Unlearning feminine competition.

7 thoughts on “Unlearning feminine competition.”

  1. Lots to say here… did you see Bridesmaids? I saw it in the middle of the day in a theater full of 13 year old girls who laughed from beginning to end. And I hated that. I hated the fact that they laughed at female stereotypes without knowing that they were stereotypes, and how hurtful they were. Most of all I hated that they laughed at how women are mean to each other and don’t know how to be real friends. Because I don;t think that’s true. I don’t think you are wrong either, necessarily, I think female relationships are complicated. And probably complicated in a different way than male relationships. Some random thoughts:

    I think when you say you can run with the boys, you mean that you can compete with men in a way that feels more healthy than your competition with women.

    I think as women we are torn between competing with each other, and trying NOT to compete with each other. I’d be surprised if men felt the same way.

    I also think that if you spend a lot of time on your ethnic identity it’s harder to appreciate gender, and it may be a process that starts later. I think for white people gender (and social class) may be more meaningful entities earlier. To be continued.

    1. I did see Bridesmaids – I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t as amazing as my friends had overhyped it to be. It’s about as slapstick as I get, and for that I thought it was perfect, but it made me think: Shit, women can’t just be friends without sneaky other friends.

      Re: running with boys – Probably, yes. I only want to be placed in a female-specific competition when it makes very physical, obvious sense, like, literally in a track meet. Otherwise when it comes to competitions of innovation or thought, why should there be a gender exception?

      Re: competing/not competing – Unfortunately I think not all women are probably aware that they compete in the first place. I’m just thinking of women who watch Real Housewives without any degree of irony. I should hope that women feel torn about competing. I want to not compete when there is no actual competition.

      Re: ethnic identity before gender and class – I totally agree. Just like buying a house is a first world problem, I think getting to the point of defining gender and class identity is a bit of a luxury that white people can start in on.

  2. I love this post. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as well. My thoughts were spurred by Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” (awesome, hilarious read) in which she touches on being a female in comedy, a world dominated by men, and perceived by the general public to be rightfully dominated by men. In one chapter, she talks about her time with the Second City improv company. At the time, the norm was to have 6 people in an improv group – 4 males and 2 females. When a 3:3 ratio was suggested, the argument that was presented (can’t remember if it was by a male or female) was that there wouldn’t be enough parts for the females, because the females were normally playing the same types of roles over and over: the secretary, the wife, the daughter. These roles are accompaniments to the male parts, whereas each company was able to have more males because the “parts” they could play were more diverse, and more numerous.

    There are few female comedians who have successfully broken into the mainstream, and that number seems to be diminished when put next to the number of mainstream male comedians. Is it because men are funnier than women? Or is it because people believe that men are funnier than women, so many women aren’t given the chance?

    I think the problem lies with social conditioning and how we as women have recognized our “place” in society, regardless of feminist instinct. We still, on a subconscious (maybe conscious for some) level believe that there are “not enough parts” for us, and we have to fight for those parts, which creates competition between women. It’s not that there isn’t enough talent or brains to go around for us, it’s that, traditionally, there hasn’t been as many chances for people to see that we have it.

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