I'm all about language, but sometimes language isn't alll about me. Sometimes it can be tricky and sets me off on a weird track. Language is fragile and words hold multiple meanings, intentional or not.
For instance, "girls" versus "women". Girl: adolescence, Woman: mature, adult.
For instance, Girl: negative, Woman: positive
For instance, Girl: fetishsized , Woman: forgotten, unwanted
For instance, Girl: reclaimed, Woman: abandoned
For instance, Girl: reclaimed, Woman: reclaimed
What bothers me most about language is that language is controlled by people, those people being apart of the hegemony. The people who have morphed the language of "girls" and "women" have transformed them into words that combat each other. They have transformed them into words that combat the beauty of both "girlhood" and "womanhood". These words now have negative connotations. These words are now against one another. Girl and Woman cannot be the opposite of one another because they consist of the same spirit, the same individual. Girl and Woman need to work together to make life better for them both, they need to support each other so that patriarchy cannot taint them.
Why do the words "boy" and "man" still yield respect? Oh, just apart of the "old boy's club" or, "that's what a MAN would do". I'm not suggesting that language/people haven't soiled the definitions of the "male"-gender but, alas, there isn't as much of a battle raging for those who wish to reclaim them. What is wrong with society-controlled-language is that language makes "girls" and "women" uncomfortable to call themselves a "girl" or a "woman"...and that is wrong.
What bothers me about society is how much hatred and disgust comes from calling oneself a "girl". I was proud to be a girl, just as I am proud to be a woman. I find nothing juvenile in calling myself a girl. I do not believe it minimizes my personhood. I do not believe it makes myself sparkly, ruffly and surrounded by cupcakes, either. Just like the birth of the riot grrrl scene, the birth of my girlhood was harbouring something rebellious, energetic, feisty and powerful.
I also believe that calling oneself a girl should make one more proud of calling oneself a woman. Do not abandon womanhood just like we shouldn't abandon girlhood. We never stop learning or growing and we should pride our ability to become someone as wonderfully apart of this earth as a woman is.
Do not underestimate girls/grrls/gurlz. Underestimating something that has been, for so long, the brunt of our jokes, our dislike, etc, will only rise stronger and more capable of proving oneself to the world.
GIrls are strong because girls become women and women are fierce and mighty.