Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mature Enough for Girlhood

Jezebel is discussing the phenomenon of extra-girly famous women, with a tone that suggests worry.  Megan Reynolds has responded.  It is kind of true that women are embracing a lot of things that fit girls better than they do women - like glitter, unicorns, and cute kitties.  I can identify with this a little, since I just turned thirty and have only recently been confident enough to really consider experimenting with my own style.  I never learned to put on makeup until I was 25.  Going with silly fashion trends takes a certain amount of confidence.  Teenage and younger girls are usually giant balls of insecurity, so I don't know why we're looking to them for bold silliness.

As a teen, I was influenced by the swing revival of the 90s and dressed sort of conservatively.  To this day, I dress far older than my age.  My skirts are almost always full, swingy, and knee-length.  It was when I was about 22 that I finally realized that little tiny pigtails are the ideal way to pull back short hair for a workout (You can lay down on a yoga mat without having a big bump in the back of your head), and at the time I felt a bit too old for the look, but I've continued doing it since then.  It seems pretty unfair that once I get to a point where I feel like I can try some stuff with fashion, I'm "too old" for it.

Another dimension is that most of the women in the Jezebel piece are very financially stable, They probably have the sense that they worked their childhoods away so they could achieve that, and they are owed some latitude to play that they never got as children.  In fact, I have that feeling myself.  If I worked my way into a career that isn't going to happen now, I get to wear that sparkling cloisonne strawberry necklace.


Christina said...

I kind of hate the anti-childfree narrative in that Jezebel piece:
- "she would rather rally girlfriends to see The Hunger Games than the more peer-group-appropriate What to Expect When You're Expecting."
- "A "woman-child" is the type to prioritize her female friendships as if she were in a high school clique by posting pictures of her girls' birthday dinners or boozy vacations on Facebook while her peers post wedding and baby pictures with similar zeal."
- ""Women-children" certainly seem to be enjoying themselves more than their peers who struggle with the motherhood/career conundrum."
- "The raunchy standup comic Sarah Silverman, 41 without any kids, ..."
- "it's never been easier, more fun or more acceptable to remain locked in the warm, comfy embrace of childhood. It sure beats figuring out how to afford a nanny."

If being childfree and enjoying colour and art makes me less than fully grown up despite taking care of myself and contributing to the world around me through paid and unpaid work, then I'm pretty happy to put off this other, more proper version of adulthood. It doesn't sound like much to which to aspire.

Sara Anderson said...

Christina, I agree that the article was awfully square, and relied too much on the idea that grown women want to have children and husbands. It's a false measure of maturity that I feel sort of weird talking about because I almost fit into her hold of womanhood, what with being married and looking at having kids soon. Basically, my thesis is that youth is wasted on the young.