1. When and how we all get married. I know that it’s not just my group of friends — and I will totally admit that, from time to time, I’ve engaged in the snark myself — but we seriously need to chill. It’s definitely a societal pressure that drives us all to be so weirdly judgmental about the way we get married, but having a really mean Gchat conversation about someone’s engagement photos or acting like a mutual friend died because she got married at 24 is doing no one any favors. Women can get married when they want, and all they really need in that moment are friends who are supportive.
2. The way we look. Ohhhh myyyy godddd, why is Kelly Osbourne still a thing?? Did we really watch her go through three transformative seasons on The Osbournes, where we saw her struggle painfully with body image and public perception, only to see her call Christina Aguilera fat from her throne of lies on Fashion Police? It’s not even that someone like Kelly Obsourne should know better than to call someone fat, it’s that we should all know better at this point. Because we have enough pressure from the rest of the world to look a certain way, we should be able to feel like female company is a safe space, and so often it is totally the opposite. And calling someone else fat doesn’t make us look any better by comparison.
3. How feminine we are. Does feminine even really mean anything? Can’t we be over traditional descriptions of gender presentation? Women who wear a skirt aren’t more or less of a woman than if they wear sweatpants. I can’t take this pressure to look cute as hell when I’m getting milk at the bodega! Femininity is a mindset, and one anyone can have if they want it!!
4. How much sex we have. We all talk a good game about sex positivity, but we still have our moments. Just two days ago I caught myself having that reflex of judgment when I found out a girlfriend was seeing two guys at the same time. It’s unfair, and I know it, because I just don’t have the same reflex for men. Checking myself routinely is something I will likely always have to do. (Thanks, patriarchal education!)
5. “Flirting.” I’ve seen flames alight in many a woman’s eye (including my own) while harshly judging the way another woman will interact with a guy. They will accuse her of “flirting with him” as though a) that were a bad thing, or b) we don’t all flirt like human beings. Sometimes it feels like anything beyond saying hello and asking where the bathroom is can be labeled as shameless flirting in the wrong eyes.
6. Fighting over a guy. I have a friend I lost whom I will NEVER GET BACK because we were fighting over a guy for a three-month period, basically to the death. In retrospect, he was definitely the bad guy in the story, and he was playing both of us and enjoying the attention, but I chose to hate her because… it’s easier to hate women? Either way, that dude has a pencil-thin goatee and I lost a GOOD FRIEND over him. Lesson learned.
7. “Attention whoring.” We all want attention. Humans want attention. A woman taking a cute selfie, or posting a status humblebragging about something, is not more deserving of ire because it’s a woman doing it. The internet is just basically one giant excuse for us all to have constant validation, and just because guys are occasionally more lowkey about how they go about getting approval, it doesn’t mean it’s any less real. That said, I am definitely #bitter as hell when it comes to people who are really good at getting said attention. Exhibit A, from yesterday:
Instagram: Where pretty girls from your high school go to become famous for no reason
— Chelsea Fagan (@Chelsea_Fagan) February 26, 2014
But this is not because I’m mad at them for “attention whoring.” It’s because I’m jealous of their 600-likes-on-a-picture-of-a-latte-and-a-scarf hustle. You go, Pretty Instagram Girls.
8. Wearing things that are “flattering.” If a size 16 wants to wear a crop top, who gives a shit? Is it really affecting your life if another woman is wearing something that you don’t think is putting her curves on perfect display? Men get to walk around wearing whatever they please over their beer bellies and no one is whispering to their girlfriend about how that short-sleeve button down is really not “flattering him,” and he should be wearing something that cinches at the waist. Everyone deserves the freedom to dress in what makes them happy.
9. When and how we are mothers. I have to shout out my coworker Jessica, because that girl has the mental fortitude to be a woman on the internet who has a baby in her 20s, lives a normal life, and writes about it publicly. Every time I see one of her articles that talks about being a mom, or going out, or dating, or whatever, she is met with an onslaught of concern trolls who have a statement to make about everything from how young she is to how irresponsible to how she’s not giving her baby the right vitamin smoothies. And you know what the sad reality there is? It’s mostly other women doing this. Jessica is a great mom and person, and she’s not the exception to the rule. We could all afford to stop mommy-managing.
10. Whether or not we identify as feminist. Until I start seeing entire articles debating over whether or not Larry The Cable Guy considers himself a feminist, or giving him the label against his will — as we freely do with so many female celebrities — this will not be a legitimate endeavor.
11. What we are eating. It is so hard to get over the connotations we have been taught to hold between food and value as women, but it is just so, so sad. The other day I was out to lunch with my boyfriend and the two girls next to us were having that exchange that all women are deeply familiar with, the “justifying our food choices, promising to share or work them off in some capacity, and then eyeing each other’s plates with scrutiny” routine. I realized how awful it is to hear when you are not participating, and how much more awful it is to realize that we’ve all been that girl — and that we never engage in that kind of behavior with men. It made me want to truly check myself every time I start having those weird “food talks,” and to never judge another girl about it again.