Stephen Michell read a list that categorized all females into neatly organized boxes of girls vs. women… so he came up with a list of his own.
I read this article, 10 Signs You’re Dating a Woman, Not a Girl, which claims to define ten obvious distinctions between girls and women, and right away it bothered me. The simplicity, perhaps, or the presumed veracity, just made me shake my head.
Then I saw that people were agreeing. I read the article to my mom and sister for their thoughts, and they found it amusing, somewhat accurate, but also somewhat wrong. The signs were too simple, and sometimes even rather cruel.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I couldn’t help but view each sign as a separate mark of a boy trying to put girls and women into boxes. So I looked at each one, and tried to break it apart:
1. You think girls dress in revealing clothing because they think it makes them look sexy, while women simply know they are sexy.
Okay, women and girls sometimes dress in revealing clothing because it does make them feel sexy. Why? [insert an entire essay on the subject] Because sexuality, and ‘sexiness’ and ‘image’ are very complex issues in western culture. Not very many people definitively know that they are sexy, but they can recognize when they feel sexy, and it has to do with confidence, experience, and maturity, but it also has a lot to do with image. Knowing, or thinking, you are sexy comes from being told you are sexy, first by others and then by one’s self. Unfortunately, clothing plays a key role in this struggle with image, regardless of maturity.
2. You think girls expect men to know how they think and feel, while women use their words.
Both women and girls will use their words when they need to, albeit to differing degrees of intensity. And everyone, from time to time, would like it if others knew how they thought and felt, especially a spouse or someone close to you. Why? It’s a true sign of an intimate, deeper relationship and connection. Women might expect it less, because they know its rare, but they still believe in the idea of it. If you ever hear someone say, “He just gets me,” they’re referring to this.
3. You think girls expect men to pay the tab, while women are financially independent.
Actually, men think women expect men to pay the tab. Why? It’s complicated. One aspect, however, has to do with a man’s image and his display of masculinity, towards which paying the bill is believed to be a simple, easy, expected step. Men think women will say, “Oh, he’s taking care of me.” Really, women and girls would be perfectly fine paying the bill, if only men would relax and realize that there are better ways to articulate masculine affection than a display of wealth.
4. You think girls go out and get wasted, while women know how to drink responsibly.
Lots of girls get drunk. Others drink only a little bit. Some never drink alcohol at all. Some women drink martinis. Others love wine. Some women and girls are alcoholics. Drinking is a capricious activity, and an addictive drug, and a huge problem in our society. The issue of its use and abuse is far more complex than a sign of distinction between girls and women.
5. You think girls can’t wait to update their Facebook status to ‘in a relationship’, while women forget they have a Facebook account.
First, no one can wait to update their Facebook status, if they have exciting news. It’s 2014. At least girls are honest about it. Second, women still have a Facebook account, even if they’re not always on it. Third, get over it.
6. You think girls watch junk T.V., while women read.
Okay, stop right there. Just because a girl doesn’t like the same T.V. show as you, doesn’t mean what she likes is junk. There is a wide variety of television shows, some arguably more interesting than others. And, yes, reading is good. But there is also a ton of junk books and magazines and newspaper articles, if not more than T.V. The real discernment should not be what the person watches or reads, but how they watch it and read it. I bet many of the young girls who watch the popular ‘junk’ T.V. are actually quite critical, thoughtful young women, maybe even recognizing the problems with the images and messages they’re being shown.
7. You think girls talk about trivial matters, while women know how to hold a stimulating conversation.
Two things. Either you need to open your mind up to new and broader topics so as to alleviate your apparent boredom. Or you need to practice and learn how to engage in a real conversation with someone in order to move past trivial matters and find out who they are. Just because they can’t speak intellectually about Syria, doesn’t mean they’re boring. There are literary over a billion very interesting and stimulating girls and women on this earth, if you actually talk to them and listen.
8. You think girls eat salad, while women eat whatever the hell they want.
No. Eating is not that simple. Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult, buying healthy groceries can be expensive, and creating a healthy regimen takes time. People eat salads because they’re healthy and delicious. Women and girls eat what they please, but women have the experiential insight to know that a Big Mac costs a little something more than $3.50. So if you’re dating a girl and she keeps ordering salad in front of you—because she thinks men like that—maybe use your words and talk to her about it.
9. You think girls stick to what they know, while women are always searching to widen their horizons.
Lots of girls are searching to broaden their horizons, sometimes with guidance, sometimes alone. That’s how they become women. And maybe their parents, peers, educators, and employers tell them to stick to what they know, that life will be easier. But there are a lot of girls and women who are seekers, and pushers, and movers, and shakers.
10. You think girls need guardians, while women don’t need anyone but themselves.
Children need guardians. Women and girls (and men and boys) need friends and family, their moms and their dads, more friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, more new friends, nieces, nephews, babies of their own, grandparents, and, if their lucky, more new friends. Why? It is the other people in our lives that help discover and maintain who we are. I am only me because I am not you. If I lived alone on a deserted island my name would be Not Rock. And so I need you in order to constantly create and improve me. Being a self-defined, self-sufficient individual is great, but it means little if we forsake other people, who need us as equally as we need them.
11. You think it’s a simple matter to distinguish between girls and women.
Seldom are issues simple when concerning the development of people among people within a changeable, multifarious culture. Rather than invent truths, we would do better to explicate the complications and ask insightful questions.