GOOD

‘Girls Will Be Girls’ is not a saying. Have you ever thought about why?

The fact that this isn’t a saying tells us everything we need to know.

During the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, one tired old idiom resurfaced to unprecedented attention.


Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said it when he addressed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

The Atlantic featured it prominently in a recent story.

In an interview, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking into her lap, recalled how she, and “every woman of [her] vintage,” found themselves tyrannized by it.
The Guardian, PBS, CNN, Quartz, Dictionary.com, Merriam Webster, UrbanDictionary.com, Huffington Post, The Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Psychology Today: all have think pieces or definitions to contribute.
The idiom, of course, is “Boys will be boys.” And all its attendant cultural noise forced me to think: What about its natural, largely unused counterpart: “Girls will be girls?”
Unlike “Boys will be boys,” which crowds my mind with behaviors ranging from rowdiness to rape, “Girls will be girls,” virtually empties it.
When I try to make it mean something, a blank unfolds in my brain—a kind of prolonged end-of-gong silence.
When I Google "Girls will be girls," the first and most prominent hit is a 2003 drag comedy—a campy romp that mostly mines humor from a time-honored sight gag: men dressed as women. Of ten results on Google’s first page, this minor movie occupies eight. The other two: an online clothing boutique featuring items like ‘Sabrina python mini dress’ and ‘Nicole leopard palazzo jumpsuit,’ and a forgettable pop song by a young artist named Sophie Beem (in the YouTube image, Ms. Beem stands limply—dead-eyed, gape-mouthed—in a midriff-baring school uniform.)

Remarkably, not one result remotely addresses female behavior (whatever that means).

Come-hither schoolgirls, sexy jungle jumpsuits, men in drag: this is still the realm of "Boys will be boys," in service to the male gaze, and, well, the male gays.
So, I narrow my search, add "idiom" to the phrase, and enter a refreshingly nerdy corner of the internet, occupied mostly by grammar forums, where I discover this gem, on stackexchange.com, contributed by an anonymous user:

It seems "Boys will be boys" is a well established idiom and, according to Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed… it is, "something that you say which means it is not surprising when boys or men behave in a noisy, rude, or unpleasant way.”
So I began to wonder if "Girls will be girls" is a phrase that begins to take on an idiomatic meaning in English. Is it so?

To which a user responds:

Excellent question but, no, GWBG is only a derivative, jocularly replacing girls for boys, because culturally girls don't act like boys at all. …GWBG does not stand alone in meaning by itself — its meaning depends on its connection with BWBB.

As an expression, “Girls will be girls,” a bit like Pop-Star Sophie, doesn’t stand so well on its own. “Girls will be girls” is the linguistic equivalent of our most powerful gender-related narratives—from Eve to Echo to Galatea—that reinforce our most damaging patriarchal myth: that men exist independently of women, but women require men to exist.

Suddenly, I understood why “Girls will be girls” —as a phrase—made my mind blank. That blankness did not, as I assumed, signify a lack of meaning. The silence, the blankness—was the meaning.


"Girls will be girls" means reducing oneself to a blank upon which "Boys" can more easily project their desires. “Girls will be girls” means calcifying into the silent wife-face who watches her husband from the back of a courtroom, stands beside him as he confesses his affairs, or witnesses him take oath for office. “Girls will be girls” means voiding yourself, transforming yourself into an empty space for "Boys" to invade, occupy, and destroy.


To those, including our shameful President, who doubt, even mock, Dr. Ford’s testimony—to those who believe if she’d truly fled the house in severe distress, someone would have noticed; to those who find it suspect she kept quiet for 36 years, and if she’d truly been assaulted, she’d have reported it: that’s not how this works. Brett Kavanaugh was a "Boy" that night—loud, brutal, self-obsessed—and, in turn, Christine Blasey Ford was a "Girl"—mute, blank, invisible.

This is what women are doing when they bravely speak their truth—when they loudly protest the status quo, clamor for justice in public squares, and corner Senators in elevators: they are refusing to be "Girls." They are annulling their end of a corrupt bargain, in which they are expected to take responsibility for the actions of others, and clap their own hands over their own mouths. Because the accepted patriarchal narrative—about boys existing independently of girls—is wrong. The opposite is true. Without girls who are "Girls"—without that roaring collective silence— boys who are "Boys" will cease to exist.

This article originally appeared on Upworthy. It has been updated with minor edits to reflect Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Articles
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health