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Gender Block: there’s no such thing as “one of the guys”

Hillary Di Menna

It is not uncommon for a woman to proudly declare she has no female friends and insists she is just, “one of the guys.” It is considered pretty cool to say this, just ask my high school self. It is also a big slap in the face to our gender, while buying into the mindset that males are superior. When we say our own gender isn’t good enough, we are putting it out there that we ourselves are not good enough.

Video games, sports, crude comedy and comic books are not strictly guy things, like how shopping, self-maintenance and gossiping are not only lady interests. So if a gal likes video games and hates shopping, she isn’t a dude, these things are not gender-specific, she is a person with specific tastes. We only add to superficial barriers when we say otherwise.

When doing research for her book Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy had dinner with The Man Show (off the air since 2004) creators, co-hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, and executive producer Daniel Kellison. In her book, Levy tells of the experience and how she uncomfortably enjoyed being different than other girls by fitting in with the boys. Kellison would say things such as: women shouldn’t be offended by their big-breasted peers being objectified, adding that those offended are humourless, running around crying, “I’m a victim of pop culture!” Levy would find herself laughing and then feeling uncomfortable afterward for doing so: “It can be fun to feel exceptional,” she writes. “To be the loophole woman, to have a whole power thing, to be an honorary man. But if you are the exception that proves the rule, and the rule is that women are inferior, you haven’t made any progress.”

It’s a patriarchal society, so of course it feels natural that being friends with only men—denouncing females while apologizing for our own femaleness—is the right thing to do. We watch the comedy shows where there is one token gal in an otherwise all guy cast and grow up hearing the term “tomboy.” Yet this thinking, and consequent actions, provide “proof” that of course men are better; even women don’t like women. (Actually, that is exactly what Kimmel says to Levy when she asked him what kind of women he hangs out with, “Women don’t even want to hang out with their friends.”) This reinforcement of such a negative belief is harmful to us, the women around us, and the girls who come after. Don’t be “just one of the guys” don’t be “just” anything. We’re not going to like everybody and vice versa—no matter the gender. We’re people who socialize with other people. A simple, yet powerful, truth.

A former This intern, Hillary Di Menna writes Gender Block every week and maintains an online feminist resource directory, FIRE- Feminist Internet Resource Exchange.

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