It was a feeling that started with the Ocean’s 11 movie franchise, and then Judd Apatow came along and just knocked it into next week: sometimes I just wish I was part of the boy’s club. I want to drink martinis or beer and talk about chicks and make dirty jokes with my friends all day!
Okay, I’m kidding. Well, half kidding, anyway. It does sound like fun. But more to the point, it got me thinking about gender roles in a broader sense (because why don’t I like girl’s club movies, a la SATC and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, in the same way?) and I reached the same conclusion: “damn, sometimes I wish I was a guy!”
Women’s roles have changed a lot in recent generations, and for that we can all be very, very grateful. But there are certain things that get me all hot and bothered in the penis envy department. Let’s start with the simple ones:
1. Gotta pee? Pick a street corner!
2. Too hot out? Take your shirt off!
3. Not in the mood for foreplay? It’s optional!
4. Need a haircut? That’ll be $10, please!
5. Your friend is leaving early, so you’ll be walking home alone? No problem!
Okay, those are the easy ones. And now things get a little more complicated:
Sex! I. Love. Sex. Yet the player/slut conundrum still plagues us, and that, for me, is one of the most grating. And now that men are getting carte blanche left and right to cheat, with studies and authors validating the long held notion that men have a primal need to sow their oats and create as many offspring as humanly possible for the survival of the species, they’re practically expected to bang everything in sight! Women who do that are either a wee bit slutty or defined as “having sex like a man.” I guess that’s supposed to be a form of reclaiming the sexual standard, but as long as it’s still defined in terms of one gender or another, I don’t think we’ve gotten that far.
Also good: Sex without fear of pregnancy (because I’m sorry, you will never convince me that men worry about this as much as women) would be awesome! How many panicked “I think I might be pregnant” phonecalls/IMs etc have we all gotten from friends in our lifetimes? So, fellas, you had some not-my-best-decision unprotected sex? No morning after pills for you!
Women are programmed to care about others more and think about themselves less, and sometimes it sounds so good to just be totally selfish. Taking other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration can be exhausting, but at the same time we would be wracked with guilt were we to ignore them! What’s a girl to do?
Also bad: This whole “gender pay gap” issue, still unresolved. The Lilly Ledbetter Act gives us hope, but really? It’s 2009. I understand that we may make less in our lifetimes if we choose to have children and work less, but if we are working the same amount in the same job, we damn well better be getting paid the same amount!
Men can carry a little extra weight, age a little faster, and no one seems to mind. I know these are only things we care about because we live in a society that tells us our physical appearance is a priority, and it is within my power to ignore that if I choose. But the fact that I have to choose is what I’m really addressing. I’m not saying it’s SOOO hard to be a woman because we have to be thin/pretty/ young/smart/successful: we don’t have to be anything. But you cannot go through life being unaware of what these expectations are, and deciding to heed them or not is a choice we all have to make. Men don’t seem to have to make that same decision.
Also ugly: Guys, are you 40 and single? Nobody notices!
Any guys out there want to weigh in? Are there downsides to being a guy that I’m not seeing? There are definitely things I dig about being a lady, but I’d love to get an outsider’s perspective.