In the second episode of HBO’s “Girls,” three young women are eating frozen yogurt on a park bench: Jessa, the slutty one, Shoshanna, the prudish one, and Hannah, our protagonist. After Hannah expresses frustration with her pseudo-boyfriend, Shoshanna whips out a copy of a fictional advice book: Listen, Ladies: A Tough-Love Approach to the Tough Game of Love.
Hannah: Wait, but here’s my question: Who are the ladies?
Shoshanna: Obvi. We’re the ladies.
Jessa: I’m not the ladies.
Shoshanna: Yeah, you’re the ladies.
The exchange is a perfect who’s-on-first for the urban twentysomething: the word “lady” has become core vocabulary of feminism in the age of irony...