I recently saw, probably on Facebook, a remark about the word, “girlie” and what it says about society’s view of girls and women. The stigma that attaches to a “girlie” male is terrible. There’s no parallel for women. There is no “boyie.” Tomboys are often thought charming.
(Of course, lots of things are changing and even “dyke” has become an honorific in some parts of society.)
The word “girlie” keeps boys from training for the ballet. They have to practice throwing balls until they get it right—there’s nothing worse than a kid whose throw is girlie. The description keeps boys from needlework of any kind. (I’m not forgetting Rosey Grier, the wonderful NFL football player who did needlepoint and even wrote a book about it (“Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men”). But Rosie was just an anomaly. He wasn’t girlie. Rosie’s status as ballplayer overshadowed any quirky habits he had. Ask kids you know about boys who embroider!
If the pressure on men to be appropriately masculine at all times has hurt and even destroyed some of them, what has it done to girls and women? How despised we must be to make men doubt themselves so when they’re compared to us.
Just a few thoughts as I ponder Lily Plunkett, my elderly lesbian detective and her growing up.