She Said, Z Said: It’s a Brave New World for Girl Talk These Days
Woman's movement takes on a whole new meaning as gender power takes a different aim
She: I have girl’s night this week, and ...
Z: Don’t you mean, “women’s night?”
She: No, it’s girl’s night. Nobody calls it women’s night. Sometimes there’s ladies night, but that’s usually at bars and strip clubs. I don’t go to a lot of ladies nights. It’s definitely girl’s night for me.
Z: Now I’m confused. Back in college, I was trained that all girls are women. You couldn’t call a woman a girl, because that would be disrespectful. And you’d get a knee to the crotch.
She: That was a long time ago. I wonder if they still care about that on campuses?
Z: I doubt it. Girls ... er, women ... uh, chicks rule on campus now. Looking at the latest figures from the entire UC System, females make up a little more than 53 percent of the undergraduate population.
She: Does that mean that women are 53 percent smarter than men? Sweet!
Z: Sure. Other than in anything that has to do with using percentages.
She: I saw somewhere else that women make up a total of 57 percent of all undergraduate populations.
Z: Which means that they probably don’t care what you call them, and that I went to college 25 years too early.
She: Possibly. Though I don’t think the girls, er, women, at my school ever cared much about being called women vs. girls. We were more worried about parking spaces and hangover cures.
Z: At my college, females were outnumbered 3-to-2, so words had more power. And no one drove.
She: Plus, girl power is a big thing now. I don’t think the word has a negative connotation any more.
Z: I believe it’s spelled grrl.
She: There are plenty of girly girls who are powerful and embrace fun, girly things. Like Katy Perry with her candy-laden outfits and props.
Z: Or Lady Gaga and her meat dress. Nothing says girl like meat dress.
She: That’s not quite the same thing, but sure.
Z: Or Madonna and her uber pointed bras. Nothing says girl like pointy bras.
She: Again, not quite what I meant.
Z: Nothing says girl like not quite what I meant.
She: Young girls embrace really girly things — like wearing makeup, pink sparkly clothes and high heels — as a way of experimenting with being women. But they don’t think they actually are women.
Z: All of which makes me very happy that we have a boy.
She: There’s even a new animated Disney movie out, Brave, where rather than waiting for the prince to rescue her, the princess takes off and rescues herself. Of course, that’s been happening in the real world forever, but now that’s it’s happened in a Disney world you know it’s gone mainstream.
Z: So Disney declaring that women can be heroes means that labels like “girls” and “women” have become obsolete?
She: I don’t know about obsolete, but I think it’s less about labels now and more about action and reality.
Z: And meat dresses.
She: The other thing I think has changed with the times is that there’s no longer this whole notion of good girls versus bad girls. Girls — or women, if you prefer — are more free to make their own decisions about their behavior with much less worry about being labeled “fast” or “loose.”
Z: That’s awesome. And it sounds like I really did go to college 25 years too early.
She: That doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to learn.
Z: Yes, dear.