Girly girl

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Girly girl is a slang term for a girl or woman who chooses to dress and behave in an especially feminine style, such as wearing pink, using make-up, using perfume, dressing in skirts, dresses and blouses, and talking about relationships and other activities which are associated with the traditional gender role of a girl.[1]

Though the term is sometimes used as a term of disdain, it can also be used in a more positive way, particularly when exploring one of a range of gender positions.[2] Being a 'girly girl' can then be seen as a fluid and partially embodied position - a form of discourse taken up, discarded or modified for tactical/strategic ends.[3]


An ancestral figure of the girly girl was the womanly woman of the early 20th century, caricatured and attacked by the flapper as a "bundle of beautiful clothes...[round a] mass of affectations".[4] An earlier term for a squeamish kind of ultra femininity was missish.[5]

Social determinants[edit]

The opposite of a girly girl is a tomboy. The increasing prevalence of girly girls in the early 21st century has been linked to the post-feminist, post-new man construction of masculinity and femininity in mutually exclusive terms,[6] as opposed to the more blurred gender representations of previous decades.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Linda Duits, Multi-Girl-Culture (2008) p. 141
  2. ^ Duits, p. 136
  3. ^ M. O'Sullivan/A. MacPhail, Young People's Voices (2010) p. 37-8
  4. ^ F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bernice Bobs her Hair (1963) p. 18
  5. ^ Georgette Heyer, The Grand Sophie (1960) p. 275
  6. ^ Natasha Walter, Living Dolls:The Return of Sexism (2010) p. 211
  7. ^ Adam Phillips, On Flirtation (1994) p. 122-4