"I am a woman and I don't even get along with 96% of the female population"
"I am not like the other girls"
"I'm a guys' gal"
I cannot tell you how many times I've seen phrases like these on tweets, posts, t-shirts, memes, and whatevers. Ladies, who are we really saying these phrases to? Why are we saying these statements in the first place? I genuinely am curious as to what we truly mean when we say these terms. Lets open the discussion.
*It is important to note that my experience as a cis woman varies in comparison to those on different gender lines.*
I don't have the answer to why we make a point of differentiating ourselves from other women, but here are some of my thought blurbs regarding my own personal experiences and perspectives:
First off, I am not pointing fingers. I am the first one to admit I used to say 'I'm a guys' gal' all the time. Maybe I was implying that 'I go with the flow, man'. I would go as far as saying that I was inferring there are standards for how "X" women act and how "Y" women act. I wanted to be seen as "X" and far from "Y".
I have found myself in situations connecting with peers who have said to me, 'it's funny, I usually do not get along with women but, you're cool'. I've caught myself saying the same things to other women. Is this a funny way to attempt to bond? Regardless, there is great irony in these actions.
To me, there is a sense of warped emphasized femininity (a term used to describe a want to support the interest and desires of society, specifically men). Whether we are saying these expressions to men or women, are we trying to portray a sense of desirability to the world? What person has not wanted to feel desirable at some point in their life?
Why I'm trying to stop using these terms.
As women, there are enough barriers on us let alone creating walls between ourselves. I hear time after time - from multiple women - the complaint of how unapproachable we make ourselves to each other. Is this true? Are we caught in a static script of other women? I think back to personal first encounters meeting certain women my own age. I've caught myself unknowingly judging appearances, voices and characteristics like how shy or outgoing other women are. Can you relate? If so, what or who do you think we are comparing them to? Ourselves or constructions of societal standards?
Preconceived conceptions are dangerous in the long run. If you're a 'guys' gal' like I once strove to be, we end up missing the opportunities for amazing collaborations and potential friendships. We end up missing the ability to grow as a collective and we risk perpetuating the exact same stereotypes that divide us in the first place.
Regardless of what we mean, let's be easy on ourselves the way we should be easy on her. We are all fighting the same fight. The word unity is not overused for nothing.
Different Rooute Business Launch - 2018
Photo credit: Kylee Nunn