Basket CaseToday's Tune:
There's a contest running right now to win a signed copy of Veronica Rossi's UNDER THE NEVER SKY, you know. Just BTW.
So I mentioned last week that I'd read a blog about how to be friends with another women, and it makes many good points. This is a topic I think about a lot, being both a woman and a former girl who at one point totally bought into the idea that girls are this monolith of vapidity and shallowness and anyone male is better by default.
I've since changed my mind. A lot.
You'll often hear some variation of the following come out of young women's mouths: "I just don't get along with other girls. They're catty/boring/airheads/attention-seeking/competitive/bitches/only want to go to the mall and talk about nail polish/et cetera ad nauseum. See, I like KUNG-FU MOVIES and VIDEO GAMES, not makeup and unicorns. I get along better with guys. They're so easy to hang out with and there's NO DRAMA EVER. Guy stuff is just more INTERESTING to me, you know? I just don't understaaaaand other girls."
First: there is absolutely nothing wrong with unicorns and anyone who hates on unicorns is NO FRIEND OF MINE SO STEP OFF. I mean, it's a freaking horse with a horn that can IMPALE YOU. If you don't find that impressive, you are clearly a fool.
Second: I couldn't see this for what it was when I was living it, but now that I'm more removed (and frankly way more involved in social issues and being a real live woman), I see this for what it is. It's internalized misogyny, ladies. Not only that, it's self-hatred. When you truly believe that ALL or MOST or even MANY other women are *insert all negative stereotypes about women here* and that you alone are unique because you are more "like a guy" and like more "guy" stuff, which is better and more interesting than "girl" stuff? You are hating your own sex/gender. You are divorcing yourself from anything that might be considered feminine and seeking approval from men in the context of maleness. You're saying "even though I identify as a woman, I'm not like a WOMAN-woman. I'm like a *cool* woman who likes non-womanly things."
At its core, this attitude is just one more way people and society tells us women are stupid, unnecessary, boring, frivolous, nasty, annoying, like meaningless things, etc. When young women buy into this line of thinking, they're buying into the idea that in order to be "better," they need to identify with guys and like "guy" things.
But what are "guy" things, exactly? Comic books, cars, anime? Video games, nerd culture, not wearing makeup? Science fiction and action movies? These are some of the most-cited preferences I hear from girls who state that they're "just more interested in guy stuff." The thing is... I know A LOT of women who enjoy this stuff. Girly women. Tomboyish women. Gay women. Straight women. Just women. They like this stuff. This is not "guy" stuff. But for some reason, it seems like everything that is deemed nerdy and/or "cool" (possibly both?) seems to be heavily implicated as a male interest. "Most girls" apparently only like things like makeup, gossip, boy chasing, going to the mall, etc.
It's like there's this set up dichotomy: either you're a super girly-girl who only cares about how she looks and who she's dating, or you're a "cool" girl who likes "interesting" (read: boy) things. This is not reality. When we start viewing a group of people, ANY group of people, as a lump of stereotypes with a few breakouts, we're ceasing to view them as individuals. And that's what women are. We are not a seething mass of perfume and pink with a few oh-so-daring guy's girls who deign to break away. We are people. We are individuals, with individual interests in a wide variety of topics.
Sure, some women are assholes. This is not news. You get any group of people together, and a certain percentage of them will be assholes. This is true of men, women, and aliens from outer space, probably. But when we buy into the idea that the assholes represent the entire (or "most of the") population, we're buying the party line of "this group is less than this other group." We're buying that men are just... better.
This is why I practically screech with joy when I see a positive female relationship represented in literature or film. Too often, the lives of female characters are centered around one or more males. Other female characters are peripheries or enemies. They either fade into the background in favor of male characters, or they're bad. Bad, bad, bad. This ties into the same idea -- it's just BETTER to be wanted and accepted by a dude. Ladies are just... into shopping and giggling. They're a fun decoration, but you don't want to focus on them.
It just makes me sad. I get so sad when I see yet another female protagonist who has no real female relationships beyond lip service. The "best friend" turns jealous or fades away completely. The mother is absent or cruel. The antagonist is the school's Queen Bee who hates the protagonist for existing. Any new girlfriends fade in and out with little significance or just want to buy things and paint nails.
There's nothing wrong with having boys or men in the lives of women. Brothers, fathers, boyfriends, guy friends... still important. But they shouldn't be the focus, the be-all and end-all. They shouldn't replace all female relationships. We shouldn't perpetuate this idea that "most" women are a monolith of snide remarks and mall shopping and clothes. If you are a unique woman with unique interests, you can bet there are dozens, hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of women who are like you. Trust women. You don't have to trust the assholes, but you should still trust women. You are one, after all.
(P.S. - Every time I hear a woman say that they like hanging out with men more than women because there's "no drama," I laaaaaaaauuuugggghhhh. Oh. Four brothers and male friends all my life, dudes. No drama my girly butt.)