Dr J really believes anyone can be the girl in this world, as long as the audience is ready for it.
For her, this is a sensible view. In her mid-30s, still looking fantastic, she knows that to be the girl she has to find people who are the right age, the right temprament. Twenty-somethings don’t see her as a girl anymore, but fifty-somethings almost always do. She’s far from the only woman who has to adjust to the changing view of how people see her, a change that reflects the changing of who she is; now older, more mature, less fertile, less subceptable. She adjusts in the ways we all have to, polishing the performance and finding new audiences.
But for people who never were smiled at because they were pretty, or cute, or adorable, or darling, or precious, or sexy hot smoldering, or any of the other things people value in girls, it’s not a matter of shifting tactics a bit to reclaim that girlhood, it is a matter of starting from scratch.
Flipping channels, I saw a snippet on Disney Channel where a young teen girl flirts with a young teen boy safety monitor to get out of an offense, and as she turns on the charm, he blushes and stammers. Trust me, I never once had that effect on anyone. I never learned how to work it in the first place.
I know that women’s ways of taking power feel more “natural” to me, more in harmony with my own persona. I know that I care about language in a way that feels feminine to me, the symbols of clothes & story, the nuance of tone & timbre, the flashing of eyes and the tensing of muscle as ways to communicate feelings that are not clinically explicit, but are messy, ambiguous and potent.
I know how to be the beast of burden, but I also know how to do the girl part, processing feelings and offering language. Heck, one friend even suggests I have strained relationships with my sister because I challenge her view as dutiful daughter.
To feel empowered making the choices of girl, the choices you believe will make people smile at you because they see you as pretty, or cute, or adorable, or darling, or precious, or sexy hot smoldering, or any of the other things people value in girls, well, that’s a challenge, still.
But I know all those things are in here.