Girlhood is an elusive thing,
Not quite as present as Boyhood.
Where our men, and little boys are taught to be themselves,
To climb high, and dive off bridges (No, don’t try that at home),
Our girls are given aprons, and pink pots,
Shown how to hold a needle, or what a flame looks like
On the edge of a tiny stick, hidden too high for ‘girls’ to reach in the end.
Girlhood is a fragment of childhood.
The anti-thesis to ‘shoulda-woulda-coulda’;
The “no, you may nots”, and the “put those shoes right back ons”,
All stacked against a landscape only Cristobal Colon
Ever received a licence to ransack.
She is the lesser half of childhood,
The snapshot of young girls by the river,
Washing trivial pieces of cloth,
While a brighter, gayer* figure,
Leaps from beneath the surface,
To splash his unsuspecting sister.
Girlhood is the best-friend of ‘No’.
The, ‘no, you can’t ride that bike’,
And the ‘no, you can’t become that,
have you considered how (leans in closer) hard it will be for you?’
She is the “make sure you’re wearing those clothes”,
And the “be careful before you can’t have any children”
warning called out before a game.
The best-friend of no…until a no means…yes?
Girlhood is the beautiful girl walking along the road,
Who is not yet 13, or 14, or 15, or…you know what, so what if she’s thirty?
Who will flinch when she sees a group of men a few feet ahead,
Or cross the road when she passes the house where the gate’s a little too dark,
Because her mother warned her ‘well’.
She is also the less than pretty girl
Whispered about because she will never “find” herself a man,
Who must be ‘grateful’ for every smile, and leer, and gift,
Because she will never earn it with her looks.
Girlhood ought not to exist.
She need not be the partner to Boyhood.
It is her right to be as she pleases,
And say what delights her,
To flip from treetops into creeks while splashing her erstwhile brother,
She deserves her ‘Girls will be girls’
Just as much as Boyhood flies ‘Boys will be boys’
Over his wild, ‘untouchable’ landscape.
She demands her right to ‘ooh’ at babies,
But not create her own,
And to dance when she wants to, because she bloody well can.
Girlhood says, ‘No, you may not watch me at pageantry.
Tonight is a baggy pajamas, and t-shirt kind of night, and
If I wear them to the market, and back, you’ll say good morning,
Like I’m human, and have not lost my mind.’
Girlhood eyes retirement, and is in counsel with Childhood.
She seeks to convince Boyhood, that he too, must retire.
She tells them both that it is ‘okay’ to not split,
That womanhood, and manhood, may perhaps be better served,
If they were given more room to grow,
Rather than window boxes, perched precariously on a shelf.
Sunday, March 6, 2016. 19:41 hrs.
*Gayer: happier–For those confused souls who may have never read old literature, once upon a time ‘gay’ only meant happy. And no, I’m not trying to be snippy about it.
Note: I wrote this a few minutes ago because it struck me (yet again), just how much we sexualise our young, specifically our girls. Childhood is laughter, and play. And whether that be pretty dresses, and toy cradles, or campfires, and ‘creepy-crawlies’, there is a difference between letting our children become who they are meant to be, versus creating a box that is so stifling, every new generation of children struggles with who they are, when compared to who they are told to be; and/or cannot reach the age of 30, without having some traumatic incident occur because we don’t draw a thick enough line between childhood, and adulthood, since we’re too busy drawing the line between boyhood, and girlhood.