The first time I felt like I was one of the guys was in high school when I filled the role in my friend group as the jock. At first I thought it was pretty cool to have the inside scoop on all the guy point of views. I never had a brother, and I felt sort of privileged to be included in that circle. Plus, I was actually interested in a lot of what they talked about as far as sports go, and it was a nice break from some of the drama that always comes with too much girl time. Unfortunately, I soon found the downside to this type of intimate relationship with guys.
1. Any romantic ideas about how men look at women are quickly negated. They aren’t lying when they say guys only think about 3 things.
2. Guys I didn’t want as just friends are just friends, and I clearly saw them pursuing girls who were the complete opposite of me. There is nothing like hearing details of your crush’s infatuation with a cheerleader.
3. I became pretty comfortable being seen as one of the boys and would fall into that role even when I met someone new who I was interested in. I still remember the look of confusion on one guy’s face when I asked him if he was going to kiss me (after telling him we’d be great friends and playing Playstation).
4. The worst one: forgetting my identity as a female. Listening to guys talk unabashedly about everything and everyone made me feel that I was less than a girl that someone would be attracted to.
In a moment of Nic at Nite nostalgia, I watched a Dick Van Dyke marathon, and though I admired Mary Tyler Moore’s character Laura, I identified more with the Sally Rodgers character. There was an episode entitled “Sally is a Girl” which I had to watch. In the show, the men treated Sally as one of their own. In a poker night she was invited to, one of the guys asked, “There won’t be any women there, will there?” Sally scoffs, and Rob quickly eases this concern by saying it would just be him, Buddy, and Sally. With no protest, they had a fourth player.
By the end of the episode Sally realizes that she has been missing out on some of the spoils of feeling like a girl, and the men realize that sometimes she needs to be treated like a lady. Looking back at the 60’s show, it seems like Sally has it pretty good, comparatively speaking. She is treated like an equal in the workplace, and she is successful in a competitive male-dominated field. However the episode brings out points that are still valid today.
Even though it can be a strange sort of honor to be included with the cool guys, there can very easily be too much of a good thing. We need to grab some of our individuality as women back. We have to embrace our femininity so that we don’t forget that we have it.
Small things to remind yourself that you are a girl (which I am attempting to implement this week)
1. Style- Appearance of hair, clothes, and nails changes a lot. Dresses and styled hair are sure-fire ways to get looked at as a girl and to claim a sense of female power for yourself.
2. Get out of comfort zone- it’s scary to put ourselves in the vulnerable position of being available or romantically likeable, but it’s necessary. Escape this singular identity.
3. Embrace emotions- why do women get such a hard time for picking up on and paying attention to people’s feelings? This ability is guiding women to successfully change the face of business, raise families, and build meaningful relationships. The fact that this trait is often portrayed as silly in our society isn’t safe. Intuition and openness should be encouraged rather than dismissed.
The bottom line is that we need to remember how great it is to be women. Even though the boys’ club sounds intriguing, it’s not so special to be let in. There’s a reason no guy wants to be seen as one of the girls, and it’s not because girls aren’t cool. Neither men or women can’t healthily be stuck in the friend zone, and staying there is a cop-out.