Someone asked me, in a very captious fashion, why I had decided to call this blog Word Ninja Girl, instead of Word Ninja Woman.
She thought it infantilized women, especially when it was a female doing the naming. I’m so glad she asked why. And I do think she needs to take a giant chill pill if this got her knickers in a knot.
Many years ago, I attended a Women & Power conference at the Omega Institute Rhinebeck, NY campus. The speakers list was a dream come true. Maya Angelou, Eve Ensler, Wangari Maathai, Elizabeth Lesser, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Anita Diamant and Carol Gilligan among many others. How I wish someone would have videotaped that three days of talks and workshops and wandering around campus, chatting with Eve and the other speakers on the stone pathway on our way to the cafeteria. There weren’t any divas or ego tripping people there. Just a bunch of people talking. It was a paradigm shifting, mind opening experience.
Carol Gilligan is the author of the 1982, Harvard Press’s, In A Different Voice; a book that has guided women’s studies at universities for decades. She talked about how the book came to be, the battles to support her theories and the ongoing conversation about moral development in females (caring) and males (justice) and how those two points of view lead to different outcomes.
She also talked about the raw courage and wonder of girls. She said that same girl who would plow out onto the ice and into a neighborhood hockey game without hesitation at age 11, would stop and reconsider a few years later as things change in her world.
We lose some fire in our raw courage reservoir after the breasts arrive and the bleeding begins. And even if we find our sea legs after all the hormones settle, we are never again as uninhibited and authentic as we were in our “girl” years; except when we are in the flow of creativity.
Pen to paper, hands to clay, eyes to the microscope, brush to the canvas, voice to the microphone; those moments reach back through time and fuel us with that “girl-power” those crazy Spice Girls infected us with in the 90s.
That’s where I go when I write, I paint, I photograph, I cook, I build or I face something difficult; right back into the warehouse of courage I had at 11 years old. When I reach for it, that kid says, “What do you need right now? I’ve got a crapload of everything, just for you.”
So the blog title is my own homage to that 11 year old Mimi, who was a mouthy, brave little ninja as quick to hand you a flower as to lay down the line, even to the boys, if some dodgy shit was going down.
That’s my girl. That’s my woman. That’s why Word Ninja Girl instead of Word Ninja Woman.