I came across this meme on Instagram yesterday and it damn near made my head explode:
This type of “girls should be” meme kills me. It really does. The majority of people I’ve seen post things like this are women which infuriates me even more. We’re only serving to perpetuate the idea that we have to be a certain set of distilled characteristics in order to desirable. It props up an already unattainable image of femininity, female sexuality, and just the whole goddamn definition of being female.
And maybe this is unfair, but as a woman, why would you post these memes in the first place? I read it as a way to put other women down, or at the very least, on notice. Why do you need to tell other women how to act or how they should behave? It’s reductive and insulting for a number of reasons. I can stretch my imagination to see why someone might think this is cute as a teenager. But after that, you should develop some critical thinking skills and realize women have it hard enough in a world where their bodies are constantly policed and their worth consistently undervalued without you posting wack ass memes about what they should or shouldn’t be.
Also, WTF does it even mean?!?! SHUT UP. I know what it means. I’m just trying to illustrate how vacuous and vapid these messages are. “Pretty to see”? Really? Nothing about intelligence or wit or ambition. There’s not a word about substance or strength of character. Just be pretty and play hard to get. So, who is this message for really? What purpose does it serve other than to give boys unrealistic expectations of “girls” and make women feel bad about themselves? This isn’t a message about empowerment; at the core, it propagates male gaze and anachronistic views of sexuality.
This is another favorite (not really) of mine:
Sure, you might feel this quote is substantiated because Coco Chanel said it. That’s because Coco Chanel could say whatever the hell Coco Chanel wanted because she was COCO FUCKING CHANEL. You’re a self-proclaimed Instagram fashionista/model/makeup artist. EXIT LEFT, THANK YOU.
Was that mean? Yes, but also very necessary.
How about “girls” can be whatever they want? They can be butterflies or tigers or unicorns or sharks. They can be classy, elusive, meek, smart, boring, fabulous, crafty, sneaky, nasty, mean, ambitious, confident, neurotic, insecure, witty, aggressive, carefree, trashy, jealous, compassionate, cold, vulnerable, strong, funny, honorable, wild, etc., etc. Yeah, I get that won’t fit on a meme. But that’s the point. Stop telling girls and women their value can only be derived from elusive, unrealistic, and frankly, incredibly paternalistic traits and just stick to posting your OOTDs and kitten pictures.