Why I won’t call the women I love ‘girls’…
BY MARTINA HUGHES
Away on holiday with my Mum – I am 44 and she’s 61. Everywhere we go – shops, markets and cafes everyone says “how’s your day girls?” or “can I help you girls?”
I find myself wondering who they are talking to before realising it’s us. In my world girls are less than 20 years of age.
I was 30 when I came to tantra and was referred to as a woman in a positive way. It took some getting used to, after so many years of pride in being a girl. I had heard woman being used in a derogatory way throughout my earlier life but not in a way that included respect of womanhood.
As I was growing into myself I quickly discovered I enjoy being a woman. There’s a fullness to the term and an acknowledgment of maturity, wisdom and years traveled on the planet. It includes light, dark, mystery, joy, passion, power, depth, emotional range and everything that being a woman encompasses.
When I look around I see many woman of varying ages attached to being girls. Women who are proud to be called girls and yet I find myself shrinking inside when it happens. Why?
I feel diminished. I feel disconnected.
In this society that values youth so highly women are not embracing maturity. I love being a woman of 44 who has travelled some interesting and curious chapters in life. I enjoy that I have embodied significant wisdom and I know there’s more to come.
I feel other women preen when acknowledged as a girl. I feel it’s related to youth obsession. Baby boomers are the most prolific for wanting to be “one of the girls” and it seems future generations are following suit. Girls play, flirt, and have fun. But surely, we are more than that?
I quizzed women at our Blossoming Woman retreat about using the term girls. Most women are okay with using it in reference to catching up with friends. There seemed to be an association with light heartedness and fun. “Girls night out.” “Having fun with the girls.”
Some women are okay if other women use it but not okay if men refer to them as girls. My feeling is this creates more confusion. I want to treat myself and other women in a way that is congruent with how I want men to treat me. If I refer to my friends as “the girls” but my partner is not allowed to use the term, it’s hypocritical.
My perspective is that the term woman needs to be reclaimed. Woman as a healthy expression of our wholeness. Not just the “woman get over here” or “women belong in the kitchen” kind of reference.
I am proud to call myself a woman as it includes the parts of me that are deep, loving, open and receptive, side by side with the parts of me that have journeyed deeply through a maze to maturity within. And it also includes the me that is fun and playful.
In the career space women are still trying to be like men, so leave their feminine selves at home. Which leaves two acceptable roles for expression of femininity – girls or mothers. But there are so many more possibilities to our feminine expression.
There’s fierce, wild and passionate woman; woman who roars and stands up for truth; tender, loving and compassionate woman; woman who loves deeply and wholeheartedly; sexy and sensual woman who moves from her core and oozes with every breath; woman who celebrates and plays with life; and so, so many more flavours.
What’s it costing us to be over-identified as girls? There’s a lack of acknowledgement of the depth and power of our full feminine selves. It’s playing to some feminine characteristics at the expense of others. It leads to women either being girls, mothers or men.
Part of our disconnect and struggle relates to the lack of full feminine nourishment being available within our own beautiful, luscious bodies. We need to own our power of expression as women so that we stop using external sources to fill us.
So I won’t be calling women in my life girls as I want to celebrate the full expression of every woman.