EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Female Alien Fallacy

In Encouragement, Friendship, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on November 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

“Men understand me better than women.”

I’ve heard this sentiment many times, particularly from Black women–I’ve said it several times myself. In fact, I surrounded myself with a band of brothers in high school. I found more comfort, more sympathy, and more acceptance from those 4 or 5 men than I did from any number of women I knew. I spent my college years at Agnes Scott–an all women’s college and an institution of the highest caliber learning. My friends and colleagues during those years were women of all colors, shapes, sizes, identities, and persuasions.

Today, it struck me that a man (no matter his sexual orientation) has been taught (maybe programmed or maybe even conditioned by society) to process something about my sexuality and my gender role. I know this sounds weird AND sexist, but hear me out. Most of the men that I know (no matter their sexuality) do not care if I wear fishnet pantyhose, or red lipstick, or 6 inch heels. Most of the men that I know do not care if I’ve had 4 children, or if I’m pre-menstrual, or if I’m married, or if I’m engaged. Most of the men that I know do not care if I run a Fortune 500 company or if I work at McDonald’s. Most of the men that I know do not care if I wear MAC makeup, or if I wear Louboutins, or if I carry a K-Mart purse. Most of the men that I know don’t care if my hair is curled, pressed, dyed, fried, woven, shaken or stirred. Most of the men that I know could care less if I lose that 20 pounds or gain another 10. There are very few things that I can do with female-ness that will threaten or intimidate a man (or, at least the men I know).

In reflecting on my friendships with men, I realize that we didn’t “get ready” around each other; we didn’t usually critique each other’s outfits; we spent very little time talking about our love interests. We talked, we laughed, we ate, we drank, we commiserated, we celebrated. More than anything, time and space have diminished those friendships. No traumatic break, no final argument, no climactic snuffing.

Yet, I approach other women as if they were aliens. As if I could only understand another woman insofar as she is exactly like me. How silly! I differ from many of my male friends in every way possible–right down to the genitalia! Yet, I expect a woman to have the same style, the same hair care routine, the same attitude toward family, the same financial status, the same way of getting gussied up, the same physical fitness routine, the same sexual experiences, the same taste in food as I do. I’m so willing to overlook the differences between myself and a male friend, yet not as willing to do so for a female friend.

Why?

Honestly, I cannot explain to you how it started when I was in elementary and high school. BUT, I believe that I’ve experienced the female alien fallacy from other women, so I use the female alien fallacy to protect myself. The buck, however, stops here. I am not going to insist that my female friends be carbon-copies and reflections of me. Her sexual experiences and sexuality need neither inform nor influence mine; her sense of style need neither inform nor influence mine; her understanding of herself need neither inform nor influence mine. Though she may be different, everything that she is made of is the same human stuff that I’m made of.

Yet, in that same buck-stopping motion, I also refuse to be treated as an alien. For any woman who believes that I am so extremely different from her, I invite you to think of me as an alien who wishes to be left in peace on her own planet. For those women who are ready to accept and overlook differences: I would love to take you to my leader 😉

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