G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Noah Millman mentions the show “Girls” and touches on the infantilization of males and females:
We started with the title of the show: when did it become okay again, the oldest among us wondered (his mind ranging back to the 1970s when it became not-okay) to call women girls? To which the universal response was: it’s okay again not because suddenly it’s okay to infantilize women relative to men, but because it’s not okay to call anybody a grownup. We’re all “guys” and “girls” now – there are no “men” and “women” except when the relationship has an exclusively formal dimension (“there’s this woman I work with” is correct, but “there’s this woman I’m seeing” feels somewhat less likely) or when you intend a particular commendation, often, but not exclusively, of a sexual nature (“now that is a woman“).
Lacking a clear way to separate the boys from the men (perhaps military service previously served that function), we call people guys-boys/men and girls/women based upon an intuition. We just go with what feels right, and the age at which people generally break over into the men/women camp is creeping northward.
Responsibility turns guys and girls into men and women, but as a society we’ve successfully staved off responsibility. College helps kick the can. The show “Girls” is about a 24 year-old whose parents are pulling her financial safety net out from under her. Allowing children to remain on health insurance roles until the age of 26 helps put an age to this dependency as well.
Perhaps Louis C.K. said it best when he discussed the differences between girls and women.
“To me you’re not a woman until you’ve had a couple of kids and your life is in the toilet…When you become a woman is when people come out of your vagina and step on your dreams.”