Friday, September 9, 2011

The Women

I have to be honest.  It's taken me a really long time to see the intrinsic value of female companionship.   Even though I'm a feminist, my reasoning behind the quest for female equality isn't because I think there is anything particularly special about women.    To quote Amy Poehler playing Hillary Clinton in a Saturday Night Live skit, "I didn't want a woman to be president!  I wanted to be president and I just happen to be a woman!"  This is sort of how I feel about feminism I don't think women in any way are smarter, more empathetic, or more capable than men.  But I think I am smart, empathetic, and capable and I happen to be a woman.  Thus there must be more of us out there and those smart, empathetic, and capable individuals shouldn't be handicapped because of their gender.  In my women studies classes, however, I never "got" the attitude that women are somehow superior to men in terms of any qualitative asset.   I heard argument after argument about how "women can solve all the world's problems if men got out of the way," and that all men knew was aggression and destruction.  I thought those arguments were pure, unadulterated, bullshit.  I've known some pretty stupid women and I find it hard to imagine they could reorganize a closet, let alone solve the world's problems.   Similarly, I have known some pretty pacific men.  If I had to rephrase, I would say "people could solve all the world's problems if other stupid people got out of the way" and all a lot of people know is aggression and destruction.  Such an inordinate amount of faith in women puzzled and enraged me.

"I just happen to be a woman"

My attitude probably comes from my earliest experiences with the "fairer sex" (said with quite a bit of sarcasm).   In middle school I witnessed girls do things to each other (mainly to me) that were so cruel and manipulative Machiavelli himself would probably have advised them to take it down a few notches.  I never have surrounded myself with female company, preferring the no bullshit approach of most of my male friends, not to mention their ability to appreciate a good dick joke. This trend continued into high school and college, where I found my niche as fabulous best friend to still-in-the-closet gay men.   It was perfect, we laughed at the bitchy mean girls and were also able to covetously skim the J. Crew catalogue.  

 Anytime I've tried to participate in some "sisterhood" endeavor its been an absolute disaster.   And I have tried.   I was a cheerleader in high school but I failed to adequately grasp how important it was to wear spandex and act superior, and while the other cheerleaders gushed they would be bonded forever because of the experience, I fantasized about my teammates getting hit by a train, bows and pom poms flying.   In college for about two minutes I toyed with pledging a sorority, but after nearly choking on my own vomit when one of the sorority presidents opened a rush ceremony with the line, "Some people come to college to find a husband, I came to find my bridesmaids" I decided my gag reflex was just too sensitive.

Welcome to my own personal and private hell...

   So it was a surprise to everyone, and especially to me, that right out of college I landed a job at an office which is exclusively employed by women.   You couldn't imagine the arguments and personality clashes that ensue from the excessive amount of estrogen in the atmosphere.   Also, needless to say, every day is a fashion show because someone is wearing a pair of shoes/headband/dress/jacket that is totally adorable.   This irritates me and makes me think maybe there is something wise in confining females to the kitchen without drivers licenses.  Then I remember, there are smart, empathetic, capable members of my gender out there.   Somewhere.

But lately as I've bonded with a select motley crew of my coworkers, I'm beginning to reformulate my stance on intra-female friendships.  I thought about this as I was out with two of my coworkers, Sam and Claire, drinking bloody mary's and laughing so hard I thought I'd crack a rib--I love having female friends.   I never understood why it was necessary before, because if I wanted to talk fashion or gossip I could always just round up a gay, and I wouldn't have to worry about them being jealous if I started talking to a boy they secretly liked (thank God we fish from a completely different pond.)  Recently, however, I am realizing how much fun a "night out with the girls" can be, and that a lot of the competition, insecurity, and bitchiness subsides after schooling ends.   Instead, you're left with the things you have to common, which strangely enough, seems to extend well beyond similar genitalia.   I guess I'm a convert.  I still don't think they're superior, but I've found a pretty cool bunch of smart, empathetic, and capable ladies.   

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