A friend of mine posted a video today. I recommend watching it all the way through, though I admit, it took me a couple false starts before I could get through it. I had a little rage issue going on.
So, the conversation that ensued in the exploding comments section on her wall, was over whether the word “girl,” really needs to be abandoned completely, in the workplace or out. Interestingly, it was the men in the audience who said that it was a bad word, and the women who were fighting to keep it.
Now, I went to a women’s college, which we indeed objected to being called a “girls’ school,” because it made it sound like we were going to Miss Porter’s and were studying to get our “M.R.S.” degrees. Despite this, many, if not all, of us individually proudly called ourselves “girls,” and our school’s unofficial slogan was “There ain’t no bitch, like a Bryn Mawr bitch,” while we proudly wore t-shirts emblazoned with the luxury car logo, and the phrase “B(ryn) M(awr) W(oman): the Ultimate Striving Machine.”
E.B. White wrote an essay about us once, the famous passage which we all memorize being, “I have known many graduates of Bryn Mawr. They are all of the same mold. They have all accepted the same bright challenge: something is lost that has not been found, something’s at stake that has not been won, something is started that has not been finished, something is dimly felt that has not been fully realized. They carry the distinguishing mark – the mark that separates them from other educated and superior women: the incredible vigor, the subtlety of mind, the warmth of spirit, the aspiration, the fidelity to past and to present. As they grow in years, they grow in light. As their minds and hearts expand, their deeds become more formidable, their connections more significant, their husbands more startled and delighted. I once held a live hummingbird in my hand. I once married a Bryn Mawr girl. To a large extent they are twin experiences. Sometimes I feel as though I were a diver who had ventured a little beyond the limits of safe travel under the sea and had entered the strange zone where one is said to enjoy the rapture of the deep.” — E.B. White
Do you really get the impression that White thought being a “girl” was somehow demeaning? No! Hell, I want to be that girl. She sounds amazing, something to aspire to. And why can’t we be girls and women at the same time? E.B. White certainly didn’t see a problem with it.
In social media, my persona is “Girl Archaeologist” and in real life my favorite t-shirt reads, “My marxist feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.” I freely admit to being a feminist. I see nothing wrong with it. I am a feminist because it has never once occurred to me in my life to think that I couldn’t do something because of my gender or sex or sexual orientation, and I abhor the thought that others might labour under that misapprehension about themselves.
All my life I’ve worked in comic book stores, video game companies, union technical theater crews, and professional archaeology crews – all situations where I was lucky if the male:female ratio was better than 8:1, and I have never once altered my behavior or my language for the sake of my male colleague’s sensibilities, but then again, I’ve also been told that I just acted like one of the “guys,” whatever the hell that means. If they had treated me differently for being a girl, because of some perceived mental or emotional deficiency, I probably would have socked somebody, but if someone offered to carry the extra heavy piece of truss during a stage breakdown or take a pickaxe to a particularly stubborn excavation unit I saw no problem with that (I’m not an idiot, they’re bigger than I am!), as long as I still got to drive the truck. Which I did, because I was a better a driver than any of them.
So, yes, I AM a girl. I like being a girl. I’m also a woman. And I’m a feminist. And I’m a bitch. Those are MY words, and you can’t have them, so what are YOU going to do about it?