I find it hard to believe that this is an experience that is only limited to myself. I often hear it in class, I hear it at bars, and in groups of friends: women proclaiming, “I just can’t hang out with other women” or “I prefer to be around men, they’re just easier to get along with.” Also, my personal favorite, “Girls just create too much drama!” If I have any pet peeves, this is probably it.
There are a couple of things that come to mind when I hear this. First, that I am a woman and that I am next to this person and I have ears. So yeah, I’m a woman with ears and you don’t like hanging out with me (or would prefer not to) because of my sex. Secondly, and maybe this ought to leave me more confused than anything, the speaker is also female.
Does this mean that the speaker is different from the rest of the female population? Is she alone the one drama free, pleasant woman in existence? I have my doubts. Why would you associate negative qualities of something that you are? You obviously know that being born a female does not make you one way or another, but why hold these stereotypes against other women?
By saying this, you’re saying that men are just more enjoyable to be around and that developing any meaningful bond with another women is difficult because we are irrational/dramatic. That it is preferable to just be “one of the guys.” Ariel Levy put this eloquently in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs, “There is just one thing: Even if you are a woman who achieves the ultimate and becomes like a man you will still always be like a woman. And as long as womanhood is thought of as something to escape from, something less than manhood, you will be thought less of, too.”
I’m not sure why females say this, or anyone for that matter. Maybe it is to seem like you can relate to males, to put males at ease? It’s confusing because the first thing that comes to the minds of men you’re conversing with is probably “she is a female.” Sometimes it is more subtle, like when women are told to “grow a pair” or to stop being a “pussy.”
Jessica Valenti, in her book Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide To Why Feminism Matters, asks to hear the worst thing you can call a woman and the responses are pretty typical: slut, whore, skank, bitch. Then she asks what the worst thing a man can be called? Males were called pussys, girls, fags, bitch. What Valenti noticed was that the worst thing for men was to be associated with being a female. Valenti says, “The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult. Now tell me that’s not royally fucked up.”
Being a female is not a condition to overcome. To the women who “just can’t be friends with other women,” remember this, there are other woman out there who think the same exact thing about you – so why stereotype other woman? I’m a woman and I like to think that I’m a pretty decent person, so please don’t make implications about who I am based on my sex.
Author: Elizabeth Lemon
Liz is a recent graduate at UMASS-Lowell. Her personal blog is Post College Progression.