Friday, January 23, 2015

Frock Fridays: Girls' Night Out

I can't even remember the last time I had a proper girls' night out - my birthday, maybe?  Although that was more of a fabulous girls' night in and when, sometime after midnight, I made noises about wanting to hit the town, I was very sensibly talked into bed instead.

But we're going all out tomorrow night: dinner, drinks, board games, and almost certainly a Disney sing-a-long at my apartment (while Jon's at work) followed by dancing to a live band out at a bar in my neighborhood.

I think I'll wear my polka-dotted swingy-skirted dress from H&M, which is a little too short to sport during daylight hours, accessorized with black tights, my black Cole Haan heels, an old crossbody bag from Target, and sparkly Kate Spade studs like these.  Add a swipe of red lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara, and you've got a fabulous evening!

girls night out

Thursday, January 22, 2015

You Don't Say

When Lean In launched their Ban Bossy campaign nearly a year ago, my heart sunk.  As this NY Mag article points out, "the campaign is an heir to that earlier type of activism, which sought to restrict bad stuff rather than create a compelling alternative."  Empowering women - empowering anyone - is about giving them more options, not taking them away.  If a girl wants to be the boss, we should teach her that being assertive can be a strength, not that her confidence is overbearing and needs to be contained.  Beyond that, though, it's important to remember that a word like "bossy" isn't gender-specific.  Anyone can be bossy, and it's condescending to try to protect girls and women from an imposed victimhood that they don't want or need.

However, there are plenty of gender-specific words and phrases we do use that marginalize, disparage, and invalidate girls and women in particular.  I know I'm guilty of using some without thinking; we probably all are.  And, just like women were divided on the merits of Ban Bossy, not everyone is offended by gender-specific insults.  (Jon mentioned that he thought "don't be a pussy" originally came from "pussy cat," so it's equivalent to saying "don't be a scaredy-cat."  I looked up the phrase, and some also claim it may have come from "pusillanimous," which means "showing a lack of determination or courage."  I doubt that many people who taunt their friends with "don't be a pussy" think of that, but okay.  Point taken.  Language changes.)  That being said, I find the Duke You Don't Say campaign incredibly powerful.  It's really making me consider how easily we throw around words and phrases that come from deeply gendered attitudes - and what we can do to change that.

What do you think?