Girls don’t like boys who “don’t like girls who…”

My office is very casual, so I can get away with wearing pretty much anything. A few days ago I showed up to work wearing a nice high topknot, a full face of makeup including lipstick, and a decent looking outfit. The following day I showed up in a ball cap and a plaid shirt, with a bare face. Still presentable, just less shiny. My co-worker sees me in said ball cap and tells me she thinks that I “dress like a boy and a girl”. She has a tone in her voice that infers she is not impressed. Right, yes. Thanks for that. It reminds me of when my grandmother gives me her rendition of the “boys don’t like girls who…” speech when I’m exhibiting a habit she deems unladylike (ie: wearing a ball cap, swearing, not crossing my legs, etc.)

Lately, it seems as though the topic of women’s “trends” that men hate is all over the Internet. Well, they can choke on their opinions, thank you very much. This also goes for anyone who thinks that women should embody a certain persona in order to be considered an attractive sexual partner. Pro tip: no one wants to date/hang out/have sex with someone who feels their opinion is more important that someone else’s based on what’s between their legs.

The list of complaints is extensive. Boys don’t like girls who… wear baggy clothes, wear revealing clothes, wear too much makeup, don’t wear makeup, are smarter than them, swear, don’t shave, have short hair, etc. I could go on for a while. I have never once heard someone say “Girls don’t like boys who…” and that means something. It means that women and girls have been continuously forced to act, dress, speak, and carry themselves in a certain way for the sole purpose of appeasing any and all potential sexual partners. Our society has been putting pressure on us to fit into a mould of the ideal female, one that suits a very small amount of us. I refuse to change myself to fit someone else’s idea of who I should be.

I have a quick list of what trends men should avoid if they want to be considered a viable sexual option (or a decent human): obsession with ‘natural’ beauty, jokes about periods, lack of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community overall but maintaining an obsession with lesbian sex, catcalling and other predatory behaviour, unsolicited dick pics (does anyone think these actually work?), and pushing your opinions about women’s aesthetics onto people who simply didn’t ask.

Ladies, however many times you’ve heard that speech, I hope you all continue to act like you. You can’t please anyone but yourself, so do what feels best for you. Don’t change yourselves or settle because for every person who thinks “boys don’t like girls who…”, there are like five people who love you the way you are. You don’t exist to be someone else’s desire.

-D

Next Question

We need to talk about The Wendy Williams Show. More specifically, Priyanka Chopra’s interview with Wendy Williams which aired this past week. Regardless of the sex of the interviewer, questions directed at female guests are often sexist and centre around stereotypically feminine topics such as fashion, hairstyles, and dating, and tends to stay away from content regarding their actual achievements.

The Wendy Williams Show is your average talk show: celebrity interviews, beauty advice, gossip, etc. Recently, she had Priyanka Chopra on her program as she was promoting her new movie Baywatch. But instead of asking Priyanka about the movie or her other achievements (she got her start as a Bollywood actress, has starred in 50+ Bollywood films, and continues to act in India after having made it in Hollywood), Wendy grills her on fashion, dating, and the love life of her friend, Meghan Markle. The movie was not mentioned until the last two minutes of the interview.

I know that this is a typical avenue for talk shows to take but what makes it more concerning is that Wendy was being entirely anti-feminist.* She spent the majority of the interview talking about Priyanka’s attendance at this year’s Met Gala. The conversation was originally centred around the dress and hairstyle Priyanka chose for that night (which is kind of blah in itself), but quickly turned into badgering due to her single status at the event, with Wendy blatantly asking “Where’s your date?” as if it were a necessary accessory. She tries to minimize the aggressiveness of her statement by adding “just asking” at the end. Priyanka gracefully stated that she doesn’t need a boyfriend, or even a date, to enjoy those events, and further that she isn’t really looking to date at all. In order to move the conversation along, Wendy suddenly agrees with the narrative that a date is not a requirement for red carpet attendance, completely negating the inferences of the previous question.

When asked about Meghan Markle, Priyanka was quick to point out that Meghan is her own person with separate and worthy achievements, aside from who she’s dating. When asked about Meghan’s love life, Priyanka didn’t have much to say and she shouldn’t. It’s not for her to tell, and she respects Meghan enough not to say too much. Wendy, on the other hand, continued to push questions about Meghan. It is one thing to ask women questions that would never be asked of a man (like what designer they’re wearing, etc.), but it’s another not to accept the answers as given, to push farther until you get the desired answer.

Additionally, when asked her opinion of Meghan’s relationship, and whether she thinks the pair might get married, Priyanka didn’t have much to say. I’m aware that it seems to be how society works, but asking women’s opinions on the lives of other women is gross. It’s a recipe for disaster with a singular goal: to create tension. We love to pit women against each other, but why? To promote a feeling in women that we are never good enough; we need to be like that girl, have shinier hair than her, a cuter partner, or be thinner. It is high time that we stop comparing ourselves to each other. We’re all cute, smart, hard-working, etc. and we as women need to build each other up, not comparing achievements, or tearing each other down. Take the first step and tell the women in your life that you’re proud of them.

-D

To see the full interview, click the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZmuf5SH_Qw

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*I am aware that it is unlikely that Wendy comes up with all her own questions, etc., and there are producers who steer the show’s direction.

Professional Prejudice

I’m sure a lot of you folks have been on job interviews. Maybe they went well, maybe not so much. For any men out there: for even one second, did any part of you wonder whether you didn’t get the job based on your clothing/hair choices? Unlikely.

Today’s post is about something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately, especially in a law school, and that’s what it takes for a woman to be seen as a professional. Dressing business-like is already harder for women than it is for men. For the most part, men can pick out a suit or pants and a dress shirt and be done with it. Shower, shave, pick a tie, and walk out the door. Their bodies are entirely covered, likely in a neutral colour, and they probably look great. For women, it’s a much more complex process.

Recently, law firms in my area hosted interviews to hire potential summer students. Although I did not participate in the process, many of my friends did. For the most part, they all prepared the same way. However, in addition to having to prepare actual answers to possible interview questions, my female friends also spent a lot of time preparing their outfits and how they’d wear their hair and makeup. Now, this is where guys might throw their heads back and laugh at a girl meticulously choosing a “look”. It’s no secret that women are judged more harshly than men based on their appearances in almost all situations, including job interviews and other professional settings. When getting ready for an interview or to meet someone important, we constantly struggle with how we will be perceived. How high of a neckline? Skirt or pants? Heels or flats? Jewelry or none? These might sound like inconsequential decisions to many men and even some women, but the struggle to be perceived as competent and powerful yet feminine, as well as to be taken seriously, is SO real. We are constantly told that dressing in an over-feminine manner (which, in some places, could even mean just wearing a stereotypically feminine colour or a skirt of any length) is a distraction and somehow shows that we don’t take our jobs seriously. Yet when a girl rocks a pant suit or wears no makeup, she’s considered to be too masculine and unapproachable, and receives the same criticism.

I want women to be taken seriously when applying for articling positions or summer internships, or whatever other job they want. I hate the idea of my friends stressing out in their rooms the night before an interview, wondering how to put together a sophisticated outfit that will show both professionalism and femininity. I hate that they stressed over whether to wear their hair in a bun or a ponytail, or to straighten it or not. I hate to think about them considering exactly how to apply their makeup so that it’s subtle and “natural”, even though they might not wear makeup at all in their every day life (for more rants on makeup, see Of Makeup and Men (Mar 9)). The unfortunate truth is that many feel the need to make these decisions, in order to be seen as a hireable candidate. Why does this stuff matter? I’m all for looking clean, professional, and competent, but why does so much extra work have to go into this process for a woman? What a waste of brain power.

After the interview process at my school, I learned that the firms hired many less women than men. This is infuriating particularly because many of the women who interviewed this year are at the top of their class. Plenty of genuinely smart and hard working women were not offered summer jobs, and why not? I can’t say for sure. It makes me nervous to wonder whether their gender or their outfits were part of the reason. The world is missing out on some amazing minds because they can’t get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that women do not play second-fiddle. In the work force, in whatever form that takes for you, men and women should be seen as humans overall, and the best PERSON for the job should be chosen.

I can’t stop the world from spinning the way it does, but know this: ladies, your resumé, your personality, and your carriage all say more about you than anything you could ever wear. I hope none of you spend a single second doubting yourselves and what you’re about, because being sure of that is way more important than what’s on your back.

They say that it’s a man’s world… but it doesn’t have to be.

**Edit: the original copy of this post stated specific statistics regarding exactly how many men and women were hired through the interview process, however, I’ve discovered that the information given to me was false.

business

– D