I’ll start by saying I have three older brothers. Yes, I’m that girl who thinks growing up with boys was cool. (I have a younger sister too but I’m a decade older than her so I didn’t exactly grow up “with” her as much as I watched her grow up.) Anyway, back to growing up with boys. Yes – it was fun. I can say that my brothers were my first friends. They’re also part of the reason I was kind of a brat. Okay, maybe I’m still a little bit of a brat sometimes. Partially because of them, I love and talk sports, I make friends by teasing people, and I know how to “hang” with “the guys,” and all that good stuff.
Somewhere in my teen years, you got cool points if guys saw you as a chill female. If boys thought you were cool, then you, person with XX chromosome, were in fact cool. This way of thinking has permeated the current modern society we live in. Guys are seen as laid back, relaxed, and uncomplicated while girls, as we all know, “are full of drama.” And this kind of attitude has metamorphosed the perceptions girls have of each other. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard another girl say a form of, “Girls just don’t like me. Guys are so much easier to hang out with.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hold that attitude defiantly at one point. I’d be lying if I said I don’t still sometimes gravitate towards guys in social situations because of the accustomed perception that guys are less judgmental than girls. Ever since I was young, girls always seemed nastier and unkinder to me – they are the ones I associate with mostly being cliquey. In my adulthood, I have often been warned about how women treat each other in the workplace, especially in subordinate-superior contexts. We’ve all heard the tales of how women at the top seem to make lives difficult for women below them. So in many ways, females have been conditioned to see other females as foes and competition first, and to wannabe guys’ girls.
I think it’s a fascinating phenomenon – WGG – but a phenomenon that does not help womankind at all. In seeking guys’ validation in this way, a lot of women perpetuate men as being the standard and ultimate deciders of what constitutes pleasant constructions of womanhood. Women, in their own way, place men in a position of power through fighting for their seat at a table of being one of the guys. And the cost is many times permitting sexist judgments on other women, reassured that they of course, are an anomaly with respect to these judgments.
I like guys, I’ve always liked guys, and growing up with boys, it’s an easy default position for me to be one of the boys. And I’m sure there are a lot of girls who may feel like this. But I have wonderful relationships with many women. So ultimately I had to realize that I cannot allow for an accident of birth, combined with the social conditioning of society’s attitudes towards women to affect how I see an entire gender – an entire gender that I am a part of. And this is the biggest the mistake of WGGs: constructing guys in a positive light at the expense of constructing girls in a negative life.
Maybe I’ll always be one of the boys in some sense, but I’m happy to report this doesn’t keep me from also being one of the girls. And so maybe a question worth pondering if you find yourself slipping into the role of a WGG or simply thinking other women don’t like you: If you think an entire gender of people dislike you, is it really the entire gender that has the problem? (Or are you the problem?)