Tag Archives: women

How Girls Learn Emotional Reciprocity (and Why Boys Don’t)

From that same Metafilter discussion:

“Adolescent female friendships are LEGENDARILY difficult and drama-prone. And they are! Being an adolescent girl and navigating the emotional landscape of female friendship is hella hard! It’s not just media hype to sell Mean Girls narratives! But I think the narrative the media wants to attach to it is “girls are so over-emotional and mean to each other” when actually I think the deeper narrative here is, “Girls make intense emotional demands on their friendships in ways that boys don’t, and girls have hyperdramatic adolescent friendship landscapes because they are learning to engage in reciprocal emotional relationships without an adult to mediate them. Adolescent girl friend drama is children learning to manage reciprocal emotional relationships like adults. Boys friendships are not, culturally, allowed to be so intense, dramatic, or emotionally-involving, so I think boys do not get the opportunity to learn and practice adult interpersonal relationships in the same way, and boys friendships simply do not place the same emotional demands on them. Girls MUST learn to function with emotional reciprocity in their friendships or get shut out of them; emotionality is so proscribed in male friendships that they simply never face that demand.

“So you have a lot of girls arriving in their late teens and early 20s with a decade of watching adult women manage other people’s emotions and considering it a skill to emulate, and then a decade of struggling through the whirlpools of adolescent female friendships and learning to do the work themselves. They’ve served their apprenticeships. They face demands of reciprocity from other women they’re friends with, and they’re accustomed to the idea that relationships involve giving as well as taking.

“Some boys, however, arrive in their late teens and early 20s without having ever had a peer make emotional demands on them, and without having ever had to function in a peer relationship where they have to both give and take. Their closest emotional relationships are with parents, and parent-to-child is give-give-give so the child is take-take-take. I think a lot of these young men, it has literally never occurred to them that someone they are emotionally close to would make any emotional demands on them, because that has literally never happened, because their early childhood years were full of nothing but women, and their adolescent years featured culturally-limited friendships that were emotionally superficial. So some of these guys? Yeah, they finish college and start dating seriously and they’re perfectly nice guys who have literally no idea how to function as emotional adults because they’re only just now starting to practice. They have the emotional literacy of 11-year-old girls. And, yeah, basically someone’s going to end up having to raise them from 11-year-old-ness in interpersonal relationships to adulthood, because it’s not really a task you can accomplish in the absence of other people with whom to be interpersonally related. …

“And Because Patriarchy we’re going to act like that’s just how 23-year-old men act and all roll our eyes instead of recognizing that, no, they’re actually behaving like 11-year-old girls, but it’s pretty embarrassing for them because it’s one thing when you’re 11 but when you’re 23 you really ought to know better. And at 11 you’re just making everyone around you miserable but at 23 you have the full power to ruin lives with your bullshit.

Full discussion in context.

Dating an Emotional Charlatan

From a Metafilter discussion about modern dating and emotional labor:

“A few years ago, one of my friends began dating an accomplished lawyer who made good money. He was charming and generous. He 100% seemed like he had his shit together and could keep up with her. He cooked for her occasionally and his home was clean and comfortable.

“When they moved in together, his mother emailed her a list of links to Brooks Brothers and his measurements. He had never bought work clothes for himself. During the year they lived together, she had to put him on an allowance because he ran out of money most months. He wanted takeout every night and would pout if she offered to cook instead. His idea of helping out around the house was to unload the dishwasher once a week and demand enthusiastic praise for it. At the end of that year he put extreme pressure on her to re-sign their lease. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to break the lease two months later, when she broke up with him “out of nowhere.”

“I assure you, the men who are good at fooling women into believing they are competent adults and quality partners are good at fooling you into believing the same. This kind of emotional charlatan isn’t someone a few unlucky women meet in their 20s–these men are everywhere, across professions and classes. I’m definitely skeptical of your confidence in determining which men are good partners from the outside. If women–who have a much larger stake in not dating man-size toddlers–are so often wrong, how do you know that your assessments of other men are correct?”

Full discussion.

Diane Freeleng, Feminist Horror Movie Icon

My sister and I are HUGE HUGE HUGE fans of Poltergeist. It was one of the movies that played 24/7 the summer that we had cable as kids. Schlock Corridor makes the case for a feminist reading of Poltergeist (1982) – focusing on JoBeth Williams’s portrayal of Diane Freeleng as the take charge one:

“While Steven has a mock gun battle with his neighbor, Diane is giving Carol Anne her first understanding of mortality, creating an almost Egyptian-level sarcophagus for the corpse of Tweety.

“This is the first time the film presents us with one of its themes: only women can get things done. Throughout the movie it’s female characters who are forced to actually effect change, and it all begins with Diane’s tender ceremony for Tweety. Later Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Strait) is the glue that holds the parapsychology team together, then Tangina is the key to the final rescue of Carol Anne – which Diane must do herself while Steven can’t even hold the rope correctly.

She’s a cool mom who seems to understand where Dana is coming from as she goes through her adolescent angst – possibly because she was around Dana’s age when she got knocked up. She’s also a stay at home mom. In 2012 this character probably couldn’t exist – she would have to be a writer or a painter or sell crafts on Etsy because the modern movie world doesn’t truly respect stay at home moms. But for all of her fond remembrances of ‘the old days,’ Diane doesn’t seem unhappy to be at home with the kids. Steven’s adulthood has turned him into a person he doesn’t truly recognize – it’s turning him into James Karen, in fact – but adulthood has been better to Diane.

I like to think that it was Carol Anne’s birth that started it all, though. It certainly fits thematically with what comes later – her closet turns into a huge vagina, and she is returned from the Other Side in an ectoplasmic birth caul. The rescue of Carol Anne is a rebirth, almost quite literally when she and Diane aren’t breathing in the tub. It also helps explain why The Beast is interested in the girl. It seems unlikely that the Freeling’s pool is the first serious digging in Cuesta Verde, but it is plausible that Carol Anne was the first baby born on the development. That makes Carol Anne’s rebirth a cleansing new start, a reclamation of the birth process.

“Carol Anne as the focus also feeds into the film’s essential feminism. The Beast wants to use Carol Anne as a beacon to attract the souls trapped between this side and the other; it’s her life force – something that comes from the feminine – that attracts them. The Beast is specifically said to be male – a male entity that is abusing the warmth of femininity to devour innocent souls.

The diminutive psychic is the final element of the film’s feminist trilogy – the cool mom, smart doctor and tough as nails medium seem to make up the life cycle of childhood.”

Here’s the trailer for the new remake (with a male psychic – boo!!!):

Bjork on Women, Music, Auteurs, and Authorship

Bjork talks to Pitchfork about her new album (coming after the collapse of her marriage) and about the unique challenges of women in the music industry:

“I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times. Girls now are also faced with different problems. I’ve been guilty of one thing: After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself.”

On the music press’s refusal to see her collaborators as contributors without removing her as the auteur voice:

“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it.”

“I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.”

Full interview http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/9582-the-invisible-woman-a-conversation-with-bjork/

Let’s Ruin Video Games

Found this rant via Metafilter:

“My name is Arden, and after a few days of thinking I’ve decided that I’m going to ruin video games.

I’m going to be doing everything in my power to destroy them completely. Walking simulators about feelings and emotions as far as the eye can see! Guns that shoot kisses! Lady characters that aren’t designed to cater to the whims of straight men! I’m hiding loving queer couples in every treasure chest instead of new armor. Every game will now be required to have at least one section that can be described as “too” personal. Fuck, if I’m feeling really bold, I might even throw some non-white characters into a game or two! I’ll magically replace every copy of every big-budget first person shooter with either Gone Home or Dear Esther and listen to the agitated shrieks of gamers.

Non-men have been “ruining” games for a long time, of course, by virtue of existing and trying to make the medium and the spaces around it more inclusive and less festering garbage.”

Full essay at http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/95229096014/lets-ruin-video-games

Part of Ruin Jam http://itch.io/jam/ruinjam2014

Arden’s newest project is a game called Date or Die http://dateordiegame.com/

Photo from her game Kindness Coins http://fakegirlgamer.tumblr.com/post/47442539017/funny-comady-man-you-play-as-a-person-that-a

From this Metafilter thread http://www.metafilter.com/142425/Ruin-Jam-2014

How to Raise Independent-Minded Daughters

From a parenting discussion on Metafilter:

“You don’t have to have a degree in women’s studies or a nuanced understanding of gender politics to raise independent-minded daughters. My father certainly didn’t – he went to trade school instead of college and that kind of theoretical book-study was really not what he was into.

“But what my father did do, though, was encourage thinking in general. And he let me see that that was something in me that he valued. I’ve talked before about how Dad liked playing devil’s advocate in discussions just for the sake of getting a discussion going – I was actually one of his favorite sparring partners, in fact. I remember when I was in high school and we somehow got going on a conversation on the death penalty one night at dinner, and at one point he said something that just really got me fired up to the point that I forcefully put down the fork I was holding and said one of those “now, HOLD UP a minute” kinds of comments that lets you know that someone’s about to launch into an impassioned statement – and I was surprised to see Dad burst out with a grin like a kid on Christmas and hear him mutter, “oh, I love this.” And that’s when it hit me that Dad was excited to hear what I thought, and valued that I got impassioned about ideas.

My father valued my brain, and let me see that he valued it. He put value on me as a person rather than as a girl, and let me know that. And that’s a big part of what made me a feminist. Reading about gender theory and such can help you wrap your own brain around things, but your daughters may respond much more to having an example of a person who treats them as a whole person.”

Full thread http://ask.metafilter.com/254119/Feminist-basics-for-dads#3692024

Image from this post about Girls Who Code http://thenextweb.com/us/2013/01/24/girls-who-code-expands-across-the-us-with-summer-programs-in-detroit-san-jose-and-miami/

Good Groups, Bad Groups and Gender Representation in Entertainment

Commenter on a Reddit thread about Wolf of Wall Street:

“If you continually see, over and over and over again, men doing these great things, and women not even present for it, your stupid human programming is going to kick in and those are going to be the set rules. Good Group, Bad Group. Or – in my case, COOL Group, Bad Group. The need to see someone who looks like you doing the things you want to do is SO huge. It’s SO necessary to have positive self worth.

Imagine only seeing you as a sidekick or a hot reward. Maybe you would be like me – I was like, “That’s NOT me. I’m more like [the White Guy]!”

Like, it was possible for me to identify with male characters, but in order to do that, every single day I enjoyed that media, I would have to set aside the female part of myself. I honestly didn’t realize how damaging it was until recently. Or how easy it had become for me to dislike it, to think less of being female. I wanted to be cool, and cool was completely synonymous with being male. This is what I was taught, so it’s what I learned, and I would do my best to be that, by golly by gosh.

In order to pretend to be someone I wanted to be – fun and kind and goofy – I had to pretend to be a guy. In order to be the kind of hero I wanted to be, I was Flash or I was Robin – Wonder Woman wasn’t fun, she wasn’t goofy. Batgirl was never really part of the adventures, Crystal Kane just sat up in Sky Vault and ran a computer, I wanted to be part of the adventure! I was Ace McCloud! I was Michelangelo, not boring April! Stupid, stick in the mud girls aren’t part of the adventures! Or if they are – imagine a child pretending to be one of those super sexual heroines? Just…? Why is that what they’re limited to.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/cringe/comments/1zd1cs/female_version_of_the_wolf_of_wall_street/cft05e8

Image from Etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/89972756/spiderman-spidergirl-tutu-perfect-for