BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE SAID:
Here is something that really disgusts me, in all kinds of ways.
A few years ago, there was this show that was about a girl and her three guy friends, and a lot of it focused on how she was the ‘ideal’ girl, because she liked sports and playing poker, she liked to belch and wear jeans. Oh yeah, and also she was a total knock out, and probably all of her ‘guy friends’ secretly (or not so secretly) wanted to date her. Or at least knock boots.
This is a theme repeated in movies, like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” for example. Oh, so, she loves basketball and riding motorcycles– OH YEAH– and she also looks like Kate Hudson, so, that makes her the ‘ideal’ woman.
Okay. That is wrong on so many levels.
I feel very sad for women (and men) everywhere because of this kind of polarization. The message is: In order to be ‘ideal’ you have to be just the right brand of masculine, and also just the right brand of feminine. Typically, this translates to: I want a woman who will let me do whatever I want, and participate in the doing of said activities, but will also look like a total super model– oh, and it helps if she can cook, too.
I feel like Dudes treat being ‘one of the guys’ like its some kind of high honor, but would THEY want to be ‘one of the girls?’ Have any of you seen shows about guys who just want to get facials and manicures and hang out chatting it up over wine and chocolate, and they are the IDEAL MAN– those shows ARE on tv, and guess what? The main character is typically a gay man, not a heterosexual man who just wants to be ‘one of the gals.’
I’m not saying that there is anything wrong about tomboys, or with girls that are super feminine, or any mix in between.
What I hate mostly is how the media perpetuates these rigid gender roles that are really stupid and senseless and don’t really have a place in today’s society– and I hate that because my daughter is going to be a part of it someday. I am all ready scheming of ways to keep Maren away from ‘tween’ fads, which, in my opinion, is making little girls grow up WAY too fast (Miley Cyrus, I’m looking at YOU).
What I hate MOST OF ALL– THE PARAMOUNT OF MY HATRED– is that it contributes to women thinking that they need to be that way to get guy’s attention. Trust me, I know. I spent all of high school and most of college pretending to care about Husker football because guess what? If I did, then the guys invited me out to the bar with them, and I got to sit next to so and so, and maybe– MAYBE– our fingertips would graze as we reached for the pitcher of Miller. When, really, all I wanted to do was go to a concert at Sokol Underground and have someone there with me who had the potential to form a complete sentence about the band we were watching– extra points if what he said was relevant.
My friend Scott has argued with me on this issue before. His opinion is that media is a influencing agent, but not an all together strong one, if you take it in context. And after some consideration, I have decided that I agree with him.
However: I think that one of the issues that has been created in the last few generations is that kids are kind of left on their own to form their own opinions about the world– and if they are constantly exposed to bull shit ideas like this one, with no opposing argument to tell them otherwise, they gradually begin to measure their worth against what the culture tells them their worth is and should be.
That is the point of this angry rant today. OPPOSING ARGUMENT OPPOSING ARGUMENT OPPOSING ARGUMENT
In high school, I would get so depressed about not having a boyfriend. It makes me cringe now. SO AWFUL. It’s so humiliating that I am terrified of running into people from high school who have this notion of me– oh that’s the girl who was so crazy about having a boyfriend that it was embarrassing for everyone around her. I coined the term: “Everyone’s best friend, no one’s Prom date” (which is ridiculous, because I did have prom dates. Three, in fact. The fact that they kind of sucked at it was not really altogether their fault. We were teenagers, for God’s sake)
Then I went through an Angry Phase, where any guy who crossed my path might very well get the crap kicked out of him. And even though I was definitely buying into a cultural stereotype of the angry man-hating feminist, I am so appreciative of those years. Because when I emerged out of them, what I found was that there was no one that was going to COMPLETE ME. Because I am complete. What you see is what you get. I AM THE WHOLE PACKAGE. I AM ONE. Hey haters– Get off my porch.
This is hard for me to rant about, because I’m married. My single friends, who go through these hard times of identity crisis, always roll their eyes at me when I get ranty, because I’m married. I probably don’t even remember what it was like to be single.
Oh, to the contrary, my friends. I remember that I hated being single in college SO MUCH that I let a lot of skeezy guys take total advantage of me. And I remember then being the complete opposite, and detesting men so much that I thought I might melt them with my eyes. And then, in the middle of my anti-man phase, I discovered something really nice: I am kind of a cool person to hang out with. And instead of just wanting to advertise that to all the guys in the world, and wondering why they didn’t have the brains to notice how awesome I was, I just started hanging out with my own bad self.
I know how that sounds. Really pathetic. But trust me, it wasn’t.
And then I started loving being single SO SO SO MUCH that when Mitch finally came along, he had to work REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to talk me into an exclusive relationship. What, you mean I have to like, have an unspoken date with you every week? What– suddenly I have to walk to class with you when we’re leaving choir at the same time and headed in the same direction? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE GOING TO CALL ME EVERY NIGHT.
I will sum this up, before I explode all over these coffee shop walls.
Guys: If you are looking for the ideal woman, fantastic. I will not deter you from your quest. HOWEVER– don’t be a dick to the girls who are not the ideal woman, and are relegated to the friend’s list. If you are going to be just friends, BE just friends. And don’t pretend like you don’t notice when those girl’s like you and start to think that maybe there is something else going on. Give me a break.
You are ALL READY an ideal woman– yes, probably for some guy out there that you haven’t met yet– but WAAAAAY more importantly, FOR YOU. Trust me on this. I am married to a really fantastic guy, but sometimes he drives me absolutely crazy. And if all my self-worth was wrapped up in how he felt about me, there would be some really gray days. DO NOT LET SOMEONE ELSE DETERMINE YOUR WORTH.
LISTEN TO THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE. If they tell you that they want to be just friends, then THEY WANT TO BE JUST FRIENDS. This is not Hollywood, they are not actually scheming on you. I have found men to be pretty clear on this subject. Take what they say at FACE VALUE.
If it helps, go into an Angry Phase. Read the book “Cunt” and “The Feminine Mystique” and “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and “Manifesta” Even if you don’t get into everything they say, relish the fact that you are a DIVINE CREATURE.
And if you really start feeling like your life will be over soon because you’re 27 and not married yet, and you just need to feel tamed and domestic, come on over next Friday night. I have a husband and a baby that you can borrow for a few hours, while I go out and do some angry feministing.