Stereotypically "girlie" interests: do you feel contempt for them, and if so, why?

IMO I have noticed that Dopers embrace individuality an important value, yet it seems that traditionally “girlie” interests or activities are frequently dismissed, rejected, or treated with contempt.

  1. Do you agree that there are stereotypically “girlie” interests or activities? A few examples that I believe I have seen mentioned on the Dope are
    -liking fashion, clothes, shoes, handbags
    -enjoying shopping as a form of entertainment, rather than simply as a means to obtain necessary items
    -liking or wearing makeup
    -getting manicures
    -liking jewelry, and in particular, engagement rings
    -watching Lifetime, Hallmark, Desperate Housewives, or so-called chick flicks
    -reading so-called chick lit
    -drinking fruity mixed drinks

  2. Do you agree that stereotypically “girlie” interests or activities are often dismissed, rejected, or treated with contempt on the Dope? If so, why?

From my own perspective, I enjoy many of the items on the above list of stereotypically “girlie” things. I also enjoy many stereotypically “male” interests and activities. Of course there are threads here to discuss stereotypically “girlie” topics, but I also see mocking or contempt of these things in other threads, whereas I don’t think a woman’s liking sports or whisky would be mocked. I find that I tend to self-edit in discussion of so-called “girlie” things because of my perception of this bias. What do you think? I’m interested in comments from women and men.

I’ve seen some threads on shopping, fashion, clothing, etc. I, myself, started a thread about finding comfortable heels to wear on my honeymoon.

However, I do agree that most of the girlier things are dismissed. I saw a thread about buying jewelry, and it was predominantly anti-jewelry. (You could buy more useful things with that money… like video games!) Or the trashing of the Twilight books. (Okay, so I agree with that the books are misogynistic, but still.)

I am very much a tomboy. I don’t like a lot of the girlie things. But there are some girlie things I do enjoy and I find myself not really talking about them here. I don’t feel there’s much of a community for it. I can talk to a girlfriend about it. On the other hand, I don’t come here to talk girlie, I come here for the intellectual stimulation. I don’t have as much of that in my life as I’d like, so I come here. I have enough outlets for girl-talk.

There have been lots and lots of threads about “girlie” stuff - makeup, clothing, bras, shoes, shopping, knitting, crafting. I don’t have the perception that there’s been more mocking or contempt of those threads or questions than of other questions.

There may be some particular posters that express disdain of those topics (which always confuses me, because then, why read the thread?), but that occurs in every thread.

I don’t see much more contempt or disdain of those topics than of topics like types of whiskey to drink, cooking questions, how to properly prepare a steak, whether or not to put ketchup on a hotdog…all of those get some mockery and digs posted, too.

My guess: of the women on the SDMB, a much smaller percentage are “girlie girls” than in the real world. Likewise, a much higher percentage of women are on the SDMB seem interested in “geeky girl” pursuits; renaissance fairs, comic books, Japanophilia, crafts/knitting, and so on.

Girly girls OH MY GAWD SHRIEK shoes shoes shoes
Doper girls HI OPAL! :smiley:

Can you imagine a typical female member of the SDMB squealing, shrieking “OMIGOD!”, and running to hug every female doper that arrived at a Dopefest?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a woman doesn’t have to turn in her geek card (assuming she wants one) just because she owns a few Kate Spade bags or likes jewelry.

I personally have no interest whatsoever in typical “girly” things. I feel left out and bored when the conversation turns to clothes, makeup, and boys, which is why I tend to pick friends weird as I am. I hate that stuff! I hate it! I like being outside looking at bugs!

It’s not that I despise femininity or whatever. I hate sports just as much. But I happen to have zero interest in these things, and I don’t like the way the world is set up so that girly options are available to girls and guy options are for guys.

PS. Chick lit must die!

I like certain girly things, like jewelry, purses, and dressing up. I dislike other girly things, like fashion magazines and Desperate Housewives and malls. I don’t have a contempt for those things, I just don’t care for them personally.

Sometimes I tend to be especially hard on things like romantic comedies, because their depiction of love isn’t interesting or exciting or accurate to me. Many of them seem pretty insulting to both genders. Women are often not permitted to have real flaws in these films… one reason I love science fiction like Battlestar Galactica so much is because it takes all of its characters seriously. To give an example of two strong female characters – Starbuck is a self-defeating alcoholic trouble-maker and the President is a stubborn ideologue with occasional forays into religious mania–these are both people with serious, real flaws, but they are both vital to the plotline, sympathetic, and believable characters. The creators manage to do this without robbing them of their identity as women. It is a really beautiful thing to behold, and I almost never see it. Instead, I see cute and quirky female protagonist after cute and quirky female protagonist doing and having it all because She’s Worth It.

I’m not cute and quirky and I can’t have it all. I am a glaringly flawed, slightly insane, nonetheless worthwhile person who is tired of being represented by props instead of people.

As for Sex and the City… this comic about sums up my feelings. It feels more like a parody of what women are supposed to be interested in than a depiction of what women are actually interested in.

I guess sometimes I have feelings of hostility toward certain subjects or interests because as a woman in society it’s pretty much always expected as a topic of conversation among women. At work, for example, every conversation among the women I work for revolves around babies, shopping, and cooking. I don’t have any kids, I feel ambivalent about shopping, and I like cooking but find it incredibly tedious to discuss. I recently went to the eye-doctor and all he talked about was how I should never force my husband to go shopping with me. And then I was hanging out in a chocolate store and the owner commented that his chocolate ‘‘eliminates the need for men’’ as if I’m the person behind all those stupid man-bashing e-mail forwards and he can use that to get me to buy his chocolate.

So after a while, I just get sick of it.

I agree that stereoyypically girly things are often treated with contempt on the Dope. My Mom had contempt for stereotypically girly things and really tried to convince me that typical female pursuits are worthless and superficial. In my opinion this is a real sour grapes attitude… she’s pissed off that she didn’t have anyone to relate to, so instead of validating her own interests she demonized someone else’s.

Then there is the, ‘‘must prove I am equal to men’’ mentality that a lot of girls get. I hung out with a lot of guys growing up, and they basically only think you’re cool if you denounce all things girly. I see the same dynamic here – women have respect on the Dope as long as they aren’t interested in woman things. Because being a woman is basically a character flaw you have to overcome. So I imagine a lot of us downplay our girlier pursuits in an effort to fit in better.

You said everything I wanted to say, and just as sarcastically. Thank you. :slight_smile:

I enjoy some of the interests you listed above (chick lit, manicures), and don’t enjoy others (chick flicks, shopping as a pastime). The ones I enjoy, I think are worthy of my time. The others, I think are lame and boring.

I also think plenty of stereotypically male interests are lame and boring. Video games would be #1 on this list. Okay, maybe tied with college sports.

I guess the implication is that there is pressure for women to mock stereotypically female interests that doesn’t exist for men, but I don’t know that that’s accurate. I think people really just mock or dislike the stuff the aren’t interested in.

I made a slight edit because I didn’t want people to think I was implying every woman on the Dope feels this way. For sure, I genuinely love bugs and video games too. I’m not saying it’s all acculturation and brainwashing and peer pressure and not genuine interest. I’m just saying it’s a factor.

The jewelry thing is a really good example. It seems like so many women feel the need to go out of their way and point out how much they hate jewelry. The subtext seems to be, I’M NOT SHALLOW LIKE MOST WOMEN, HONEST!

Well you know, what, I fucking love jewelry. It’s gorgeous and sparkly and makes me feel pretty. I also love martial arts and spiders and Rush. So, you know, whatever.

I typically dismiss a lot of those things as vain, shallow, self-absorbed, but I have to say…I do have a healthy respect for any one, man or woman, who can walk in heels comfortably. Because I can NOT, though since the shoes are always painful, I am going to hope that some women have feet that fit those things. But I suspect not. So…while I still think it’s kinda stupid <would anyone bind their feet now? No? ME EITHER!! :stuck_out_tongue: > I still have a bit of respect for being able to wobble around without wobbling around.

Yeah, I think this is definitely present here.

I do like some girly things. I like hanging out with women. But I’ve never felt ‘right’ wearing lace or ruffles or lots of jewelry–I feel more like me in different, thought still feminine, clothes. Most of my hobbies are feminine–I sew (heirloom sewing at that), I embroider, I have a whole theory on how quilting is feminist and no dissing it is allowed. I much prefer Hindi romance movies to American ones.

So, yeah, I’m a girl and proud of it, but it might not be possible to be a stereotypical girly girl IRL. Nobody really obsesses about purses all the time.

I an absolute girlie girl and I enjoy all the things you mention in your OP except Lifetime movies and Hallmark movies although I’m a big Sex and the City fan. A lot of those activities you list are forms of pampering myself (spa treatments/pedicures/etc) and I work hard and enjoy taking care of myself. My friends are similar (birds of a feather, I guess) so we make a lot of it into social stuff.

I do think it’s definitely looked down on by many at the Dope as vain or frivolous. Why? I don’t really know. I have ideas when it comes to some who are especially vocal about it, but as a whole I couldn’t say. I look forward to reading ideas from everyone else.

I really liked a lot of your post, but I definitely wanted to comment on this.

I really, really, REALLY get bored quickly when talking to a lot of women that I don’t know very well, like at a party or something. I’m not having children (I love my friends’ kids, but want none of my own). I don’t shop unless I’m looking for something in particular (and then it’s get in, buy it, get out). I cook, but it’s not like a huge topic of conversation for me. I don’t watch a lot of TV, and what I do watch tends to be sports and news/current events (Big Bang Theory and Hoarders interspersed here and there). I don’t diet, and am not that terribly concerned about my weight (although I am overweight and probably should care enough to do something about it).

So, in one of those naturally-occurring female-only groupings at parties or get-togethers, I’m frequently just not interested and not participating in the vast majority of the conversation. I usually end up gravitating toward the male-only groupings who are discussing last night’s game or today’s headlines (or Big Bang Theory).

It’s not that I have contempt for the “girlie” subjects that are being discussed - it’s that I don’t care.

This is different with my close friends, because we do talk about things OTHER than children, shopping, cooking, and diets. But it’s been my experience that when women who don’t know each other well get together, those are the fallback subjects and I just don’t have any interest in them.

Other than my taste in alcoholic beverages, I don’t have any girlie girl preferences that I can think of. But no one would ever accuse me of being a wannabe man, either. Sports bore me to tears as much as shopping does. Action movies with gratuitous explosions and violence have as much non-appeal to me as romantic comedies. I go ga-ga over the latest techno gadget just as much as I lust after jewlery. Which is to say very little.

I do sense that anything “girly” is looked down upon. It’s socially acceptable–even desirable–for a woman to profess a fondness for guy things. But if a man says he likes something affilitated with women, well clearly its because he is gay and is not a real man.

A few months ago a guy friend of mine told me he liked Oprah. And I honestly found it refreshing to hear him say that. Not because I just loooooove me some Oprah and needed him to validate my own opinion. But because I’ve seen so many men just hate on Oprah for little reason except that she appeals to women.

I can definitely relate to this.

Though I will say, I had an experience not too long ago, wherein a big group of my classmates (all females) went to the bar to have a couple of drinks after an intense week of papers and exams. I have some really brilliant classmates, fantastic professionals with very bright, dynamic careers ahead of them. These are tough, real, independent, intelligent women.

There were six or seven of us in all, half of us black, half of us white, the oldest in her 40s, the youngest 23, one lesbian, three mothers. What did we discuss over drinks?

Celebrities and classmates we thought were hot. I swear to god, that was the sum total of our conversation. If someone didn’t recognize a name, we googled pictures on our cell phones. It was one giant ‘‘hot or not’’ discussion.

I’m not really into celebrities, so I was surprised how much fun it was. It didn’t feel fake, forced, superficial or immature. It was relaxing and freeing, and we all bonded because of it.

So, I think there is a place for everything.

That sounds hilarious :slight_smile:

And really, I sometimes do get involved and interested in the conversational topics I mentioned earlier. It’s just that they seem to come up so often, with so little variation.

I could see myself having a fun time doing what you described above, but not if it happened at every get-together.

I like pretty jewelry.

I just don’t like talking about it.

I’m kind of that way too. I like nice shoes, but I don’t need to have a long and drawn-out conversation about shoes. ‘‘Those are great shoes! Where did you get them?’’ followed by a brief answer is sufficient for me. Anything beyond that and my eyes start to glaze over.

Some people, man, they can really talk about shoes.

I wear makeup, but it’s hard for me to get into the makeup threads, because I have a hard time reading text about something that is so visual. It’s kind of like discussing art without having the piece in front of you.

In fact, that’s problematic about a lot of ‘‘girly’’ things. They are really about aesthetics, a visual representation of beauty, things that for me are personally difficult to discuss without losing the essence of the thing itself.

My girlfriend is very girly, and it’s probably what I like best about her. It’s charming.