Monday, September 10, 2012

Woman-Child?

So, I'm sitting here reading this article on Jezebel, about the 'woman-child' and it's leaving me feeling sort of torn.

The author probably isn't that much older than myself - I graduated high school the year she did college. So I don't think it's some massive generational thing. I'm an adult woman - my thirty-first birthday is this month. I have no desire to be the candy-coated sort of female she's discussing...

But she loses me a few times.

The author says, "I consider brushing my hair making a major effort on the appearance front."That blows my mind, not gonna lie. I can understand being baffled by "enormous fluffy slippers from Japan with cat faces on the front" but for Christ's sake, woman, you don't brush your hair? How is that any different form Sarah Silverman's 'adolescent' look you were just bitching about?You can't go on about being sophisticated and then not brush your damn hair.

More seriously, the author's observations on marriage and even on the reasons behind this apparent embracing of childish culture are sort of... sketchy at best. The point behind the whole thing seems a bit vague too - is she criticizing other women based on their taste, or merely observing a cultural fad? Her language leaves it open to interpretation and the result is that you're not sure what her point is beyond, "WTF you guys?" She also unfairly seems to equate all 'feminine' interests as infantile, and holds motherhood as this benchmark for being an adult female.

Still, I find parts of the article interesting, as some of it dovetails with things I myself have noticed. Not so much the whole "holy shit, nail art is for little girls" thing (although I'm biased - I spent way too much time last night doing this to my nails) but in that some women do seem to prefer being, well... really young.

I work in an industry saturated with nerds of both genders. Nerds are, to be perfectly blunt, prone to arrested development. Toys and comics are expected in every home, and when you meet a guy who owns a suit he's either gay or a hipster. The uniform is a Threadless t-shirt and jeans or shorts. These are superficial things, to be sure, and it has no bearing on whether or not someone is adult enough to pay their bills or whatever.

Female nerds, by and large, also own a fuckton of Threadless t-shirts, and for whatever reason... knee-socks. So, SO many knee-socks. This is something I have seen countless times, and it never gets less weird to me. I'd blame it on me being an old fuck, but here's the thing - the women wearing these are not in their early twenties. They're my age. That means they were alive when Clueless came out, dammit. Knee-socks in the 90s were a vaguely sexualised teenager thing. (Don't remember that shit? Here.) And rainbow knee-socks? Yeah, I dunno. If you're not at Burning Man or something it seems an odd stylistic choice.

But again, fine, wear what you want! You paid for it! You probably hate my shoes!

Everyone has their hobbies and interests. I guess what throws me off is the fact that some people - male AND female - seem to have deliberately veered away from 'adulthood' and act like it's some awesome thing to be celebrated. It's not just doing your own thing, it's more of a weird "you losers are stuck with your mortgages and shit, while I can play Final Fantasy every day and live on Skittles" form of bragging. Some of the nerds I know and love are clearly nerds and always WILL be... but when I walk into their homes I don't feel like I'm on an episode of My Strange Addiction about My Little Ponies or Transformers. It's an adult home, albeit with quirky shit like a wall of vintage game consoles.

I guess what I find off-putting about the 'woman-child' is not her girliness or enthusiasm. It's the fact that she seems actively afraid of aging. It's not just, "fuck off, I like this," it's the sort of balls-to-the-wall obsession you exhibit, well, when you're a teenager. And it creeps me out, because I wind up sitting there feeling like I'm twice their age even when we were born the same year.

(Although I enjoy cupcakes and board games. ...just fix me a nice cocktail at the same time, okay?)

So, yeah. Problematic article, but it made me think. ...mostly about knee-socks.

2 comments:

  1. Knee-socks... I love over knee-socks. They're warm and fun. I hate the 90's fashion, but the knee-socks: never go out of style ;)Especially striped ones in black and red, very emo.
    :D

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    1. Oh, I owned striped ones when I was a young goth! No doubt about that. I just can't rationalize wearing them now. I'm old and crusty.

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