Is girly a compliment?


Words are so strange.

Words are sometimes so wonderfully wonderful and then sometimes words are just poop. 

But then words are sometimes confusing. Like the word girly. 

I have used the word girly to describe myself. But then I have used it to not describe myself and I have wrinkled my nose at the thought of being girly. I have called other people girly and thought ‘hey, why not, I’m a girl too’ and it never really occurred to me till today that maybe there’s something wrong with the word..

Maybe it’s a bit of an old fashioned word, ‘well she’s a girly girl’, what does it mean? She’s a girl that plays with girl appropriate toys, you know barbies and maybe she wears eyeshadow and maybe she’s not so keen on mud. 

And a girl that plays in the mud and rolls around on the floor ‘she’s not a girly girl’. 

It’s harmless really, it’s not a cuss-word, kids can say it and there mums don’t tell them off, nobody would even be offended. But maybe there’s just this little hint that being a girly girl means you have to fufill all these stereotypes and you have to want to be feminine and then people will support that, people will be okay with that. But by doing so you just encourage girls that grow into women,  that girls can only do certain things and boys can do certain things because humans have to, they just have to give a word and name to everything. 

Plus why do we never say ‘ooh that’s a boy-y boy’ (and don’t just say because that sounds stupid) just think about it, maybe we say other things that seem like it but I don’t think we have established this word like ‘girly’ which is so widely used in sales and advertising for boys.

And what happens to the not girly girls? The ‘tomboys’, again instead of just letting everyone be, we have to have another category to kind of show when somebody’s different. Is being called a ‘Tomboy’ a compliment? 

I guess only when you want it to be, not unlike girly, we have no problems with being described using these words as long as we want to be them. 

Which is why maybe we have to tone down these over generalisations just a teeny weeny bit and use some other adjectives like ‘clever’ or ‘ ambitious’, maybe this would help everyone be a little happier…

What do you think? Harmless observation or old fashioned? Let me know!

Love Robyn

10 thoughts on “Is girly a compliment?”

  1. The largest problem for us humans is that we strive to move forward to true equality, but at the same time we fit everyone into a neat category. We add political correctness, yet we claim to not judge, categorize and stereotype each other. So if you like the word girly cool. If not, then ignore it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The thing is, we humans try to fit everything in a neat coherent category. Like one might thought, “I’m not a girly girl but I still hate mud and dirt so I’m not a tomboy either. What does that make me?” In the end, all these labels just adds to the confusion.
    Great post, by the way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You pose a really interesting question. I think I would shy away from telling a girl she’s “girly” or “not girly” becuase I think it’s important for kids to decide on their own identity. But I can see myself using the term to desccribe a girl, as long as she didn’t hear me.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had in a group setting recently, about leadership. The question was posed “how do we decide who would be a good leader?” A person who had already declared herself to be a teacher offered that sometimes you can tell who would be a good leader – for example, the girl on the playground who gets a game organized and creates teams – the one who tells everyone what to do. I know enough about leadership (and about kids and classrooms) to know that this type of behavior does NOT necessarily make you a good leader, so I replied explained my thinking and said, “maybe that girl is just bossy, and bossiness is not leadership. There are a lot of other qualities to look for.” Well, this teacher became very defensive and upset with me because of the whole “women and bossiness” thing (which I do get). But I stood by my comment. Cuz hey, boys can be bossy, too, and I don’t find it any more attractive in boys than in girls. I guess I just shouldn’t have used the word “bossy,” because it’s a trigger for a lot of women.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thoughtful post.

    Personally, I don’t find packaging gender with behaviours or interests particularly useful. I don’t think they’re inexorably linked, and it irritates me when people suggest that they are. It feels like they’re telling me what I should or should not be.

    Liked by 1 person

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