The first time I remember hearing "don't be such a girl" was
from my brother's friends on the school bus when they shot me in
the head, at point-blank range, with BB guns - and I, not
surprisingly, protested. The fact that I was a girl seemed to pass
them by, as it did my father, who would o en tell me, "Don't cry,
only girls cry", if I showed any sign that I might.
"No wonder she ended up a lesbian," I hear you say.
Seriously, you might expect this kind of thing at primary school,
but it's not what you want to hear coming out of your friend's,
girlfriend's, or own, mouth - or, even worse: "Yuk, that's so
lesbian." You'd think we get enough sexism and homophobia from the
rest of society without having to join in ourselves.
Ok, I've got to come clean: I'm guilty of moaning that someone is
"such a girl" and may have, on occasion, called my wife "a girl"
when she couldn't change her bike tyre. I've also been known to nod
my head and sing along to Dr. Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit and
Ludacris's Area Codes. In fact, a big part of my music collection
is of the misogynistic rap variety. Sadly, I'm not alone in my
secret sexism - one of my friends told me she uses this comment
when her partner doesn't want to go to an action movie with her or
if she can't fix something around the house. Having practical and
DIY skills seems to a big part of not being "like a girl" but I've
got to say I know just as many impractical men as women. I remember
a few years ago driving along with my brother when his car started
to overheat - not only did he not know how to top up the water, he
didn't even know he had to!