The Neat Things Girls Do
I was really impressed by this comment I found under one of my entries:
I hate pink too, but it’s probably a bad idea to encourage her to think that it’s inherently good to like masculine-coded things and bad to like feminine-coded things (and I may be wildly overinterpreting your comment here).
There are too many women like (and including) me (gender non-conforming women, women in male-dominated fields) who spend years working through their own internalized sexism because, in a reaction against the crap that they were getting from the world for being different, they picked up the idea that masculinity was something to take pride in and femininity was something to stamp out in oneself. Compulsory non-femininity is not any better than compulsory femininity.
I cannot “this” this enough.
I wrote an entry at my old joint about what I call “novelty girls,” that is girls/women who luxuriate in the idea that they are snowflakes, that they are not like “those other girls.” They attain novelty girl status because they are misogynists like Sarah Palin or by engaging in an activity (like, say hunting or gaming) that is typically not thought of as feminine. When confronted with the idea that a woman is doing something masculine the impulse is often to think of it is cool…because stuff guys do is inherently cool, right? And all too often when we decide these activities are inherently cool, we simultaneously decide that anything that is “girly” is inherently uncool. I can’t express to you how unfortunate I think that is.
[I am now going to pause and say how much I loath having to put things in terms as simplistic as “girly” and “masculine.” People are people and have far-flung interests, regardless of gender. But for the purposes of shorthanding this conversation I’m going to use these qualifiers, even though they kind of make me want to vomit. ]
As I said in my original entry touching on this topic, it’s silly to think of any woman as novelty. If there’s a hobby or sport or art form or geeky pursuit, there’s a woman getting into it right now. So there’s that. But there’s also the fact that lot of girly stuff is just dead cool.
So what’s a girly pursuit? I suppose it could be anything from pinning things on Pinterest (which I think is a neat way to assemble things that aesthetically pleasing or to visually organize your thoughts) to sewing to crafting to scrapbooking. Things like crafting and scrapbooking are the most egalitarian form of art. That is, they give everyone a chance to dive right in, be creative, have fun and maybe even make something beautiful. It’s play. I think that is AWESOME. This world would be a better place if people played more often.
So rather than turning our noses up at girly stuff, I say we freaking embrace it, and make it as cool as any masculine endeavor. Because it is, dammit.