Girl Talk

It’s Blog Against Sexism Day and we count among those who regularly blog about the topic (and look forward to the articles from people who generally don’t address it).

A transwoman friend of Debbie’s, who prefers to remain nameless because she’s talking about her workplace, wrote something very apropos (not because it’s Blog Against Sexism Day but because she lives a Fight Against Sexism life). Here she is in her own words:

“Personally, I have a huge bugaboo about people using the word ‘girl’ to describe female co-workers. I feel that I get annoying trotting out my standard script.

“‘Is she twelve?’
“‘The girl you were talking about. Is she twelve?’
“‘No. She’s about around our age.’
“‘Ohhhhh! She’s a woman!’

“Except, yesterday, one of my co-workers was lamenting the sad state of some code we left a client location: ‘they don’t even have any source code control,’ he said. ‘This one girl keeps the latest source code on a USB key.’ … I knew that saying anything would change the conversation from a conspiratorial shared complaint to an uncomfortable lecture. And I said nothing.

“And I regret it, now. But I’m sitting here, thinking, ‘What was it about that moment that encouraged me to quash a well-practiced response?’ I believe that inequities of privilege and power sustain themselves in those moments. One of the things that I value about feminism is the willingness to analyze the structure of power — the social apparatus that feeds it and allows it to exist. A lot of people see that as endless complaining about things that can’t be changed. “

There’s so much here that deserves attention.

First, the constant battling, in the same repetitious battles. Laurie does it too. It takes a lot out of you. And it’s so much easier to feel the repetition and the aggravation than it is to see the changes–but the changes are there, and the constant battling is one way we create and reinforce them.

Second, the moments when we decide not to take arms, because we know that doing so will break a mood or shatter a bond, and sometimes that’s okay..

And finally, the real reason we wanted to reprint this: We both also value feminism’s willingness to analyze the structure of power. We might say insistence on analyzing the structure of power. “The master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house,” as Audre Lorde said … but we damned well better understand how the master’s house is built and what holds it up, if we’re going to dismantle it.”

And over time, in offices, and grocery stores, and doctor’s offices, in the streets and in the halls of power, we will continue the dismantling.

<br /> feminism<br /> sexism<br /> <a href="" rel="tag nofollow" class="broken_link">Body Impolitic</a><br />

One thought on “Girl Talk

  1. Thank you for this. I was just starting to wonder if “girl” was just the accepted way of saying it in the part of the country I’m now in and that maybe I was being “regionalist.”

    I feel strengthened in my resolve to continue to raise consciousness on the girl/woman issue.

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