Telling someone they act like a girl is a common insult on the playground. Being “girly” is equated to being insignificant, but what does it really mean to act “like a girl?”
Is it a sign of weakness to be seen as feminine? Is it a sign of strength to handle all the responsibilities and struggles that a woman has to deal with in her daily life?
These are all questions that Lucid Moose Lit, a small literary press based in Long Beach, believes will contribute to a bigger discussion: “What is it to be like a girl?”
Founded by social activists Nancy Woo and Sarah Thursday, the mission of LML is to inspire conversation through literature about social topics while promoting diversity and literacy.
Woo said that the name Lucid Moose came to her in a dream and represents being “conscious and aware with gentle strength and compassion.”
LML’s tagline is “Social justice meets the arts.” They’ve released two anthologies, one being a collection of pieces from people who have experienced poverty and homelessness and the most recent being “Like a Girl,” which is defined as a “compelling anthology of prose, poetry and art that honors, explores and celebrates the feminine experience.”
Inspired by the feminine care company Always’ campaign #LikeAGirl, the book is an amalgamation of perspectives that explore the struggles of womanhood, embracing the power of women and breaking the idea of subservience or weakness.
One of the poems in the anthology by F. Douglas Brown “Dear Defiance” reads: “One day I want you to stand up / to your brother and if need be, punch him / in the face or last resort, the ding-ding. / In fact, I want you to have your girliest/-girl stuff on when this moment manifests… A surge of feminine power/sparking across your brother’s head.”
The book does not hold limitations on perspectives nor does it limit female voices. Woo said that during the process of accepting submissions for entries in the book, all perspectives on femininity were invited regardless of one’s gender identity.
In the satirical essay by Michael Cantin called ‘“Not All Men. Or, I’m sorry, I will let you finish, but first we need to address that this poem is really about MY balls,”’ the concept of male privilege is challenged.
In the essay, Cantin speaks about how easily men get offended when women speak out against them and that despite men claiming that they are feminist or on a woman’s side, they still assert their masculinity over a woman’s words. All these feelings culminate with a poem: “These balls are feminist balls / These Not All Men balls / And you really should be paying attention to them / This all about me and my balls! / Why are you getting mad?”
With over 800 submissions, LML chose around 90 pieces to represent the theme. With the blend of perspectives and identities, Woo said that she hopes the book will help readers explore issues and experiences that they may not have thought of before and start discourse about it.
“I believe that feelings lead to thoughts,” Woo said, “And your thoughts lead to your actions.”