lying around your room doing nothing for hours on end.
Young women have shared images of their girl moments on social media. Eating, walking, or lounging, what they have in common the absence of male participation. Thus #girl.
For many of us, “girl” has long felt insulting or patronizing. As full-grown adult women, we want to be seen as equals to our male counterparts, not children to be patted on the head and indulged. Or dismissed.
This was a huge issue back when I was a relatively rare woman in a radio newsroom. I was (perhaps overly😉) passionate in standing my ground against “girl.” Ditto for “chick.” And don’t get me started on that FBI agent who called the newsroom demanding to speak to “one of the guys.” He wasn’t going trifle with the “girl” who just answered the phone.
There’s another whole way of looking at “girl,” though.
At the New York Times, Anna Marks suggests all this girl play, pink dresses, and the Barbie movie offer a return to that sense of exhilaration from childhood. It’s a way to celebrate the freedom from society’s expectations.
Well. As a Gen Z’er, she clearly had a different childhood than I did. “Our lives then were wide open,” she writes. “We thought that we could become anything.”
I don’t know about you, but I thought I could become a teacher. Or a nurse. Or if I ever had a shape other than round, maybe a stewardess. Imagine growing up in a time when you really believed you could become anything! No wonder young women are harkening back to girlhood and wanting more of it.
Sadly, perhaps, there’s no turning back the hands of time. We can’t really escape the world that exists today. All of us, all grown up. Facing the world as it really is, with some hard work still to do if we want more freedom from society’s expectations, demands, and constraints.
In the end, as much as young women might enjoy those girl walks and girl dinners, Marks suggests we should also be thinking about how to “create a world that means that we don’t need any sort of escape. And all you need to be is the woman that you are.”
I’m all in for being the women we are.
Also, for using language that reflects the women we are. The whole girl dinner, girl walk trend left me cold. And don’t get me started on Girlboss! That sounds patronizing to me, even if it does have an actual Wikipedia page. (“Girlboss is a neologism which denotes a woman ‘whose success is defined in opposition to the masculine business world in which she swims upstream’.”
Forget about being defined in opposition to anything. I’d just as soon be a boss. Period.
And I’m curious how you feel about all this. Even if you’re not a girl, but a boy.