GIRL CULTURE: Let's Talk Shit Behind Its Back

I've never been very good at fitting into what I call "girl culture." I find it difficult to say things indirectly or behind someone's back without mouthing off to his/her face. I don't care if I'm wearing the same outfit on the same day as one of my friends. I won't put another woman down just because my bestie has beef with her. There was a time in my life when I did all this stuff—and more—to fit in with everyone around me, but at a certain point in high school it just became too hard for me to do these things that did not come naturally.

There are some so-called "girl rules" I have always followed. They include supporting your friends when they're down, employing a "hands off" policy when it comes to your BFF's exes and if your buddy's too drunk to say anything intelligent—assuming she can when sober—you peel that frat guy off her and send her home in a cab. (Oh, and when it comes to tampons, pay it forward.)

I used to think I was pretty unique, that I was one of the chosen few women who just "got it" and I only got along with dudes because other ladies were irredeemable. When I was young I went through the ringer with female friends. They pulled all manner of crap to get me fired, steal my boyfriend, take my other friends from me—you name it—and I thought it was because all women were terrible and mean.

But then I met some friends who also "got it" and mostly eschewed the terrible parts of these supposed "girl rules." At that point I realized that the girls who had fucked me over 1. were probably just shitty people in general and 2. had been conditioned to believe that women be competin'. And women do compete.

We compete for the small number of high-level jobs made available to us as opposed to the large number made available to men. We compete to find the perfect guy and get married and pop out a few perfect kids before we hit the age when we are no longer seen as attractive by mainstream culture. Most terribly, we compete for that attractiveness itself. We want to be the prettiest and the thinnest because good looks are currency for us. They are, in fact, the only currency we think we have unless at some point in our lives we have actively tried to break out of this mold we've been shoehorned into. This sense of scarcity isn't something we're born with; it's something we're taught to internalize and then eventually fear.

Here's an exercise: say you're crammed into a small box with a group of other people. You might be able to find a way out on your own, but it takes a lot of effort and you have no guarantee it will work. You could fight the other people for more space and maybe if you win a few times you'll have more room to stretch out, but at the end of the day you're still stuck in that fucking box.

...Or there's a third option.

What if everybody got together as a team and decided to tear down the box from the inside?

Wouldn't that be the simplest, most efficient solution?

***

My two best friends insist that they don't get along with other women. This conversation comes up at least once a month when we hang together. I always point out that I am a woman, and every other woman we hang out with is a woman, and we all seem to get along swimmingly.

"But you guys are different."

No, we're not.

What you think of as "girl culture" is just a bunch of bullshit that's been shoved down your throat by your sexist elders and politicians, your television, your magazines and that terrible boyfriend you had before you knew how to love yourself. If you think that women are all one thing—or just a collection of crappy, lesser things—you are a part of the problem.

Women are people just like men and girl culture can fuck right off. How about we get rid of it entirely and claim our rights as flawed but whole human beings instead of buying into it? Why don't we own our friendships with other women and talk about them proudly?

I'm a "Girl's Girl," and that statement has nothing to do with my shoe obsession or any urge to beat a bitch down should she flirt with my friend's boyfriend. It means that I am a woman, that women are people, and that I believe we women-people should all get together and try to tear down the fucking box we're stuck inside. We should tear down that box—and we should do it with our acrylic tips if we have to, because shit is THAT fucking serious—and then when we're done we'll go and get mani-pedi touch ups together and drink wine and talk about how we should run the world.

...Because when it comes down to it, that is exactly what they're afraid we will do.