Friday, February 10, 2012

What is girly or womanly??????

     Ever notice how some females are more girly and some are more womanly. I remember being a counselor at a summer camp and my co camp leader told me I was different than all of the other female counselors. He told me I acted and looked like a woman. I was very puzzled by this comment. I know that he meant it as a compliment. I was 26 at the time. So over the years I have thought about this and have come to know what he means. Some females are forever girls and some become women. I think both are an okay way to be. I am wondering though what and when was my transition.
I know some females look very girly even as elderly women. My mother is this way. the doctors call her a "girl" . She wears hair barrettes and piles on the perfume and wears clothing that reminds me of short sets matching tops and bottoms. When she sits she swings her feet if they don't touch the floor. NO it is not dementia.. She doesn't laugh she giggles.
I never giggle I have a loud laugh. I never wear barrettes or hairbands. I have my hairdo intact most of the time so I don't need to hold anything in place or out of my face. I don't wear perfume unless I am going on a husband date. My clothes are separates but not out of matching fabric. I never swing my feet and I don't like sitting with my feet dangling. I don't read romance novels I prefer adventure or mystery or biographies. Is this what makes me more womanly? I am not necessarily more or less serious than my girly mother.
Maybe it was the clothing I didn't wear when I was in my mid 20's. I didn't wear a bikini to that camp. I thought a counselor should be more modest than the campers. I was the only one wearing a one piece. I didn't wear low cut tops like the other counselors. I didn't wear sports jerseys as nightgowns either. Did that make me more womanly.?
When I finally asked that guy many years later about his comment he laughed and said it was because I was more confident that the other female counselors. He feels confidence equates with womanly and lack of confidence reads 'girly'. I don't know if I agree but what do you think? What constitutes girly or womanly?


  1. I kind of have a horror of being called girly. And I cringe when women over the age of thirty call themselves girls. I will not ever attend a girls night out or hang out with the girls. I'm probably just a product of my time (and my feminist mother) but, for me, to say someone is a girl is to say she is a child. Not powerful, not sophisticated, not self-possesed, certainly not someone who can take care of herself. So I guess that means that I agree with your councilor friend that it might be about confidence. 'Youthfulness' for me is something different from girlishness,and I think that might be more about clothing and appearance. I'd like to be perceived as youthful but never girly. Maybe the adult women I know who use the word girl to describe themselves are "taking it back"? As far as I'm concerned they can keep it. I'm happy to be a woman.

  2. But I still do feel a bit of a pang when sales clerks call me "mam" now instead of "miss" so perhaps I'm not as pro-woman as I'd like to believe.

  3. I also prefer woman to girl. I have some really highly educated friends that still refer to themselves as girls. I have a problem with that as I feel a woman is more sophisticated. I hope that I am sophisticated at 57 and no longer a "girl".