Pallavi Khandelwal graduated from Nottingham University 2009. With a post graduate degree in finance and…Read More →
A random day in a school for me included standing with my hands stretched out, as a part of my punishment. I was not really the quite child in high school and was always considered to be the mischief one. So much so that the teachers used to wonder if the marks that I scored in exams was a result of cheating. On one such lovely day, some of the boys in my class were asked to stand up because they were being noisy. They were my closest friends in the class. The teacher gave them a talk on how they should concentrate on their studies because we are now in senior high (I was in twelfth standard).
She asked them a simple question “How many boys are there in your group?”
One of them answered “Six!”
With her quizzical expression she asked another question “But I only see five of you standing”
The same boy answered “Ma’am, Supriya is one of us”.
The class bursted out laughing, needless to say, I was embarrassed. On asking my friend, why did he think I was one of the boys later after class, he said “because you are not a ‘girly girl’. You are cool”.
My imbecile mind did take that as a compliment because I only concentrated on the word ‘Cool’ back then. I faced and experienced similar instances all through college, post-graduation and even at work. I was called one of the boys, because I was not fussy and I was considered cool. My mind understood it as being different.
Today, I would like to acknowledge the fact that being called one of the boys is not really a compliment. I have met many girls in my life who thought otherwise. How being called one of the boys was really a privilege. It was the ultimate stamp of approval from the fairer sex that got you a ticket to their gang. I don’t know if those girls still take it as a compliment but I have reached a point in my life where I don’t even understand the word tom boy! I am a girl.
I am different, cool and all kinds of good or bad adjectives associated to me are with respect to being a person. Being a girl, the better things in me don’t really make me a boy and why should it anyway?
She drinks beer, kicks your ass at video games, never cries or talks about her feelings and always hangs out with you. Which is why you keep forgetting she is really a girl. Let me bring a new perspective here by turning the tables with the similar stereotypes. He loves shopping, gets manicures done, is not ashamed to cry, and enjoys listening to boy bands. You sometimes forget he is a guy, but was the first word that popped in your head, cool?
So what does being one of the boys really mean?
It means she as a girl exhibits qualities that are typically reserved for guys. What it gives way for is even a sadder picture – not acknowledging her uniqueness as a girl. It also makes way for the negative prejudice for a guy who exhibits qualities typically portrayed by a girl. A friend recently introduced me to his girl-friend. She played all kinds of sports and loved her whiskey. I said she was absolutely cool (not just because of the aforementioned reasons) and he said “Yes, that’s because she is one of the boys!” (and that was because of the aforementioned reasons).
Let us get into the repercussions of this statement. One of the two may happen when a girl is called “one of the boys”. She may hate it but it would make her feel that guys only liked her because of this very fact. What may start as repressing the feeling of behaving like a girl in front of the guys, may lead to the kind of platonic relationship that the boys would want.
Option number two – she likes it. She starts to believe that this gets her entry into an exclusive club. She might be looked down upon by the fashionistas and not be called a “girly girl” but, she may never take offense at a guy calling a girl a “drama queen”.
What do the two options lead up to? Women eventually start disliking their own kind. Slowly, they have a whole picture built up, one that has the fundamentals of low confidence and leads to more complexities. One that involves calling your own kind of names. Judging your own kind for the clothes they wear, the words they speak, the lifestyle they lead.
I am not saying spread the love to even the douches of the planet. But it is important to hate them or like them as people. Not as “what kind of a girl” or “what kind of a guy”. More importantly, if we want the world to treat us as equals, us doing the same counts for a lot. We are creating a negative image of femininity.
It is certainly not the rant of a sexist. But we need to stop feeling apologetic about being a girl.
Next time you want to tell a girl she is cool; just say she is cool. Even if she is a fart noises expert, beer drinker, sports fan, video game expert who doesn’t believe in commitment. And next time you want to call a guy who hangs out with the girls something vice. Think twice. Because here is fun fact, all girls have a vagina and all guys have a penis. And when they do become ‘Cool’, it is not because they have renounced it. It is not a mutually exclusive relationship.