(If I had tenure, this is the point at which I’d be fired.)
It’s customary in this country to refer to female college students as women. And I do it, because I like to pass. I even did it in my previous post. But childless American females under 22 are girls, for all their politics.
In much of the world, you’re either a child, or you’re capable of having children and therefore an adult with full responsibilities. Here, the middle class barely manages to kick children out SUV-sized strollers by the time they get to grade school. The lag persists: we indulge in a protracted adolescence that ends reluctantly somewhere around 27, or later if we can manage it. And one of the symptoms is this self-important self-labeling.
Problem is, we don’t have the equivalent of ‘guy’. Males are boys, then guys, then eventually, mysteriously, they become men. ‘Guy’ is not infantalizing or derogatory; it’s an in-between stage. What do we have? ‘Chicks’ can only be used safely by chicks, and it doesn’t suit everybody. But we need something for those in-betweenies. Is Clare [CLAIRE] Danes a woman? Britney Spears? Gimme a break.
End of rant. May I collect my pink slip now?