Google’s definition of Girl Power: a term of empowerment, expressed a cultural phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s (decade).
The phrase is older than me.
But I’ve started to notice that despite woman crush Wednesday, Lena Dunham and spice girls lyrics, we don’t really have a lot of this so called girl power anymore; we are celebrating, idolising and empowering women more than ever but we’re not truly supporting and accepting them. Sometimes it feels like we’re screening HeForShe when we haven’t shown the SheForShe prequel. And this has very swiftly forced me to conclude that we hate women.
Now Teamales you may be looking over at your lesbian lover/best friend/I heart Tess Daly mug thinking BUT JESS I DON’T HATE WOMEN! And this of course is an understandable reaction, we don’t purposely dislike our own tribe, but we neglect them on a regular basis. For example, when was the last time you described yourself as a girly girl?
BUT JESS you cry out again (warning: you do may do lots of crying out during this post so have the strepsils at the ready) I’M GENUINELY NOT A GIRLY GIRL and I would agree because for me the answer to that question is also never. In fact last year someone described me as a ‘girly girl’ and I was offended- insulted that they saw me as a stereotype that I knew I didn’t slot into. I haven’t painted my nails since my Uncle’s wedding in 2006 and still think Jimmy Choo is where they’re holding the next Olympics, I’m not a ‘girly girl’. And there’s a high chance that you’re thinking the same thing.
So let’s do a quick social experiment, ask the nearest person- I’m not picky but preferably one with a vagina- and ask them if they’re a girly girl and then wait as they respond with a denial just like I did last year because they ‘don’t like pink’ or ‘play rugby’ or don’t speak English and therefore understand the question. If this does happen just smile politely at the foreign language student you’ve just pestered and point them in the direction of a Debenhams tearoom.
But you get the point, as women we are constantly disassociating from being women and why? I DON’T KNOW WHY I DO IT you scream in horror I DIDN’T EVEN REALISE I WAS but it’s not directly your fault teamales because we live in a society where our stereotype is looked down on for being ditzy vain needy demanding skinny and understandably none of us want to be linked to that. We live in a generation where ‘you’re not like other girls’ is a compliment but being a ‘girly girl’ makes your eyes roll off your face and into the MAC makeup store to knock over the display of lipstick that you never wear. Ultimately, we have created a stereotype that none of us fit into. If none of us women identify as girly girls then what IS a girly girl? Why does our gender maintain so many clichés if so many are now outdated? Surely our stereotype should reflect the majority of the population not the cast of Wild Child.
As babies we are dressed in pink, given dolls to play with, cupcakes to ice, a stethoscope necklace because women are still seen as the carers, the homemakers (in fact Google specifies women in its definition for ‘homemaker’) however as we grow up in this next wave of feminism and reject those roles, we also seem to be reject everything surrounding typically feminine symbols in fear that they’ll cause us to be reattached to this housewifey ‘girly’ role. Which is ironic as there’s nothing more complimentary to a man than to be ‘manly’- who remembers when we compared magazine covers and saw all those empowering ‘Bake like a Man’ headlines- but a womanly woman? No, she’s an airhead.
There’s no change on the playground either, the kids have already got a grasp of this inferior female concept when they tease each other for throwing like a girl or crying like a girl, until girls don’t want to be girls anymore because they don’t want to be the weak ones. My Dad always says to me ‘oh don’t be such a girl!’ and I believe now is the time to reclaim that concept.
Because what IS a girl and what makes her any less kick ass than you? Why does throwing like a girl equate to bridal Barbie sporadically flinging her wedding bouquet instead of shotput star Jessica Ennis? These issues are addressed in Alway’s ongoing #LikeAGirl campaign as it questions so many of the unfair stereotypes young girls are still facing today- some of these girls are still in the single figure section for birthdays, yet they’re already being made to feel inadequate simply because of their gender.
Who wants to renovate the girly girl? This is your line: I DO JESS I DOOOOO! We have to turn a girl’s connotation into a good thing so that in years to come #LikeAGirl will be the tag for Match.com’s latest promotional campaign. We have to start describing ourselves as girly girls and stretch the container that that label lives in, reinventing people’s views about our inferior gender. I am proud to be a girly girl. And you should be too.
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