Right before the election I sent a tweet out into the universe about how I wanted to write a post about all the things I liked about the ladies. In the political climate of lady-bashing and ladies-are-only-ladies-if-they-are-straight-and-also-make-babies and all of the pro-life talk that seems to take the life of the fetus and place it far above the life (in all of it’s many faceted glory, not just the in the ground or above the ground way) of the living breathing lady, I found all the negativity exhausting.
So positivity! I had an ill-formed plan to combat the CRAP with my masterful grasp on the English language. Let’s do this, I thought. I imagined it to be a list. Pithy, but thoughtful. Maybe a top 10 something or other. But then something happened, I started to really think about why I think women are amazing, and I realized it’s incredibly fucking complicated. Like, incredibly incredibly.
Here is what I’m going to admit out loud: I sometimes really love the lady-stereotypes. Nurturing? Able to compromise? Passionate? The ability to multi-task, socially conniving, the ability to wear high heels. I like those things. I take pride in those things. I wear high heels maybe 5 times a year and the rest of the time I dress like a camp counselor, but if you want to label me as someone who rocks a 5 inch stiletto, I WILL TAKE IT. And when I say socially conniving, I really mean – socially complex? Able to read social landscapes, the skill of manipulation, etc. Maybe this is just something I like about me, as long as I am using my powers for good. But I also enjoy this stereotype. It’s a little dangerous, a little badassery.
So I thought about all of those things and how if I actually wrote them in a list I would for sure be called out as being a walking talking Cosmo mag, perpetuating the flat-ness of women. Because we are complex and we aren’t all one thing. A vagina does not make it so. It doesn’t mean you wear lipstick and it doesn’t even mean you have babies. It doesn’t mean you have long hair or straight teeth or enjoy kissing boys.
The vagina means some things. It means we pee sitting down, generally speaking. If you have ovaries and a uterus it means you get a period, generally speaking. And I guess that’s about all the things I could come up with that are the same for every lady. And I don’t even really like getting my period and I don’t even really like sitting down to pee, so they didn’t make my list.
And then I thought about the women I really really really like, and it turns out I like almost all women except for the mean ones. Or the condescending ones. I pretty much like the same amount of women as I do men, really. But the point is – when I thought about making my list of all the awesome bits of women, I thought about a few in particular: My best friends, My mom, and women I admire (like Gloria Steinem and Margaret Atwood for example). And the one thing they all had in common was: you don’t have to be just one thing to be a feminist. You can be a first grade teacher who likes puzzles, or have long hair and wear a bra, or grow all of your own food/write post-apocolyptic-feminist-hippy novels/be Canadian, make a lot of money, make no money, work in a completely male dominated world and raise a daughter who loves barbies, be incredibly compassionate and selfless, have a dark sense of humor and love a good martini.
I like how we can be all things all at the same time or none of them at all.
I like how orchids remind me of women.
I like big hair and big boobs and big butts.
I like pixie cuts and skinny legs and flat chests.
I like quiet talkers and loud laughers.
I like women who think and have opinions and who let other people think and have opinions. I try to be that one, I don’t always succeed.
I like ladies who have babies and those who choose not to.
I admire women who cover in the United States, because it takes a certain amount of bravery I don’t understand or possess.
I like the girls who giggle in a big group on the bus because I used to be and still am those girls.
There are so many things to like I don’t know how to end this post. I do know that it made me really happy to write, because it’s kind of awesome to list all of the good things about people. Even if they don’t stick to every person in that category, they are still true and good things. Ladies, like every demographic ever, are complicated, and that’s what I like about them.