Promoted from Comments

[Content Note: Cultural misogyny and gender essentialism.]

Shaker AnnaAnastasia in comments on An Observation (About Tokenism), shared with her permission:
That we are mysterious, that we are an impenetrable and unrelatable monolith, that our communication and interaction with each other in real life is so inscrutable that it cannot possible be deciphered and reproduced
And you know what's a weird byproduct of this for me as a woman? That for as long as I can remember, I've been intimidated when engaging in friendships with women (in groups or one-to-one) because I've internalized that they're inscrutable, even though I am one.

Even from elementary school, girl-only slumber parties felt like checklists - did we paint our nails? Check. Eat a pint of ice cream? Check. Call boys? Check. I didn't even know whether I liked those things, and I certainly didn't know how to suggest doing things that were coded as less "girly" like digging in the mud. I just knew the script, because that's what I was told that girls do, so I played along. In university, I felt far more comfortable living in a mixed-gender unit than I did when I lived in an all-female unit, simply because I thought there was a script for living solely with other women. (To this day, I don't quite know what I expected, only that I expected something.)

Even today, I can't tell you the number of times that a female friend or friends have asked me to go shopping, or to the movies, or to hang out, as humans often do, and I become nervous and wonder how to "act" with another woman. I use "act" intentionally, because it feels like an act: I stand outside myself and wonder how a group of women would act in this situation. Should we pick the "girly" romantic comedy, or will she be disappointed if I suggest the action movie, because women don't watch those (even if I do)? What if I want to go shopping in a record store, not a lingerie store? Is that weird, as a woman, to find that more interesting? Of course not, but it doesn't stop me from feeling awkward. Being with a group of mixed gender friends is so much easier for me.

I guess what I'm saying is that we live in a really messed-up patriarchy when as a woman, I've mentally put myself in the role of a male scriptwriter who doesn't believe he knows how to depict relationships between women, even though the script I'm writing is my own life as a woman.
I relate to this a lot. One of the things that made a difference for me is feminism (SHOCKING I KNOW) and really internalizing the reality that women are not a monolith. A lot of what I thought was an awkwardness in interacting with other girls and women for many years was really just being friends with women who didn't share my (allegedly unfeminine) interests.

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