Over the weekend I went to dinner with my boyfriend and his coworkers. He works for a startup, so naturally there are more men than woman, in this case the ratio being a cold hearted 6:0. Having worked for several startups myself, I've learned to sort of gear into my "one of the guys" mode. I did my best to make conversation, accelerating topics throughout dinner about tv shows, work jokes, fitness routines, and geeky code language, but one recurring theme of the conversation really took me aback.
Sometime early into the pre-dinner beers I mentioned that I don't like to drink beer because it makes me burp. Two of the guys listening seemed to be completely taken aback by my comment, scowling in a kind of disbelief over what I'd just said. This is immediately after a conversation about what kind of women they find attractive, bone skinny or toned? Not much later when one of those same guys asked about the bathroom I pointed straight to it. He made an awkward joke about how I seemed to know exactly where it was, so I decided to clear things up for him. "Well, when I got here I went straight for the bathroom coz I'd been holding it the whole way here... You know, us girls like to know where the bathroom is at all times just in case of an emergency like you know, you're on your period or you have a UTI or something--" at which point I was cut off by two grossed out guys, one of which looked like he might puke. I really didn't think it was that gross, but okay...??
"You really didn't have to say that, ew! You know, we like to take you as a delicate kind of girl, but now you've ruined it." The word doesn't translate exactly into English, but in Slovak the phrase krehka essentially means a fragile woman who faints at the mention of anything rude, cries at the movies, gets excited about gossip, and needs a man to make all her decisions. She doesn't care for politics, believes her place is in the home, and stays away from drinks and alcohol. "Excuse me? Delicate? You, sir, are so incredibly mistaken about me. When did I ever let on that I might be that kind of person?" Is this what men like to think of us women?
It doesn't matter how that conversation continued because it made me realize that although we may be out of the twentieth century our moral mindset and gender biases have not yet been left to be forgotten with the propaganda of yesterday. Magazines, fashion ads, and TV shows continue to puke out anti-feministic stereotypes that leave us women gasping for opportunity in a male-driven world.
So, if I'm not a delicate lady who leans on her man then what kind of girl am I? I'm just a girl. I'm just me. I'm whatever I want to be, whenever I want to be. I'm the girl who says what's on her mind and expects others to take me at face value. Sometimes I wear pink, sometimes I'm wearing all black, not all my dresses are form fitting, and none of that says a damn thing about me other than the fact that I have a wide range of good taste.
I believe that in today's modern world of social media and fast fashion, anyone can be whoever they want to be from one moment to the next. Putting women into categories isn't fair, especially before you've even gotten to know them. And expecting women to act a certain way just for some macho agenda is even worse! To any woman who has ever been scolded or put down for simply being herself and not some idealized crap of a person, I say this:
At the end of the day after everyone has had their say only you will see yourself in the mirror and know exactly who you are. Only you know your thoughts and only you can control your actions. If you like to sip on Starbucks lattes and get manicures every Monday, then so be it. But even you know you're more than just a #basicbitch, so next time someone tries to put you in a box, break it! You're worth more than some shitty label.