You know what drives me absolutely up the wall? When I hear a girl humble-bragging about how she is ‘not like other girls.’
To me, this is absolutely astonishing.
By saying that, she is suggesting that there is something wrong with other girls. It’s a suggestion that there is something inherently bad in being female.
And I couldn’t disagree more.
For my entire life, I’ve been surrounded by women and girls who are brilliant, competent, hilarious, kind, talented and more.
If being ‘like other girls’ means I get to be like the women who’ve inspired me my entire life, then count me in!
We live in an era where we are more aware (or ‘woke’) than ever before when it comes to the role that gender prejudice plays in our daily lives. I am so grateful for the conversations that are happening each and every day surrounding this topic. I think these discussions are important, impactful, and are definitely making a difference! So why do some of us continue to vilify the qualities that supposedly epitomize womanhood as though being ‘feminine’ (whatever the heck that even means) is a bad thing?!
Girls can do anything boys can do! Women can have it “All!” You go girl, shatter the glass ceiling! …
But just don’t be ‘too girly’ along the way.’
I hate to think this is the message we are sending to the next generation.
When I hear a woman say that she is not friends with other women because ‘they are too much drama,’ I inwardly cringe. Not only is that a ridiculously hyperbolic suggestion, it also painting half our population with a very broad and unflattering brush.
Most of all, when I hear these sorts of statements, I honestly feel really, really sad for the woman who is speaking. After all, if throughout her entire life, she’s only had the chance to meet women who ’cause drama’, she’s been missing out on a lot.
But here’s the thing … I very highly doubt that it’s true. I’m not saying that women don’t cause drama. What I’m saying is that women AND men both can, and they also both CAN NOT too. Being ‘dramatic’ is not a gender-restrictive quality, and to suggest it is plays into a tired sexist stereotype that anyone with a millisecond of life experience would know is unfounded.
I believe that the vast majority of women who say these things honestly do not realize the heavy implications of what’s coming out of their mouth. And such, is the problem of internalized misogyny.
Listen, it’s obviously okay to have mostly guy friends. It’s also completely normal to have mostly girl friends. It’s also totally cool to just plain have friends, and not really spend much time considering the gender-make-up of your friend group. I’m not the authority on this! It’s just common sense! But for some reason, at some point in society, someone decided that being ‘just one of the guys’ officially made you more cool or somehow more innately valuable than if you were not.
I can’t say for certain what drives folks to believe things like this, but I do believe it comes from a deeply ingrained sexist stereotype that unfortunately still exists in a lot of places. Most of us have seen it from a very young age in books, movies, tv shows, and in the world around us. It’s the idea that women simply are a certain way that makes them weak, or silly, or frivolous. It’s the idea that men are not.
“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.”
Yes… That’s an extreme passage (Hello, have you read Gone Girl? ‘Extreme’ is putting it mildly), but I think the hyperbolic point is valid. The expectations of what it takes to be ‘cool’ in the circles where this idea persists are ridiculous. I know one thing for certain … By those antiquated sexist standards, I am not the “Cool Girl.” And I am 100% completely okay with that.
Here’s the thing … I will never be ‘just one of the guys,’ and that’s not because being mostly friends with guys is a bad thing. It’s because I am totally 100% happy to surround myself with other women and call myself a ‘girl’s girl,’ and I do not believe this makes me any less ‘cool,’ ‘valuable,’ ‘competent,’ or ‘smart.’
I’ve always admired other women. I’ve always looked up to and tried to mirror other women. I’ve been mentored by many women and try to do the same for girls younger or less experienced than me.
I want to be ‘like other girls.’ I also live in a world where each of can exist without preconceived notions of what our innate ‘female-ness’ might mean.
Fortunately, I think we’ve come a long way as a society. The vast majority of the people I’m surrounded by get it. And I am grateful for that.
But because I spend a lot of time online and unfortunately haven’t learned to avoid reading the comments section yet, I know that a lot of people out there do not get it at all.
And that is why I’m writing this post. Because at the end of the day, I am a girl’s girl, and I am perfectly content with that, whether it makes me ‘cool’ or not.
And guess what? This doesn’t make me any less valuable than a woman who feels most at home in a group of men. Nor does it make me more valuable than her either.
I am who I am simply because I am me. And that woman is who she is for the very same reasons.
My friends, wouldn’t you agree that it’s time that we learn to live and let live?
NOTE – I am sure that some people will read this and feel attacked. That’s not my intent. I do not believe that our entire society at large (or men as a whole) behave or think in this way. However if you would argue that what I’ve wrote here is not true, then I ask you to take in what I’m about to say … If you feel this is an untrue experience, I’m really happy for you. It means that you have lived an entire lifetime of not experiencing or seeing these attitudes and behaviours, which makes you very lucky. Unfortunately, I have seen it. I’ve experienced it myself in small doses firsthand, and I’ve also read / heard many harsher experiences from both real-life friends and women online. These attitudes do exist, and this behaviour does happen. It shouldn’t, but it does. Let’s all remember that our individual experiences do not describe the entire global population, and that just because you’ve experienced something in a good way, it doesn’t mean everyone else has had the same journey. Empathy goes a long way towards understanding, and that is all I ask.