Twenty-somethings: are we women or girls?

“Watch you don’t run into that lady!” the mum bellowed, as her toddler made a beeline towards my legs.

Yes. The lady. Me. When did that happen? It feels that in our twenties we’re not quite women, but definitely not girls.

When I was a child looking at grown-ups, they didn’t look like me. Or did they? In the eyes of the toddler hurtling towards me then yes, I probably do look like a woman, not a girl. But to me? I’m not so sure.

I’m 23, and as a girl/woman this does pose a bit of an identity crisis. One would never refer to a 23-year-old male as a boy, so why is it not so clean cut for us females?

It always riles me when men talk about dating ‘girls’. In that respect, I must surely be a woman: a consenting ‘grown-up’. It makes me feel uncomfortable to be considered otherwise.

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But in the wider world, I don’t feel ready to be considered an adult. I’ve noticed on social media a terrifying trend for girls/women I went to school with suddenly getting married and having babies. When did we suddenly become old enough for that to happen?!

That Britney Spears song has never felt more relevant to me. *I’m not a giiiiirl! Not yet a woooomuuun!* My teenage years feel a lifetime ago, and I have a ‘proper’ grown-up job. I pay bills, I cook and clean for myself. Are these the things that define me as an adult?

If I don’t feel like a ‘woman’ now, when will it happen? When I’m 25? 30? 50?

Maybe we never truly feel fully grown. We are made to believe that adulthood is something that is thrust upon us, but in reality it seems more of a slow and steady process.

Now I’m off to do my washing. And then I’ll probably go spend this week’s food money on new clothes. Because that’s what being a girl/woman is all about, right?

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