When does a girl become a woman?

And when does a boy become a man?

I’ve never quite been able to pinpoint the exact age at which this occurrs. Anyone want to venture an opinion?

um… re: the second one… i think its in the ballpark of 40 or so… lord knows I ain’t there yet…

Physically, legally, mentally or morally? It varies for both sexes.

I can’t say anything for sure about boys, but according to Neil Diamond, a girl becomes a woman when she needs a man. So I suppose you could say that a boy becomes a man when a woman needs him.

In all seriousness, the change occurs when they accept adult responsibilities - whatever age that might be. For some it might happen in their teens - if they have a rough life, for example. For some, sadness, sadness, it might never happen at all.

Or did you mean physical maturity?
Or did you mean legally - like age 18 or 21 (in the US)?

How are you going to even attempt to place an exact age on it? The first thing you’d have to do is define “woman” or “man”. Which would be purely opinion. And then the question of “when” would be purely opinion as well.

It varies by gender and by individual, I’d say.

Legally, 18. (in the U.S.)

When she can stop allowing herself to be manipulated and dragged back to the same old unhealthy relationship over and over just because she’s afraid of turning her back on someone she once cared about.

(Yeah, I’ve got a bit of bitterness regarding that at the moment… sue me.)

When he can talk with a woman (or girl) without constantly thinking about how much he wants to do her.

Judaism has two outlooks on it.

The first is an age where they must now accept adult responsibility for their actions, both in life as a whole and within a religious context. The bar and bat mitzvah symbolizes this assention into adulthood. This occurs with or without the formalized ritual of an actual service. The man can now read from the Torah, both are now required to fast on Yom Kippur and both must obey the commandments and the applicable laws from the 613 listed.

The second way outlook is that a Jewish man or woman doesn’t become an adult until after passage of the bar exam.

Either way, there’s a bar involved.

I may have been wrong then… maybe more like 75 or 80…



No, that would be when a man dies:D

More seriously, with females of the human species, I find that it varies widely, generally falling around 16-18. It’s not the age when a girl develops breasts, or starts wearing sexy clothes, its something else that I can’t really define. There is some “I am mature enough to enter into a relationship of some sort” signal…I dunno. But its there, I think:)

Heinlein defined the beginning of adulthood as the time one realizes that life in finite…one will die at some point. And one can face that fact undismayed and still approach life with zest and joy.

When my daughter was 12 she went through a long string of health problems and many of my friends were very concerned about her overall well-being. At one point during that year I responded to their questions with “well, she became a woman.”

The women knew what I was talking about, the men were clueless.

When you pay your own way, take responsibility for your actions and stand on your own two feet. Again, as mentioned, some people never reach that point.


I don’t think there IS an exact point in a person’s life that they officially become a woman or a man, it’s all individual.

It could be that they’ve had to mentally grow up a lot faster than other people their age - so maybe it’s mentallity that defines when someone becomes a woman or a man.

Or when you end puberty. Eh, I dunno.

I don’t even think it’s an instantaneous change. If there’s a moment when a child goes to an adult, then you’re telling me that one day they’re a child and the next they’re an adult. That just doesn’t make sense.

The completely un-PC joke answer - When there’s grass in the field, play ball!

The real answer is, of course, it depends. At 21, I figure society has pretty much given a person full adulthood rights. At that point, I can’t really say a person is too young or naive to make decisions on their own. For instance if a guy goes on a date with a 21 year old, I can’t say he is taking advantage of her youth, regardless of his age. Less than 20yo, I may think differently. Some people, though, are very mature at 18, and are more than capable of taking care of themselves.

I don’t know how much you read old novels and stories, but the phrase “become a woman” used to mean “lose her virginity.” I noticed that in one story by Chingiz Aitmatov about a woman looking back on her life, and how when she was young a brigand on a horse abducted her to his yurt and he did her. She said, “I became a woman that night.”

Jomo - in that case, women who’ve never had sex with men, at any age, are still not women.

I remember when I started having my periods, I was told I was “now a woman”. Though I don’t really think thats accurate (not considering who I am now compared to when I was 11!), its yet another idea to throw out onto the pile :slight_smile:

I’m fifteen, and I know that although I’m definately not yet completely a woman (although by some of your definitions, I am), I also feel like a little more than just a girl. Although I hate to quote from her, Britney Spears has summed it up pretty accurately by singing “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” I think that is what we are in our teen years…Not yet adults, but not children either.