By Krystal Lambert
I’ll never forget the day in 7th grade when I was wearing my Limp Bizkit shirt and some 8th grade unwashed stoner guy laughed at me as I passed and said, “Pfff ok what’s your favorite Limp song then?” I remember being confused, like does he wanna talk about music with me? Why does he sound angry and condescending if he does? Realizing I was being quizzed against my will I blurted out “Clunk” which was the most recent LB song I had listened to on my badass red Sony CD walkman at the bus stop that morning. He seemed mystified that I had offered an actual legitimate song title, was I supposed to just go up in smoke? Turn into a bat and fly away? Did he actually think women purchased t-shirts with their hard earned lunch money of bands they didn’t really like?
I know you’re wondering how I’ve made my way so casually through this intro without making a joke about the band in question being LIMP BIZKIT HAHAHAH but don’t worry, I’m building here. I understand that people have, at times throughout history, worn band tees for musicians they may not have heard the B-sides from. Dude here was really gonna throw down the gauntlet for Limp Bizkit though? He called them “Limp,” you guys. This was my first scrape with a major edgelord, and there have been many more along the way. It is complete bullshit that women can’t like good (or bad) music without some guy demanding she recite their entire discography on the spot. It baffles me that so many men think women are incapable of discovering “good music” without some guy mentoring them on their music taste. This points to a bigger issue within society, wherein everything women do is picked apart, mocked and judged.
Every woman I know has countless examples of this, from a guy telling her “every basic bitch has a Harry Potter tattoo” immediately after having sex with her to the unhealthy environment for women in the gaming community. That subject is an entire article in itself, but suffice it to say, a woman must tolerate men playing video games 24/7, just never ever dare to be good at them herself. She will be punished with an alarming amount of rape and death threats from strange men on the internet for simply enjoying a hobby. There are also a plethora of jokes about “drunk girls at bars” floating around the web, but I have never seen a meme about drunk guys at bars. Considering that the vast majority of debauchery I’ve seen in my years of bartending have been drunk men starting drunken brawls or feeling up every other girl who walks by, strange we don’t have any running jokes about drunk men at bars.
You could find a thousand examples of this subtle, insidious disdain for women and their interests and hobbies throughout modern society. Women enjoy a coffee product that tastes like pumpkin, meme and mock them for eternity! Call them basic! Woman has cat, woman is automatically single spinster cat lady who will die alone with 20 cats! Filters, what kind of garbage harlot would use a filter that makes her look like a puppy dog? WHAT A SLUT. We should start dunking women in swimming pools on the first date so their makeup comes off and we can laugh at how ugly they are without all that makeup hahahah! Women who wear no makeup are ugly but women who wear too much are thirsty and they need to be smart but not smarter than me and nerdy but not literally nerdy just hot nerdy like big boobs and a fat ass but with like a tiny waist and 0% body fat. They need to be strong and independent but only speak when spoken to and smile 100% of the time and on and on forever, there is a never ending stream of expectations, requirements, hoops to jump through as a woman in this world.
I do think modern day internet culture tends to mock and make fun of everything and everyone, so on a larger scale, Let People Enjoy Things is also a good mantra. However, society is disproportionately critical of women and this theme is found at the root of Toxic Masculinity. If a man is weak, he is called a pussy. Men are congratulated for any traditionally “masculine” traits and teased mercilessly for any trait that is seen as feminine. Men can’t express feelings or emotions without being called “a little bitch.” Toxic masculinity is so harmful to the male psyche, and it further promotes the concept that women are weak, inferior, and inherently uncool. While I’m not too concerned with being cool these days, it would be nice to not feel so picked apart and scrutinized just for being myself. If women want to read Harry Potter and pet cats and drink pumpkin coffee and contour their face, let them. Let women enjoy things. Let women live.
Women also do this to other women, and here is where we must face the final boss; Internalized Misogny. People love to say that women are much more awful to each other than men are to women. I hear this from a lot of men. I hear this from some women as well.The important thing to realize here is that internalized misogyny is responsible for the overall catty, competitive nature women seem to have with each other. We are compared and contrasted constantly. Have you ever watched any reality tv show with women in it? Most of the major scenes are gossip, “cat-fights”, competing and shit talking behind each other’s backs. This is nothing like the friendships I have with women. So why does the media insist on reinforcing this idea that women are two-dimensional bimbos who live to look hot and gossip about their best friends? Society has been telling women for centuries that they most prove themselves virtuous above other women. That’s why we have those “I’m not like other girls” girls, and those “I only get along with guys” girls. I’ve experienced this with other feminists even, making condescending remarks about how much makeup I wear. Can we all agree to just let each other live, so that men will let us live? Can we stop falling into the traps set by the patriarchy and agree to have each others backs? Let each other enjoy things. Let each other live.
In closing, I would like to remind yall of a little album called Lemonade, by the one true god Beyonce. When Lemonade was released in 2016, it took less than 24 hours for the media to start criticizing Bey for “not being a good role model.” This album was beautiful, tortured, and fucking heroic. Leave it to the patriarchy to find one line they deemed “slutty” as an excuse to call her a bad role model. Have you ever listened to like, any music a male has produced? Do male rappers get criticized for being bad role models when they brag about fucking five bitches a night? There is not a genre of music that men haven’t made exceedingly rapey and problematic. Why are women like Beyonce, Ariana Grande or Cardi B “trash” for owning their sexuality? It’s not a grown woman’s job to be a role model for your children. That’s your job.
It can be so mentally and physically exhausting to be a woman, with all the mental gymnastics of who we are supposed to be vs. who we really are. Let women be honest and open about who we are, rather than pretzeling ourselves into whatever box we need to fit into to be accepted today. It’s time to let women bloom, to let us love ourselves unconditionally without apologizing for our bodies, our music taste, our interests, or our sex life.