Girls, Girls, Girls

So my friend lost her husband again last night. This happens frequently, as he tends to disappear into a bais medrash and never come out. She thought he might be in a specific shul that carries many minyanim simultaneously, so we drove over to look for him.

Well, my friend pops out of the car to go ask around the hangers-around if they’d seen a tall, blond fellow named Reuven, when friend #2 says, “What are you doing?”

Friend #1: Going to ask about my husband.

Friend #2: You can’t just go out there and start talking to men! It’s not tznius!

Friend #3: Why not?

Friend #2: She’s a girl!

Friend #3: No she’s not, she’s a woman. She’s married. That makes her a woman and everything is suddenly OK.

Friend #2: No it does not! She’s just a married girl!

Friend #1 trots off to do her asking while Friends #2 and #3 argue over whether she’s a girl or a woman. I point out that it doesn’t matter: in sha’as hadchak, a girl can do a woman’s job.Girls until marriage


An interesting arguement, but a stupid one. I hate to break it to you all out there, but we’re all women already. We can drink, drive, smoke, and play the lottery. We’re not girls. Our pre-frontal cortexes are completely developed. We have survived adolescence. We’re in college and working full time! We’re adults. That means we’re women.


But, as my psych professor explains, a Jewish female is considered not quite complete unless she’s married. So until we’ve got that wedding band, we’re in the same category as teenagers, tweens, and 5-year-old kindergarteners. Girls, girls, girls.


The question is what happens then? Does the band automatically make us women, or is there an intermediate period when we’re just married girls? I theorize that the cut-off point is the first baby. After you’ve given birth you are now a mother, and nobody can be a girl-mother. Therefore, they are women.


So really Friend #2 was right: Friend #1 was still a girl, albeit a married one. The rest of us will remain girls until we get married, even if that happens when we’re 43.


Now, have you noticed how much differently a person is treated in their stages of “girl,” “married girl”, and “woman”? It’s a topic for a different post, of course, and I’ll get to it, because it’s a favorite rant of mine.


In the mean time, I’d appreciate it if you’d all stop referring to me as a “girl”.


10 thoughts on “Girls, Girls, Girls

  1. Uch, I know, this is a pet peeve of mine too! Even a 50-year-old woman who was never married (not for lack of trying!) gets referred to as a “girl”, which is absurd. And of course, even if a girl gets married at 18 and has her first child at 19, she’s now a “woman”. Never mind that she’s not even out of her teenage years, she’s a woman and the 50-year-old is a girl. Stuuuuupid. [sigh]

  2. It strikes me that this might be subtle but effective brainwashing… Maybe I’ll start correcting people. “Not ‘girl’, ‘woman’.” See how many strange looks that gets me.

  3. I find your blog fascinating. If it’s ok, I think I’m gonna pick the same Rav.

    To answer your questions about what makes a married girl different: It’s part of the same reason women who have been married – regardless of what their status is now (divorced, widowed…)- have to cover their hair – they have a whole new perspective the day after the wedding night. This loss of “naivety” changes things (or should). Not to say that there are those who aren’t really that naive…

  4. If you’ve ever worked in an office environment with frum men you will be well aware of the fact that no matter how high you climb on the corporate ladder, you will always be known as “the girl”.

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  6. Aha!
    I’ve been saying all along that what is billed as “tznius” is not about modesty but about status! see my post on sheitels.

    What this post is saying is that a low status single woman may not enter high status male territory. That would be “immodest” ie assuming a higher status unrightfully.
    A married women, while still barred from entering, may at least approach its edges.

    (Notice that men, are generally allowed to enter low status female territory: For example, male faculty may teach in all girls schools, men regularly cross the mechitza to look for their wife or deliver chairs, without it being considered a violation of tznius)

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