Why is it that people use girl as an insult? “You throw like a girl,” “Stop being such a girl,” “Quit acting like a girl,” these are just a few examples. There are very many variations of “girl as insult” out there. Why do we as a society condone this bizarreness!? When is the last time you heard someone say, “Don’t be such a boy” as an insult!? When is the last time you heard boy/man/gentleman/male being used to insult anyone!? Can’t remember, huh!? Maybe it’s because those words are typically used to denote positive attributes. We all know what phrases like “You’re the man,” and “Man up” mean. A girl accomplishes something and suddenly it’s “You’re the man Jane!” Whatever happened to “Congratulations!” or “Great job!”? Do they not suffice? Do they not aptly capture the moment and sentiments that follow?
I really do think the fact that girl is considered/used as an insult by some sections of society plays a part in the way girls/women/females/ladies are treated and viewed by those very sections. We have basically been reduced to insults to be thrown around without much thought. It’s dehumanizing and results in women being treated as objects.
Every time someone hits me with “Don’t be such a girl,” or words to that effect, I always reply with “I.AM.A.GIRL,” and then serve them a generous portion of the side-eye. If I am not feeling particularly generous, I tell them to go jump off a cliff, and then walk away. When I have the time and energy, I recommend books they should read to rid them of their foolishness.
We need to stop this craziness though. It might be hard to change the minds of much older folk but it is not too late for the younger ones. I am not in any way saying that we should condone such behavior from people who are older. If they throw a variation of one of the “girl insults” at you, calmly and politely tell them that you were not born to fulfill their warped beliefs. For the younger people…just change your ways…recognize that girl is not your insult…as a matter of fact it is simply NOT AN INSULT. For those with young children, please don’t impart “girl as an insult” on them. If your baby boy isn’t particularly good at kicking a soccer ball, don’t tell him “You kick like a girl/Stop kicking like a girl.” Find other ways to improve his game. Don’t tell your daughters “Don’t be such a girl,” either.
Being a girl is not a negative thing. Believe that.