Monday, January 28, 2013

Okay Hivemind

How do we feel about the phrase, "You go, girl!"

Condescending? Infantilizing? 1990s? Empowering? Encouraging?

All of the above?

I don't like it, but I'm having difficulty articulating why.

It reminds me of, some years ago, when I had a mid-level manager co-worker who called all of her subordinates "kiddo." Thank gawd, I wasn't one of her subordinates. But, I still used to cringe when she'd call someone to her desk, "Can you pop over here, kiddo?"

This same person, of course, would never have dared to call one of her peers or superiors "kiddo" in the workplace. For, the word was a subtle way to let her subordinates know that she had The Authority in the way that, say, a parent has power over a child.

Perhaps with respect to the phrase, "You go, girl!" context matters, and I'm open to the idea that sometimes people like it when other people say this phrase to them.

It just so happens that when I tend to see people using the phrase, it's often uttered in a similar, "Well aren't you and your little lady ambitions just so adorable?! A-yes you are!" sort of manner by someone "higher" than the "girl" in the kyriarchy.

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