Saturday, November 19, 2011

Age and "hood" status

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 That's a little outdated.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...


  1. First, did you change the background? I LOVE it!

    Second, I agree! I never call myself a woman since that makes me feel so old! I usually end up calling myself "girl" but that doesn't seem quite right either. I never thought about how "guys" have a name for their in between stage though.

  2. What about people (male or female) who are not beautiful, intelligent or independent, what do you have against them ? I consider being ugly and dumb as a human right, and as I can't do anything about it, as I am not responsible of it, I would appreciate not being judged for it. And why is it important to you to be "successful" ? I would rather value "being kind to others" and "accepting everybody's imperfections including mine".

    1. Okay, I deleted your last comment, and will probably be doing the same to this one, but I wish to ask first... what is your problem? Neither of your comments have been constructive, nor dealing with much about any of my main points. Are you just trolling random blogs? And if not, why are you hiding behind anonymity?

  3. I don't consider myself as trolling, I have just a habbit of speaking only when I disagree with people because this is what I consider most constructive. I have to admit that my comment could sound a bit aggressive and I appologize if you felt offended. By the way I like many things on your blog but did not feel it was really constructive to mention it. And I don't answer to your main points simply because I totally agree with them and thus have nothing ta add. I just simply really don't like the fact that being intelligent or successful should be an objective for everybody. There's no reason to be ashamed of being ugly and/or unsuccessful. Being successful, or being admired by others is not as important to me as being a good person to others. Which I apparently I wasn't when I posted my message. But I probably have a long way to go, and I hope it doesn't mean I am necessarily wrong. And you are right, I do have my own problems that tend to make me angry with people with not very good reason. I'm working on them. But I don't think I have been so aggressive in my message.
    I have many reasons to use anonymity and little time to speak about them and you probably wouldn't be interested.
    And I am not "trolling" random blogs. I usually don't read blogs at all, I just saw yours and read it and liked it. But I would find it sad if you accepted critics only if they came with compliments. But you do what you want, of course. I don't mind if you prefer to delete my comments.