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Archive for October 5th, 2010

A friend recently asked me a question I could not answer. It was Saturday mid morning and we were lounging about in my living room, reading the paper and getting toasts crumbs everywhere.

N tackled into the conversation with ‘Something’s been confusing me. Last night, during a conversation with a friend I mentioned I wasn’t a ‘girly girl’. He replied that no, I wasn’t but that I was very ‘feminine’. Surely this is the same thing?’

I replied that I didn’t think it at all the same, no.

‘What’s the difference then?’

Hmmm.

Is  being ‘feminine’ is something you are while the term ‘girly-girl’ refers more to the portrayal of a form of femininity. Perhaps it involves a process of reflection feedback – I depict myself a certain way so that I’m treated by society a certain way, which in turn reinforces this image? Maybe?

I wasn’t at all sure what I meant. I’m still not sure.

What is the general definition of a ‘girly-girl’, people? Does it include a penchant for pink and a deep abiding love for ‘Hello Kitty’ or is it more subtle, more complex than that? Is there a difference between feminine and being a ‘girly-girl’? Does one carry negative connotations? Should it carry negative connotations? Does the expression even have a certain degree of derogatory affection, an indulgence whilst belittling for some – ‘ah ya, she’s a complete girly-girl, alright’ while an aspirational image for others? As a 32-year old I don’t particularly welcome being called a ‘girly-girl’; I’m a woman, an adult. That said I’ve used it myself in describing people I like and admire.

Should we even be using expressions like this to describe any individual? Is describing someone as a ‘girly girl’ a lazy way of pigeon-holing women that women and men use too often or is it just a vague, harmless cliché?

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