Friday, February 24, 2012

Buffy and Being a Girl

When I was growing up, I was heavily influenced to never be a girly-girl. My mother had a problem with girly-girls, liking pink, wearing make-up, wearing nail polish. I used to believe that there was some merit in not being girly, in being 'one of the guys'. That it made me superior to other girls. I was meaner than I needed to be about this to some of my friends, which is one of my biggest regrets. (If any of you are reading this: I am truly sorry. Sometimes I was a real asshole.)

For the record: this is bullshit.

There's nothing wrong with eschewing traditionally feminine things for traditionally masculine things, but there's nothing wrong with the opposite, or for embracing both. For any gender. Doing none of the above makes anybody superior.

If you had told my 12-year-old self that she would regularly paint her nails as an adult, she would have told you that you were full of it. If you had told that same 12-year-old that she would eventually dye her hair pink and fucking love it, she would have assumed you were on too many drugs to hold a reasonable conversation with.

That is where it turned around for me, the day I decided to fuck everything I believed about myself and dyed my hair pink. It was kind of on a whim, and I thought "maybe next time I'll go green or blue" but I fell in love with pink as a color. I now actually own items of clothing in pink, as well as pink nail polish (multiple shades).

Then, I started getting into makeup. I even blogged about it for a while, although that blog maybe is permanently abandoned (maybe when my health clears up I'll pick it up again, who knows). I had never really worn makeup before, and so figuring out how to use makeup was a bit like learning how to ride a bike for the first time. Except I never stabbed myself in the eye with eyeliner when I learned how to ride a bike. I learned how to do some really cool things with makeup, and now I carry makeup around with me in my purse, so I can throw some on in a hurry if I feel the need. This is still kind of an alien thing to me. I own a compact mirror. Just typing that feels weird.

Long story short (too late), I'm just now embracing some of the really feminine aspects of myself that I have been suppressing for a good portion of my life. So, why did I mention Buffy in the title?

As I'm sure all of you know, Mark Oshiro has been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, and I have been reading along (and waiting with baited breath until he reaches some of my favorite episodes, like today's). It has been bringing up an aspect of Buffy that I never fully embraced until now, which is that Buffy is without a doubt, a girly-girl.

You can't argue around it. She was a cheerleader when she went to school in L.A. She generally dresses fashionably, and wears nail polish and makeup. She generally looks cute and put-together. She really, really cares about prom queen and homecoming queen and likes fashion and basically she is the kind of girl I abhorred and secretly wanted to be in high school. It's one of the things about her that doesn't ever really change. (Also, round of applause for Cordelia, who becomes such an awesome character that it blows minds.)

The more I think about this, the more I love it. We live in a culture that seems to abhor women and everything they love, there are politicians that run on platforms that are outrageously anti-woman, women are shamed for reading romance novels because that's such a GIRLY thing to do, women are often cheered on when they shrug off typically 'girly' traits for more masculine traits (but only when it makes them hot, we don't want our women to be MANNISH now do we?) and it's really, really fucking frustrating.

Buffy has its problematic episodes, and one of these days I'm probably gonna sit down and categorize em, but it also lets Buffy be a girly-girl without apologizing for it. I appreciate that, a lot.

If you feel like commenting, tell me one typically girly thing you do. Bonus points if it's something you do on the sly.

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