“I’m glad I didn’t have daughters. I wouldn’t know what to do with them.”
My ears perked up in the checkout line at Giant Eagle.
“I mean, I was never girly. I was a star athlete. I met my first boyfriend when I was 28 and he asked me to marry him 10 days later,” The woman in line in front of me continued, “I lived on a farm, but I wasn’t going to give the milk away for free if you know what I mean.”
I glanced at the woman behind me who was also witnessing this tirade. She gave me a wink that let me know I was warranted in my distaste.
The conversation shifted again to the horrific burden some humans bear when they give birth to female humans.
“Well, I guess if I had a girl, she would wear overalls and blue jeans.”
Then came the worst part:
“I’d cut the girl right out of her.”
She spoke the word “girl” like a dirty curse word. Like an affliction that some people are born with and can’t escape. Her phrase made me think of female genital mutilation. I was disgusted.
This woman saw all girls as a flourish of frivolity and ditzyness. The only way for a girl to be useful in her eyes is for that girl to act as much like a boy as possible.
This woman even felt lesser than man in her own eyes. When she noted that yes, she was of that dreaded gender, she turned to her hubris defense mechanism and listed her accomplishments in male-dominated fields like sports.
How can the word “girl” retain a negative connotation when girls like Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban and went on to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism in women’s education, live in this world?
I don’t understand it. I am proud as hell to be a girl.