Can you be a girl if you’re a woman?

I'm the little girl at the bottom, middle of the picture.

Over the last 40 years there has been an interesting and highly challenging landscape women have been negotiating in the area of identity, rights, equality, marriage, relationships, motherhood–oh, gee, I guess I have to stop the list somewhere, but you get my drift.

I am a Gen X’er so I am nicely sandwiched between being painted with flowers by people wasted on acid in Stanley Park in the 70’s in a free-loving world to my current reality of being a single wage earner for my family, playing both Mom and Dad in a world where nothing, absolutely nothing, is free. It’s an interesting place to be in, with a hangover from the wild hope of 70’s feminism to the actuality of progress in my everyday life.

What I’m saying is that I’ve been carrying my groceries a long time.

And sitting firmly in the driver’s seat of my life which wasn’t the life my mother envisioned for me. She wanted me to be a nice Catholic girl, go to university, and find a good husband. Did we all just choke a little on that last wish? It wasn’t her fault, that was what ‘good girls’ did. Since I clearly misstepped on the good part, I’ve harboured a little disdain for the word ‘girl’ that isn’t referring to someone under 10 years old ever since.

In my mother’s era, ‘husbands’ were clearly defined. Husbands actually carried your groceries for you! And did all the driving. And went to work and paid your bills and in exchange you did the laundry, wiped snot off noses, and had a hot lovely meal waiting at the end of the day.

I suppose I am wondering though, in our righteous climb to equality, have we eschewed some of the benefits traditional roles can offer in our relationships?

I’m not sure, but I’m here to tell you that yes, you can do it all, maybe not doing it all well, but you can, from the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed, steer your own boat, compromise your happiness with no one, demand a great career, be a great parent, and have a fuckload of acquaintances.

What they don’t include in this super woman to do list is the permission to be a girl ever again.

Don’t get me wrong–I love and adore my powerful women friends but I’d like us to be able to put the balance sheet down, unplug our blackberry’s and just be entirely female without judgement that we’re letting ourselves or anyone else down.

When Gloria Steinhem got married she not only shocked the world, she shocked herself. But she reasoned, she was 66 and knew who she was and was certain that she wasn’t compromising herself by doing so. But what I love is what she says about the seeming dychotomy of her being a feminist and being married and that was that “feminism is about the ability to choose what’s right at each time of our lives.” (Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95874&page=1)

Feminism is about the ability to choose–choose our roles and how we want to live them, single, married, parenting or not, women today have the ability to create the world in which they want to live in–hopefully it includes the ability to welcome and cherish men in the mix.

So please, don’t hate me if you see I’m wearing a bow, I’m getting my girl on.

2 Comments

Filed under Relationships

2 responses to “Can you be a girl if you’re a woman?

  1. Monica

    This is a great conversation in terms of how women who are choosing to honor our little girl inside–it is a liberating and spiritual experience, for men as well. Maybe, especially for men.

    • Inside My Burqa

      Inside my burqa
      Hot thick thoughts of

      What my nakedness would look like

      Pale as a blossom
      Transparent and fleeting as sand.

      Inside my burqa
      Thoughts of my self

      Without restraint
      Billowing like cumuli

      Over the horizon.

      Inside my burqa
      My heart exposed

      all secrets
      all sorrows.

      Copyright Margaret Doyle 2009

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