Friday, July 13, 2007

Just A Girl

At my first job, there were a few women in the office who discussed their hairstyles excessively. It really pissed me off, because I took my job Very Seriously, and didn't want my cred to be undermined by members of my gender discussing their follicular stylings.

Later, when I moved to California, I worked with a woman (for whom I had the utmost professional respect) who had a seriously great haircut. I was new to the area and needed a hairdresser, and fretted for a while about whether, and how, to ask her about her stylist. Finally I said, "Hey, Jen, I have something kind of girly to ask you." She replied, "That's OK, we're girls!"

Good point, Jen.

I've had an ongoing struggle with my own feminity (read: girliness), which has only recently - i.e., in the past two years - come more naturally. I used to fight it tooth and nail - any gender-specific definition or role or stereotype. My friends would crack up at this, and ask me such questions as, "Between you and DLang, who does the cooking?" to which I'd answer, "Well, I do, but that's because I LIKE cooking, not because I'm a girl." Which is true, but it does also happen to fit a certain gender stereotype.

This morning, Lisa told me about a friend who's visiting for the weekend who had already seen fit to make judgy comments about things she deemed girly, in particular, Lisa's application of mascara and quantity of shoes.

L: gillian i have 10 pairs of shoes and all are pivotal
L: 2 running, 1 cleat, 1 your bike shoes
G: I have no judgments if you have 100 pairs of shoes
G: and wear so much makeup that people think you're a whore.
L: birks, those new wanna be birk clogs, brown flip flops, black flip flops
L: thats why I love you most!
L: i was like - well I love flip flips- but I need them in brown and black to match
G: Plus, $2!
L: and she's like "wow, you're such a girl"- in an offensive way! meant to offend!
G: You should have said, yeah, you should see my vagina!
G: It's TOTALLY girly!
L: hahahahahahaha YCMU
In all honesty, mascara is one of my favourite things (and as DLang can confirm, I even listed it as one of the top three things that I can't live without on my online dating profile) and while being a boy certainly wouldn't prevent me from breaking out the Great Lash, it's a plus that it's something that was socially acceptable for my mom to show me how to apply. And having lots of shoes is actually really fun, especially the impractical ones (like these excellent Converse I bought a couple of months ago).

I still hate stereotypes and part of my brain is still screaming, "Anyone can have lots of shoes! Lots of guys have more shoes than I do!" but, hey, so what if it is a girly thing? Like Jen pointed out, I *am* a girl. Which not only means that I cry too easily sometimes and have more difficulty peeing in the woods than my penis-enabled peers, but also that I am comfortable hugging people, get to wear pretty dresses, and get flowers on my birthday.

And, I have boobies that are ALL MINE that I can play with whenever I want, which is way more useful than conveniently peeing in the woods.


Lisa said...

That is a great dress and great shoes and a great rack, even! (Too much? Too far?)(Yes. But we earlier talked about my vagina- twice- so I think nothing is taboo)

I used to be all "SEXISM ISN'T A PROBLEM GROW UP" until I took my gender studies - "women in technology" with a textbook called "technofeminism" that I realize, wow, I struggle with being a girl so badly! I fight it HARD!

Best thing about being a girl
1. flirting with TAs. it is FUN.

That list is longer- but- just wanted to mention my fave. (I need to tell you a story about a wizard named George- actually... I think I might have to blog it)

Anonymous said...

Is this a Gillian thing? I wonder.

And how can you be sure that boobies are better than peeing standing up? I mean, that's a cool trick. Wish I could do that.

Chad R West said...

"And, I have boobies that are ALL MINE that I can play with whenever I want, which is way more useful than conveniently peeing in the woods"

Are you kidding me?! Do you really believe our tool only comes handy to pee in the woods?

One can utilize it to pass time during a long boring meeting. If you know what I mean... ;)

Btw, nice kicks!

Anonymous said...

i wonder if the whole "embracing your inner girl" comes from a childhood spent as a tomboy. it's hard to shake. even now, at nearly 38, i *still* feel like an imposter when i wear a dress or walk into a particularly fashion girly shop. like somehow i don't really *belong* to le club girl. that said, i'll see your mascara and raise you 2 new lipsticks i got yesterday!

Our Heads Are Helmets said...

i want to borrow that dress!

kajal said...


JP said...

"Hello, Violet. Hey, you look good. That's some dress you got on there." Know the movie this line comes from?

Being able to pee standing up isn't as great as you think. Then there's the whole, standing at the urinal thing- shoulder to shoulder with some guy trying to talk to you while you're trying to pee! Argh! And oh yeah, boobies are great.

Anonymous said...

I'm oblivious to gender most of the time. My director at work told me she didn't go into computer science because she didn't see a lot of women going into computer science. It would never have occurred to me to try to figure out what classes to take as a woman because I'm pretty much never walking around thinking about being a woman.

Griffin knows I do the cooking, but he also knows which parent will be building him the tree house...