Not Your Typical Woman

Women

Now I have heard that it’s okay to be proud of being a woman. If I were a woman, I like to think I’d be proud…proud enough not to encourage stupid stereotypes. See, I’ve also heard that there are different types of women, and that you can’t make blanket statements about all women, then claim feminine pride, any more than you can make blanket statements about all Mississippians.

Of course I haven’t met every woman in the world, and as long as anybody named Kardashian is alive, I don’t care to. I have met enough women to know that, unless my sample has been seriously skewed, these characteristics do not apply to most women. And the ones that do apply to women could easily apply to men as well, which makes this meme both Stupid and useless.

Let’s examine the attributes of the average proud woman, according to this meme.

  • The average proud woman apparently suffers from some sort of cognitive disorder that prevents her from being able to push when she reads PULL. Now I suspect that almost everyone has made the push-pull force-direction error at some point in their lives, but this meme would have you believe that it is a characteristic of a proud woman to make the mistake routinely. I admit that I’ve never conducted a formal scientific survey to determine whether this problem is more common in women (and especially proud women) than it is in any other gender, but I suspect it’s not. It’s a mistake we all make. If you make it all the time, seek help.

  • As I implied before, I’m not a woman. I like women in general, but I’ve never been one. I also like to laugh. There are few pleasures so sublime as having your funny bone tickled by a particularly hilarious joke. Of course it’s always awkward when you’re exchanging guffaws with friends and an interloper appears suddenly and demands “What’s so funny?” And of course it will never be as funny the second time around, because one of the greatest components of humor is surprise. I can’t think of a single instance in which a woman (or anybody, for that matter) has actually laughed harder while trying to explain what she was laughing about, but like I said, I don’t know all women. My wife likes it that way. At any rate, I bet that if you frequently laugh even harder while trying to explain the humor, people eventually stop asking you what’s so funny.

  • Imagine a survey consisting of a single question: Do you ever forget why you walked into a room? The survey gathers one hundred responses from an equal mixture of proud men and proud women. Your task is to sort the responses into piles by gender, but you cannot see the respondents’ names, photos, or any information that might betray their gender. If the meme is correct, you’d be well advised to place all the “Yes” responses into the female pile. In reality, you’ll probably do no better than chance no matter how you separate the responses. Let’s move on.

  • The idea that women are worse than men at math is based on outdated stereotypes that haven’t held up to the rigor of modern research. I assume that’s what the memer is getting at: “I’m so bad at math I count on my fingers, because I’m a girl!” Finger-counting in general is not the sign of a poor mathematician (in fact, some historical finger-counting methods have been quite sophisticated) but in Western society we often associate finger-counting with preschool. Anybody who has not progressed past finger-counting must therefore be some sort of mathematical ignoramus.
    If you’re poor at math to the point that you must count on your fingertips, well…maybe math isn’t for everybody. But I’m sure other proud women will thank you not to lump them into your category.

  • The rest of the meme attempts to paint a picture of the modern meme woman: frazzled but strong, secretive with her feelings, emotionally invested in one-way relationships. If you believe the memes, women are emotional near-wrecks teetering on the brink of collapse, held together by thin but steely resolve. She hides her pain and suffering from her family and friends, even as mountains of excrement tumble down around her. Think I’m overplaying the pathos? I see some variation of this meme on a daily basis. It’s problematic not only because not all women are like this, but some men are. Being emotionally unhinged is not a uniquely female trait, although I suppose societal expectations of manliness prevent men from talking about it publicly.

So ladies, it’s great to be proud of who you are, not who you’re expected to be. And to this memer in particular: lighten up, okay? It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay. It’ll be okay.

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