This Misogynist Moment I: She’s a Cool Girl

This Misogynist Moment (So Different and So New): A Collection of Moments When I Realized Men in My Life Are Misogynist

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Illustration by Suzy X. Click image to see more!

One.

I was at my friend’s house hanging out with a mixed-gender group of friends. Another friend was on their way over to join our rowdy game of cards and drinking, and my (cis male) friend said, “She’s a cool girl. No offense, but she’s a really cool girl.”

BOOM.

How did I know he was a misogynist? He obviously held the assumption that men and boys are by default superior to women close to his heart, and believed it enough to say it out loud in front of young women. That hit me like a sheet of glass crashing down around me. That silence you heard when you said, “No offense, but she’s a really cool girl” was the sound of me realizing I could never trust you. It was the sound of me realizing I was not around friends, but enemies. At the time I didn’t have the words to articulate why what he said was so messed up, and why it made me feel so deeply shitty, but I did have the good sense to know he wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. After all, I wasn’t a cool girl, so what did I matter?

Don’t trust anyone who says “she’s cool for a girl.” Don’t take “you’re cool, for a girl” as a compliment. It is misogyny. All girls are cool girls. And we don’t need you to reassure us of that.

Two.

Later on that weekend (or possibly the same night) the same rowdy crew was headed out to find the shortest line to get into a bar and out of the blustery cold autumn night. We watched crowds of other young people surge by, stumbling and laughing, some girls wearing short dresses, bare legs, and high heels despite the chilly air. The same friend turned to his (then) girlfriend and said, “I’m so happy you’re not any one of those girls.”

BOOM.

How did I know he was misogynist? There he was, judging and criticizing the young women who were simply obeying the rules of femininity and trying to enjoy a night out. Short skirts, dresses, heels, and bare legs is what makes women women, right? It’s what makes us sexy, right? It’s what keeps us from getting called “dyke” on the street, right? Even if it means we get called “slut” instead. Even if it means we get blamed for our own harassment and assault. But wait, who made up these rules of femininity? Who calls us a dyke or a slut? Who harasses us and assaults us? Right.

Don’t think for one second that this has nothing to do with you. Don’t forget for one second that you benefit everyday from sexism. But go ahead, blame women when the shitty world you made doesn’t make you happy anymore.

 

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5 thoughts on “This Misogynist Moment I: She’s a Cool Girl

  1. > But go ahead, blame women when the shitty world you made doesn’t make you happy anymore.

    Projecting much?

    Men expressing their personal opinions about specific women in their lives, or in their vicinity, is not misogyny. Men are human beings and they have a right to their own thoughts, tastes and opinions. Judging men’s own opinions and feelings is incredibly self centred. Their feelings and opinions belong to them, not you.

    If a woman said “You’re cool for a guy” that is not misandry. She just means the guy has some traits that she admires that are (in her experience) more often found in women and not men.

    And if a woman prefers men who dress and behave a certain way, that is not misandry either. So neither is it misogyny when a man has equivalent preferences.

    All you are doing is trying to dictate what men think, prefer and feel. That is futile. And that is what makes you frustrated and angry. You might as well be saying “How dare they like jazz and hotdogs – I HATE jazz and hotdogs! They are being soooo offensive!”

    Why not just live and let live instead of demanding everyone conform to your personal likes and dislikes? 🙂

    • I understand that people have different preferences, but is also important to realize that often these “preferences” are rooted in sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. When that goes unacknowledged and unexamined, you perpetuate these systems and cause harm. I’m not asking or expecting men to “conform to my personal likes or dislikes” or “trying to dictate what men think, prefer and feel,” that’s really not the point of this post at all. I’m hoping that all people would be more thoughtful and conscious of the systems we live in, and how we benefit from them and perpetuate them all the time, even through small acts like these.

      I also think it’s totally possible to pay someone a compliment or appreciate them without comparing that person to anyone else, or by putting down an entire gender or other group of people. It becomes a lot less about that person and a lot more about your own baggage when you say things like “you’re cool, for a girl.” It’s a backhanded compliment that is rooted in sexism.

      I also agree that none of the things you mentioned are misandry, because misandry is not real.

      Thanks for reading!

      • > I understand that people have different preferences, but is also important to realize that often these “preferences” are rooted in sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc

        Sexism, racism etc are claims of objective truth. A preference is not a claim of objective truth, it is just a preference. Not liking ice cream is not the same as saying ice cream is ‘inferior’ or ‘wrong’.

        Men are PEOPLE with BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. One of those basic human rights is the right to have their own thoughts, feelings and preferences….. their own mind. By defining men’s preferences as ‘sexism’, ‘misogyny’ etc you are denying men their basic right to own their own mind and express their own feelings. That is a form of oppression.

        Men are the last group in society where it is still considered socially acceptable to call them pigs, scum, animals, idiots etc in public – even on mainstream TV. Try calling women or black people animals or scum on TV and see if you can do it without generating massive public outrage.

        > I also think it’s totally possible to pay someone a compliment or appreciate them without comparing that person to anyone else

        But it was not really supposed to be a compliment. It was just a guy expressing his opinion/ a preference. Again, you are not treating men as people in their own right. Saying “I like ice cream” is not a compliment it is just an opinion. Saying “I usually don’t like ice cream, but this ice cream is yummy” is not a veiled insult, nor is it a backhanded compliment. It is just an opinion.

        Feminists are often accused of judging men only in terms of how they affect women. This is a perfect example. You are like an owner of an ice cream factory trying to convince everybody that anybody who expresses a dislike for ice cream is being offensive.

        > I also agree that none of the things you mentioned are misandry, because misandry is not real.

        That is – in itself – a blatant example of misandry. You are saying men cannot be victims, men cannot be persecuted, men cannot be victimised, men cannot be oppressed or discriminated against based on gender. I think what you mean is it DOES NOT SERVE YOU to acknowledge that men are just as vulnerable as women in these ways.

        On the one hand you complain about men’s insensitivity, and on the other you tell men you will not sympathise with any ill treatment they might suffer on account of being men. This is how white people used to talk about black slaves.

        Perhaps the guy just meant “This girl treats me like a human being and not a second class citizen, and that’s pretty cool for a woman”.

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