Discussion: Girls vs. Women
Sep 23, 2011
Earlier this week, a commenter on another post mentioned an article in The Washington Post by Hank Stuever dissecting the Fall 2011 television schedule. Stuever remarked that while more “women write and produce and star in more TV than ever” the characters being shown on many shows are “bunnies, baby dolls and broads — and bridezillas and bimbos.” This led Stuever to query: “What the f**k happened to women?”
This led me to a slightly different question–one I’ve been pondering for awhile–when does a person stop being a girl and start being a woman?
Is it age? Is there some invisible line of demarcation? And if so, is it 21? 25? 30?
Is it sexual? Do you become a woman when you hit puberty? Lose your virginity? Get married? Have a baby? These are the traditional metrics that have been used for millennia by cultures around the world.
Is becoming a woman as simple as biology or is it something more complex, a measure of your maturity, your level of responsibility, your behavior? If so, I know some 30-year-olds who are still girls and some 17-year-olds who are women.
It’s certainly difficult to define what makes you a woman and not a girl. Personally, as I was writing this post, I developed more questions than answers, which is why it’s so short.
I don’t think it’s as easy as blowing out the candles on your birthday cake or buying a wedding license, though that’s part of it. I also think most of the traditional, sexual definitions are terribly antiquated. And at the end of the day, maybe there’s not one metric that works for everyone. Perhaps, it’s too individual to define.
Maybe the simpler question is, at what age is it insulting to call a female person a girl? I’m still referred to as a girl at 29, even though I know that’s probably not quite correct. And it really doesn’t bother me either way, maybe because I’m still coming to grips with the change in status.
So what do you ladies think? Are you a girl or are you a woman and what qualifies you for your title? Also, at what age does it become faux pas to call a female person a girl?