Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sugar and Spice

Growing up as children, both boys and girls are fed two distinctly different versions of the world. Boys are given army men, toy guns, swords, trucks, and any kind of slimy goo that can be marketed. Girls, on the other hand, are introduced to dresses, kittens, cooking machines, dolls with houses and the color pink. This is hardly abnormal since, after all, boys grow up to be men – who are generally much stronger and are on the front lines of anything physical like labor and wars – while girls grow up to be women – the gentler, less physical gender, but play a vital role in survival as the one half of the two sexes than can bear life, and thus must be “protected.” So if our roles are so obvious from the very start and at the very end, why does everything in the middle get so confusing in recent generations?

"Wait, come back! For some strange reason, I'm attracted to you even more now!"

As soon as we hit our teens, everything strangely flips around; boys become the weaker gender emotionally and girls become the vicious, venomous half. If you don’t believe me, then you haven’t been paying attention the last ten or so years. There are hundreds of levels we can dive into to prove this phenomenon, but for the sake of this entry I’ll tackle only three: Music, friends, and college.

One of the most revealing clues you can dig up about a person is his or her taste in music. If someone enjoys classical music and opera, it’s pretty easy to guess that they’re probably a soft-spoken academic who enjoys their quiet time. If someone says they’re into hardcore death metal and screamo, chances are you won’t be catching them at a library fingering through Pride and Prejudice anytime soon. A huge fan of Bob Marley – dreadlocks and all - has probably taken more than a hit or two from a bong, while someone with an iPod full of techno songs likely still has a stamp from the club last night on their hand. Obviously there are exceptions like the Marilyn Manson fan who polka-danced at her valedictorian graduation speech, but the point is the music we enjoy is a direct reflection of who we are inside and who we want to be.

Now do me a favor: turn on the radio to a station that plays songs high schoolers are listening to nowadays. Go ahead. I’ll put $50 down it’s a song that has a guy singing about his longing for a girl. Any genre. Pop, alternative, rap, punk, oldies, rock, you name it. Guys have been singing about us girls since they evolved vocal cords and howled at a passing cavegirl. From Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys, and Rolling Stones, to Green Day, Oasis, Chili Peppers, and Dashboard Confessional, to Fall-Out Boy, Plain White T's, Panic at the Disco, The White Stripes and Eminem, there has always been a current theme: I am a guy and I'll do anything for you, the girl of my dreams. If you ever accuse men of not sharing their emotions, just turn on the radio. That’s what they’re feeling. They just can’t say it to our face because they’re often too insecure about being laughed at, since after all, that’s what girls do.

Now, do me another favor: Keep changing the station until you hear a female singing the song. Find one? What do you hear? I’ll put another $50 down that it’s a song about girl-empowerment and the trivialization of the male gender. Think of the biggest hits over the last few years from female artists: “Hollaback Girl”, “I Kissed a Girl (And I Liked It)”, “Single Ladies”, and so on. And don’t get me started on the Spice Girls. It’s strange, but as soon as the sexual wheel start turning in us, boys turn into, “Please like me!” whiners and girls become, “Chase this, bitch!” heart-stomping machines. It's no wonder we've emasculated teenage boys down to wearing tighter pants, longer hair, and more make-up than girls.

Let me know when you hear a song by a guy called, "Don't Worry Guys, We Don't Need Women."

In terms of friends and friendships, there’s a reason why girls so often prefer guys as friends: Because girls are absolutely, downright, utterly evil to each other, bar none. Two quick examples come to mind. When two guys don’t like each other for whatever reason, you rarely ever hear about it lasting longer than a week at most. It always comes to a direct confrontation out in the open. They stare each other down and yell at each other or they get into a fistfight. After that, it’s done. They don’t meet the next day and fight again. They don’t email all their friends and post pictures about the other guy online. They don’t plan a scandal to ruin the other guy’s social life. Because it’s done with. The argument was addressed, a confrontation occurred, and a resolution was accepted. That’s it. From that point on, the two guys avoid each other at all costs – until a few months later when they laugh about it at a party and become friends over beer pong.

Now girls are completely different. Whereas boys deal with conflict on the short-term scale, girls will spend their entire junior high and high school careers absolutely destroying another girl’s social network and confidence. If you ask any man over the age of 30 if his life was ruined by another boy in school, he’ll laugh at you with a curious look. At most he’ll tell you there was a bully, but he simply learned to either ignore it or move on past it. But a woman can be shaped and ruined by what happens to her in high school when a group of girls decide that torturing is the new lunchtime curriculum. The mind games girls play on each other can be downright sinister. They’ll act like friends to each others faces but then turn around and spread disgusting rumors about each other ten seconds later. They’ll steal each other shirts, money, picture and boyfriends for no reason other than to step on the neck of another girl. The drama and gossip and insane amount of stress involved with fashion and pop culture is maddening. It’s no wonder why female suicides during the high school years have climbed to match their male counterparts over the last 15 years.

While girls try to compete with each other like a pack of starving hyenas, guys are just sitting somewhere with their friends, watching TV. Just think about your family gatherings and all the drama that's happened over the years and on holidays. Women always seem to be in the middle of it all. Guys have their vices too, but it's always the same thing: sex. And that's pretty easy to avoid as a girl if you're smart about it.

Don't get me wrong, there are some pretty chill women out there and some very melodramatic boys. But be honest: if you had a room full of girls and a room full of guys - all strangers - and you had to bet your life on which one would break out into an argument first, who would you choose?

I rest my case.

Thankfully, growing up and heading into college, it all slowly starts to even back out. Girls who found out how much power their vaginas had and became promiscuous in high school come to realize how empty they feel inside (no pun intended), and that no amount of sex will make you happier if it isn’t with someone you don’t truly care for. And the guys who have been chasing and begging girls and playing the nice guy to a fault finally see the light and understand the most important rule to us girls: women will only respect you when you respect yourself and have confidence in who you are. Being the lonely guy at a party, standing in the corner with your hair over your eyes will only get you pity; and pity will only make girls your friend, nothing more. As our youth pulls out of this spiraling nosedive of role-reversal, women inevitably become women, and men inevitably become men.

And then Hollywood makes pale-white, glittering, skinny, moping emo vampire boys and society gets nuked back square one all over again.

Game ovaries.

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