Author Ann Friedman writes in the New Republic “Hey ‘Ladies’: The Unlikely Revival of a Fusty Old Label.” Here is an excerpt:
With its slippery meaning—associations range from grandma’s lavender-scented powder to the raunchiest of rap lyrics—it encapsulates the fundamental mutability of modern feminism….“Lady” has come to occupy the middle ground.
This is new territory for an old and loaded term. “Lady” once implied a proper woman who is not to be disrespected, crosses her legs at the ankle, and never talks out of turn. She doesn’t work; she lunches. Later, of course, it was adopted as a catcall (and cattle call) in the style of the late-’80s Beastie Boys….
Sarah Nicole Prickett over at Vice.com responds:
There are girls, of course. There was, in 2012, a whole candystorm of girl-titled sitcoms, girl-themed VICE columns, girl-powered rainbow-pop singles. Do all these things exist ’cause, like, revolution? Or does the market research say, gentlemen of the board, it appears we have more girls than ever before in the history of human civilization? Let’s take a census….
Girls are forever. Women, I know, are for life.
For now I often, and not incorrectly, self-identify as a bitch. How you grow up to be a bitch is: You hit puberty, take one look at girl world, and hitch a ride the fuck out of there on your brother’s friend’s motorcycle. Bitches start early, and they don’t quit. As someone who’s been at one time or another enamoured with every Bad Feminist, from Ayn Rand (I was a baby!) to Camille Paglia to Elizabeth Wurtzel to Kara Walker, I do think ’90s bitches are my tribe….
And there are other ways to be female, and will be more still. In my feminist dreamworld, gender is never abolished, only multiplied and made even more fluid. Even then, all possibilities equal, I would still want to be a woman, always a woman, not ever the liberal, pale kind of lady that is feminism’s new white-gloved wave.
Read Prickett’s full response here. You can follow her work on Twitter