This is just bizarre:
The Oxford English Dictionary Online has been updated and amongst the new entries is Girl Power. Defined as “power exercised by girls; spec. a self-reliant attitude among girls and young women manifested in ambition, assertiveness, and individualism“, the term is one of several hundred that have just been added to the OED Online, the most up-to-date version of the world famous authority on the English language. The Spice Girls are credited with using the term in the late 1990s; however, riot girls (also a new entrant to the dictionary) adopted Girl Power in the early 90s, in the United States. A riot girl, also known as a grrrl, (another new entry) a young woman perceived as strong or aggressive, esp. in her attitude to men or in her expression of feminine independence and sexuality, is defined in general terms as a member of a movement expressing feminist resistance to male domination in society and esp. to the abuse and harassment of women.
Its bizarre and, moreover, it bothers me. It seems honestly a bit sexist, a bit ridiculous that we need to add new words to the dictionary in order to describe strong or powerful women. Why won’t woman do? Or female? Or girl? Or feminine? Decisions like this more clearly reveal the antiquated notions we have as a society: in this case the idea that women, by default, are not already strong or powerful. The need for a separate term entirely for a powerful woman implies that woman in general are not always powerful – an independent, powerful woman is a riot girl, has girl power… she is an exception. Or, at least, that’s what the Oxford Dictionary would have us think.
Girl Power! (Or, you know, just women in power - these are some female heads of state, the link leads you to information on more current and former female leaders, in case anyone has an interest!)