This is something I'm sure a lot of us women have heard from time to time. It seems that these days doing some combination of any of the following can cause this reaction (not at all a comprehensive list, just a select few):

playing sports
watching sports
burping/farting a lot
having casual sex/kissing/flirting/any-type-of-loving and liking it
not caring about being in a relationship
hanging out with a lot of men (but not sleeping with any of them)

I've been called a guy for a majority of the things on that list, and I've heard other women called guys for everything on that list. The thing is, I never really knew how to take it. Is that a compliment?! Is it an insult?! I still have no idea.

Of course, being such a guy or one of the guys is supposed to be a compliment. After all, men are what we're supposed to want to be, right? We want to do things like wear pants, get paid equal wages, not get harassed on the street, etc. So if somebody says that we're such a guy, then this must mean we've somehow succeeded. We are now one step closer to being men. SCORE!

And yet...

People don't generally like when you don't conform to your gender. After all, some of these things on their own also get negative labels. You can be a slut if you have casual sex, you can be just completely gross if you burp loudly, etc. So there's also that level of "ugh, what are you doing, you're not supposed to be acting that way!"

But who says we aren't? I know SO MANY women who have done something to have them called a "guy" before. So if there are so many women doing so many "manly" things, then are they really that "manly?"

I'm not going to lie-- for a long time, I definitely took it as a compliment when people told me that my casual outlook on relationships made me such a guy. But after a while, I started asking myself what they were really trying to say about me. Looking back, I think some of them meant it as a compliment, while others were just looking for a better way of saying they thought I was on the verge of being a full-blown slut (mind you, I was a virgin, but that's another post for another day).

Really, whatever it's meant to be, it's harmful in the long-run. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that this is just another way of keeping people within the gender stereotypes they're supposed to adhere to. So next time you hear somebody say that, think for a moment, try to get them to say what they're really trying to say, and- if you're feeling particularly brave- explain to them why they should stop saying that.

NOTE/FYI: Feminocracy has a great response up.


At Tue Jul 22, 08:25:00 AM Queers United said...

whether they mean it as a compliment or insult they are living up to gender stereotyping, who is to say that these attributes are male or female in nature?

At Tue Jul 22, 12:12:00 PM frau sally benz said...

Yep! That was my point exactly!

At Wed Jul 30, 01:48:00 AM Danny said...

Honestly I've used that line a few times in my life and I can tell you how I mean it.

Whenever I've used its been in the sense you, "You've decided to do you own thing and have happen to chosen something that is typically associated with being a guy." There's no right/wrong or proper/improper intended by it because even though I point it out I don't actively tell them to not do such things because only men are allowed to do them or something crazy like that.

Now while I have never intended right/wrong or proper/improper with that line it would seem that its not being taken as such...interesting.


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