I’m not the arbitrator of what women should and should not say. And while I am unapologetically all about girl power in a sexist global culture, I still cringe when I hear women say some things. Of course, words matter and so do their contexts. But if you come from a middle-class background and have some formal education to speak of, and you’re still saying the following, it’s a little embarrassing. Or a lot.
1. “Girls don’t like me because…”
Let’s just get this one out the way. The proliferation of the “cool girl” in pop culture has definitely had a hand in making many girls in society want to have tons of male friends because, “they just don’t get along with girls.” Think about this though. Do you know how insane it is to say that an entire sex/gender doesn’t like you? Chances are, the problem isn’t the entire sex/gender – it’s you. And really what is so special about you that makes you so dislikable to other women? Come on. Let’s just end this infantile attitude once and for all.
2. “I can’t cook a single meal.”
This is something I will say is specifically a Western phenomenon. Or at least I can say in many African cultures, out of sheer potential humiliation by your family, you will learn how to cook. That said there’s a certain segment of people in this part of the world that are proud of their inability to cook. And that goes for both sexes. It is not something to hold out as an achievement in the world when you claim to burn water on the stove.
3. “I don’t care what anyone thinks.”
[Insert eye roll here.] Nobody believes a 14-year-old that claims they don’t care what anyone thinks. The difference is at 14, everyone expects someone to have such a childish view of the world. When you’ve reached your mid-twenties, you should probably let that worldview rest in peace. You do care about what some people think. And you know what? That’s okay. The perspectives of intelligent, insightful, and wise people are invaluable. It’s about choosing the right opinions to care about not deeming all opinions equally irrelevant.
4. “I date for the free food.”
I personally cringe when (hetero-) women expect that they are owed guys paying for dates by virtue of their existence as women. I mean sure, the person who asks the other person out has more of the responsibility to fund the outing. (And men still do more of the asking out.) But nobody should feel entitled to a free meal or free anything where dating is concerned. And it is a thing that some women date for free food. While there is a part of me that wants to call this woman a hustler – after all no man is technically forced to pay in this situation, still, it is truly a sad thing to essentially be using another human being in this way.
5. “I don’t read.”
This statement is usually followed by a bunch of coy giggles. And usually I am left gasping because I don’t understand what is so funny about being proud of not reading. Actually, I need someone to explain this one to me. Is there something “cool” about not reading that I’ve missed? It shouldn’t be heralded as an achievement that you don’t like to engage your mind in easily one of the best pastimes we have available to us as humans.
6. “Guys don’t like it so I’m going to stop…”
One of my all-time favorite Onion articles is commentary about a woman who changes herself to please a man and is reporting happiness in the relationship. At the age of 25, you’re a grown-ass woman or at least you’re on your way to being one. And if you choose to do things or not do things because you’ll think it’ll make guys like you better, you should probably question the kinds of people you’re around in general. All of us have things we need to work on, but to change yourself entirely to please what you think an entire sex wants is madness. Also, remember you don’t need “guys” to like you…maybe you just need one?
7. “Not going to be worried about my finances because I’m going to get married some day.”
Nobody actually says the above sentence so explicitly. But it is depressing the number of women I know or know of, who don’t think of themselves as responsible for their own finances. From not understanding the basics of credit to not “worrying” about their long-term financial well-being because they’ll think they’ll have some man eventually take care of this. I know: What the what?! The world of finance and banking can be an intimidating one – even if you are an educated person. But few things are more empowering as a woman than learning how to take of your money. Because trust that money does matter – you just have to have the right attitude towards it. Besides that, we promised Destiny’s Child ladies.