No, I'm not referring to being all good in dah hood, dawg.
Racist slurs aside, what I'm really talking about is the difference between childhood, adulthood, and what I like to oh so cleverly call "in-between-hood."
Let's break this down a bit. Generally speaking, birth through age 17 is called childhood, and age 18 till death is broadly considered adulthood. That is the legal definition, anyway. But when you turn 18, do you suddenly feel like an adult in that split second your birthday passes?
"Adulthood" as a label can depend on a number of things. For some, it's a biological step that happens around puberty. How many girls remember their mother telling them when they first got their periods, "you're a woman now." For others, it's a socioeconomic status. I won't feel more like an adult until I move out and start earning my own living.
But as much as teenagers prance around waving their new adult flags, adulthood really boils down to experience. It could take 10-20 years following the legal definition of an adult until you actually feel like one.
But in the few years following your big initiation into adulthood, what do you start to refer to yourself as? This has been bothering me lately, because at the age of 22, I no longer think of myself as a girl. When referring to myself, I have not said the phrase "I'm a girl that likes blah blah" in a very long time. But at the same time, it's hard to think of myself as an adult yet, and I certainly have never said "I'm a woman that blah blah."
So basically... I can't refer to myself as much, because women really just have these two roles to play.
Men are different. We live in this era of "guyhood," where males between childhood and adulthood have this middle role they can take on. I would not call my 20-something male friends boys, but I can not also picture them as men yet. So it's nice that they have an in-between-hood. Somewhere in the middle of their teens all the way through their late 20's, they're just guys.
But what's a woman's in-between-hood? Lady? That's a little outdated. Young woman? No, that still sounds a bit like a teenager. Young adult? That takes the female aspect out of it, plus it's a bit awkward in conversation. Gal? What are we, in Texas?
Men have always had names for us as in-between-ers... chicks, babes, skirts. And we also have many names that we give to each other. But we have yet to take an on a real, society-wide, in-between label for ourselves.
I guess we can just call ourselves what we really are... beautiful, intelligent, independent, successful females. Well, that might be a tad long in conversation...