Little Girl

Dear Little Girl, just old enough to drink:

I saw the way you looked at me last night. I saw the way you looked at a tired, middle aged woman. I saw the all of that, as you shoved your way past me, interrupting my conversation.

Little girl, I have worked hundred hour weeks, I have stood in a VPs office, holding my own because I believed in what I was saying. I have worked at 2 am, with a CEO staring over my shoulder, waiting for me to tell him what to do. I have planned a funeral. I have held friends while they sobbed. I have been married for 11 years. I have run a home. I have run volunteer organizations with million dollar budgets. I have made the call and taken the shit.

Little girl, you don’t know much yet. It’s a hard world out there. Maybe no one has turned your womanhood into a weapon – beaten you over the head with your own sexuality, and left you bleeding because estrogen runs through your veins.

Maybe that hasn’t happened to you. Maybe it never will.

But on the whole of it, I know this. I saw your outfit, I saw what you were trying to do there. I saw you look at me and consign me to old and frumpy.

I have kicked ass in three inch stilettos.  Later last night, I sat in the Concierge lounge, reading How to be a Woman, and killing myself laughing. The young staff member came over to ask what I was reading. Helpless with laughter, I passed over my iPad. She read the paragraph out loud.

She said the word vagina. She said it out loud. She didn’t blush and she didn’t stumble.

I looked at both of you, and I thought, why the hell am I fighting? I fight for not just for me. I fight for 19 year old you. I fight not just because I want the world to recognize me as a person first, but because I want women to make the same amount of money as men do, and they still don’t. I fight, most of my women friends fight because we think you should be in control of your vagina. We try to convince the rest of the world that you should succeed on the strength of your brains, and not your hem height. We think you should be treated as a human. So we keep talking about feminism and trying to get women elected and trying to figure out how to have more female CEOs.  We stand up and object when we see visible sexism.  I despair a little bit. I throw up in my mouth, when I see you trolling with your body and ignoring your brains.

And then another young woman says vagina. A word I wouldn’t have said at her age.

Maybe there’s hope after all.


Really, about the book? Go and read it. It’s astonishing.


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4 Responses to Little Girl

  1. MissingMolly says:

    I have a different reaction than you do when I see the outfits and the heels some young women wear (and at 19, she’s definitely a young woman, not a little girl). My response is more like, “Good for you!” I see a lack of shame there, a pride–and why should any woman feel like she has to cover up her beautiful body? Are women’s bodies dirty somehow? And you know, we CAN be sexual beings AND pursue intellectual and creative interests concurrently. We are multi-dimensional creatures.

    The other day, my mom spoke about how annoyed she was by a woman around her age who dressed somewhat “young” and acted like she was a teen. She noticed the bleach blond hair and the nails and (probably) the botox–and was a bit disgusted. My question is, WHY? Why would she even give a shit what this other woman CHOSE to do? Because isn’t that ultimately what it’s about? Making sure that women have unlimited opportunities and the freedom to choose?

    And then we as so-called “feminists” judge their choices, and judge harshly. I’m not going to let a man tell me How to Be a Woman. And I’m not going to let another woman define that for me, either.

  2. Kristin says:

    Rock on sister!

  3. Catherine W says:

    Bwah ha ha ha! I did like that book, it made me laugh my head off. I’ve always had a soft spot for Caitlin Moran (although a part of that book did inspire a rant on my blog not that long ago!)

    Hmm I know that look. I’ve given that look and now, in my turn, I receive it. But I’ve had my day. I don’t mind being frumpy, slightly tubby and middle aged. I earned it and I can take the contempt of the young. It’s a hard world, you’re not entitled to any of the very many things that you might assume that you are.
    But not many people know that at the start, you don’t know that your body will desert you, time erodes that soon enough and all you are left with is yourself and what you chose to spend your time here doing.

  4. loribeth says:

    I get what Molly is saying, but I also get your point of view, Mrs. Spit. I’ve seen those girls too (in my own office, some of them), and had similar thoughts.

    When you’re a teenager or in your 20s or even your 30s, you never think you’re going to get old & wear jeans in a size higher than 10, and develop wrinkles & age spots & creaky knees. And guess what? It happens.

    There’s a great line towards the end of Woody Allen’s new movie. Jesse Eisenberg’s character, a young guy who’s just watched his new romance disintegrate, says, “I guess with age comes wisdom.” To which Alec Baldwin replies, “With age comes exhaustion.” Now THAT’s wisdom, lol.

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