Is It Wrong that I Still Call Myself Girl?

Warning: rambling post ahead…..

I feel embarrassed when I refer to myself as ‘girl’ in online descriptions (and in my head). Gal seems more acceptable somehow. I am not sophisticated enough to be ‘lady’ or wise enough to be ‘woman’. In some ways I still feel as naive as a girl. I’m more comfortable referring to myself as Aunty than woman, if that is to convey my age.

I feel self conscious about it because I tend to be critical (in my head only) of women in their fifties who dress like teenagers. Even when my partner shows me something he wants to buy (that I think only younger guys wear), I tend to say that’s not age appropriate. So I’m falling into that trap as well.

But who made up these rules? Has it been drummed into us by beauty magazines which dictate what is acceptable and what is not. Magazines that bar your face and shame you or dressing a certain way? How did we come to these fashion perceptions. I think as long as someone looks good to most people then we shouldn’t have hang ups over so called rules. As long as they are comfortable. I think what people wear (other than for work or places with uppity dress codes) is a very personal thing and we should leave it to them to decide.

The fashion police annoys me a whole lot more than the grammar police. Which is why I loved how Sarah Jessica Parker dressed in Sex And the City. She just wore what worked for her and she looked beautiful. The fashion police be damned.

Previously it was thought that older women should not have long hair. But at least that notion has changed. Beautiful Meryl Streep and Glen Close come to mind. I hope that grey hair is considered beautiful one day, as I don’t colour mine, due to cost.

Why do we have to be certain way when we are an adult. We don’t have it all together. I actually feel like more of a mess now than I did then. I guess I have the luxury to be as I’m not a parent?

One good thing is we tolerate a lot less than our easy going twenty something selves, but the same dreamy kid in us still lives on. Even if you’re an aunt, a mum or grandma. I still like girlish things like pink and anything pretty. Which is why women got so hooked on Pinterest.

I guess the most comfortable term is female rather than woman, as I sometimes tell B, I need female company. But doesn’t it sounds a bit weird and clinical? I am a female in my fourties.

The word ‘girl’ indicates a sense of light heartedness, a capability to have fun, more than a definition of age. Or maybe I’m just immature.

Sorry that this was such a confusing post, written through another bout of insomnia.

What do you call yourself?

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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10 Responses to Is It Wrong that I Still Call Myself Girl?

  1. yikes, guilty as charged. I will never go out with men who call themselves “boys” and I will never go out with men wearing Abercrombie and Fitch stuff. These may seem like tiny gestures but these gestures represent how they view themselves, how they want to portray themselves to the world and what values they espouse. And I don’t want to be around people who worship youth and won’t grow up.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I don’t really worship youth (& can be quite judgemental myself when I see ‘aunties’ in low cut tank tops and tights or mini skirts) but still don’t feel confident enough to refer to myself as a lady/woman I guess. Lady connotes someone really elegant ala Audrey Hepburn and I don’t feel that way even though I wish I could.

      Just wish there was better terminology 😉 like ‘guy’ for instance. somehow ‘gal’ sounds like someone out of a 50’s Western. Somehow the word guy doesn’t seem to have age attached to it. Yeah just want an age neutral word but not clinical sounding?

      • ah, your reasoning makes sense. Your reason for calling yourself girl is because you’re humble but gay men call themselves “boys” because they worship youth.

        How about males and females for age-neutral term? Still too clinical?

        These days, I try to avoid gender terms like “man” “woman” “male” “female.” I just use “person” or “human.”

        • bookjunkie says:

          Oh yes, definitely I prefer gender neutral terms too 🙂

        • Crystal says:

          I don’t necessarily agree with your comments regarding gay men. I think that might be a personal preference? None of the gay men I know (and I’ve fairly active in the community back home and have been for over 10 years) worships youth. A hard body yes, but not youth. The hard body idealism goes back to the 80’s when AIDS was on a rampage–within the community it became very important to look “healthy” and the emphasis on body type became a thing.

          I’m curious where you’re getting the idealization of youth from.

  2. katrijn says:

    Somewhere I read: “present me is the same person as past me” and I think that’s very true. Probably most of us still think of ourselves as “girls”! After eighteen months, I still have a hard time thinking of myself as “mummy”.

    There’s definitely such a thing age appropriate wear and it works down as well as up – I’m not dressing my toddler in mini-skirts, tank tops or a bikini either! There’s just a tiny window in life for that (and I missed that window completely, due to short and squat legs). My mum dresses age appropriately – and she looks fantastic, with a full head of silver hair. She makes me look forward to turning fifty 🙂

    • bookjunkie says:

      Love that saying – encapsulates what I felt when I wrote that post. It was not so much about the word girl, but the feeling.

      I think silver hair looks amazing and even sophisticated. So true what you said. I never thought of it the other way round – like dressing for toddlers.

  3. mf says:

    I guess it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves but whether we behave (dress or speak etc) appropriately at each occasion…

    Btw, my grandmother had the most beautiful white hair. I’m hoping I’ll inherit that, among others, from her 🙂

  4. Crystal says:

    Ugh, terms.

    For me it’s all about context.

    If my friend said “let’s round up the girls and go shopping” I’d be fine with it.

    If my boss used girls for women but men for men, I’d be insulted. Or if girl was used in a patronizing tone of voice.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I feel the same way. There was a older boss in the office who used to call us “girl” instead of by our names and it was so sexist and rude I thought. But I wasn’t that upset as he did it to everyone and I was only about 21-22 years old then. Yeah words definitely take on a different connotation in different contexts.

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