Weekly digest of thoughts at work, feminist edition:

One of the guys at work kept playing catch with the other guys with one of those wristguard beanie bags you use in front of your mousepad. He kept tossing it at people (men) and saying “think fast!” or “heads up!” One person (man) caught it with mediocre agility and the tosser asked him if he played any sort of sports. Because catching a bean bag has a prerequisite 4 years of a sport. His response: “Well I was never the quarterback.” Which I assumed was a jolly euphemism meaning you don’t need a prerequisite 4 years of sport to catch a bean bag. Then he followed with, “I was the wide receiver.” So not a euphemism. Quite literal, quite important. When the next person (woman) walked in the original tosser made a motion to throw it to her but then didn’t, because throwing a bean bag at a girl is a joke. Because she won’t catch it. Because she’s uncoordinated. So it’s funny. Haha! I sat seething, pretending to read my novel that I brought to work that day, wanting very much to snatch the bean bag from the original tosser and chuck it at him full force, because I know with all my womanly heart that I could throw it harder than he could ever hope to, and that the look on his stupid face realizing I was physically stronger than him would keep me satisfied for the next week or so. It didn’t help that I also tend to want to throw things when I’m mad.

This whole incident falls under the feminist category of the problematic phrase, ‘You throw like a girl,’ which I have taken serious issue with almost my entire life. Negative connotations aside, I take it very literally. Because I was a girl who could throw very, very, hard, and very, very, well. It’s an age-old of example of assuming women are naturally inferior athletes, and how we shouldn’t use women to make people look and feel weaker. As a phrase, it seems that it’s on its way out. But it hits very close to home for me.

I didn’t snatch the beanie bag away from the tosser. I said nothing. Did nothing. Looked back down at my novel and swore at the patriarchy again.

I watched a movie recently which I really liked. It had all three elements of a film that I am guaranteed to enjoy: 1) coming-of-age story; 2) set in a past decade; 3) takes place somewhere in the British Isles. If a movie has any one of these characteristics, I’m very certain to at least watch it, probably love it as well. This recent movie was excellent, and had a pretty fantastic original soundtrack as well (I downloaded the songs as the credits rolled). But if you know anything about feminism, you know that it is like an infection, and once you start noticing sexist micro-aggressions or societal norms that contribute to the patriarchy, you cannot stop noticing them. And so it was with this film. I spilled all of my thoughts on a sticky note the Monday after I saw it:

  • Why do pretty girls so often come off as cool and distant, and nerdy, sort-of arrogant boys always end up with them?
  • She (female character in the film) doesn’t have to give you (male protaganist) her time just because you want it. You got mad because she realized she doesn’t owe you anything??
  • You (male protagonist) are treating her like a muse instead of like a person. Idolizing her like a muse, then getting upset when she doesn’t live up to your idolized expectations

Obviously this movie wasn’t setting out to make any sort of statements about women’s roles in society. It was about young teenage boy learning to use music to figure out who he is as a person, and to cope with shitty things happening in his life. It really was a delightful movie. The only reason I got off on this thought tangent was because I was trying to think of coming-of-age films similar to this one (indie, low-budget, unknown cast,) that star female protagonists. Being the connoisseur of these kinds of stories that I am, I had a hard time thinking of some, and it made me think about the portrayal of women in this movie.

What movies are out there that portray what it really means to be a teenage girl, and depict the changes a girl goes through to become a woman? If you can think of any movies or TV shows that honestly portray the coming-of-age experience for girls, then comment. I know there has to be some out there, and I definitely know of some, but if there’s really great stories I’ve missed out on, then I want to see them.

Weekly digest of thoughts at work, feminist edition turned into a much different post. I won’t apologize for it, because I don’t apologize for things I’m not sorry for, but I will organize my thoughts better next time.