I like Pinterest. I have a pretty “Books to Read” board, a “Gifts” board, and the obligatory food porn in row after glossy row. In addition to the double peanut butter choco-chunk rice-crispified ding dong sticks, Pinterest also facilitates the sharing of stupid shit (much like the whole internet). My dear friend (another Emily), has sent me her pet peeve that was the latest recipient of unnecessary pinning frenzy:
Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss. Oy vey. People repin stuff like this everyday without giving it a second thought. Though it headfakes towards pithy and witty, in reality it’s a rather convoluted, offensive, heteronormative piece of sexist bullcrap. If you were to rewrite this as most people interpret it, it would read “Be pretty, don’t be slutty, men are smarter, work hard.” That last bit is fine, I suppose, but the rest of it is all kinds of dumb.
Let’s start with “Look like a girl.” What do girls look like? I would tell you they look all kinds of ways (tall, short, thin, fat, short hair, long hair, busty, flat-chested, mostly, they look like humans). Believe it or not, sometimes girls even look “like boys,” and that’s okay! If you like sweater vests, combat boots, men’s overalls, basketball jerseys, ties, jumpsuits, mohawks, hairy armpits, or clown costumes, it really, really, really doesn’t make you any less of a girl.
Act like a lady. What do ladies act like? Some of them are bold, some are quiet, some are aggressive, some are shy, some are boisterous, some are polite, some are demanding, some are sweet, some are mean…. I could go on as long as I can keep thinking of adjectives. But what do we usually mean when we say “act like a lady?” Don’t be slutty. Don’t be pushy. Don’t make a scene. Don’t make people uncomfortable. Don’t be a bitch. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t question the standard quo. Don’t ask for what you want.
Most obviously problematic is the directive to “Think like a man.” How do men think? If we’re supposed to mimic them, the implication is that they think better than women. Why is something so blantatly sexist so appealing for women to post all over the most female-dominated social network of all time? Are we really that self-hating?
“Work like a boss.” This is just douchey, and sounds like something Ryan Lochte would say, but it isn’t really sexist so I’m not going to bother addressing it.
Look like a human, Act like a good human, Think to the best of your ability, Work like a boss. Fine, we can keep the last one.
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