I’ve been powering through some really interesting books lately. The first one was 1982 by Jian Ghomeshi which you should all know about due to my publicizing my idea/plea to be on his radio show. Just yesterday I finished The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, finished almost the whole thing in a day to be precise. It was fascinating. If you haven’t heard of it/read it/thought it looked really stupid, just read it.
It’s an awesome trip through a journalist’s (Jon Ronson) attempt at uncovering what makes a psychopath, who is a psychopath, and if maybe these days we’re overdiagnosing people just a little too much. It delves into big-wig CEOs and the belief that they have a much higher preponderance of psychopaths than in the regular population. You meet a man in a criminally insane mental hospital who swears he faked his way in there. Conspiracy theorists, ex-MI5 agents, doctors, Scientologists… you meet them all. And trust me, the whole time you’re wondering who you might know who’s a psychopath because I swear some of those points on that psychopath test really do apply to some people…
If you want to learn something, even if it’s just that your significant other is a psychopath, read, read, read that book.
That’s not what I came to talk about today, though. Last night after finishing The Psychopath Test I began a new book, Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. I fear I’m a little behind on this one since it came out a year ago and everyone was all about it for the few couple of months. I wasn’t as interested in it then (see yesterday’s post about never doing what I’m told to do… it was like that). I spent a good chunk of time at Chapter’s last week, however, and Bossy Pants was part of my purchase.
It’s good so far, entertaining as you’d expect and well written. There is one part near the beginning (obviously since I just started it so I suppose that was a redundant thing to say; “near the beginning”) where she talks about being at a conference of all women and they are asked to write down the moment where they all knew they were women. They’re not talking the moment they figured out they have a vagina, they’re talking about the moment that they really know they were becoming or were a grown adult woman. Apparently, most of the women’s stories involved some sort of male figure cat-calling at them in some way.
That’s when they figured it out? Really?
I suppose the first time a man ever whistles at you or yells something that is all at once undecipherable and obscene from a car, you stop. The thing is, I never stopped and said, “Wow! Men cat calling at me?! I’m a woman now!” I kind of just went, “Wait, really? That’s your move? That’s your move?”
I’m not trying to belittle the women who said this was their first woman experience, I can understand why. I think the first time you get grown male attention is a big deal and it does, in a way, solidify your existence as a grown female. However, cat-calling, whistling, lewd gestures, or any other unwanted admissions of attraction are not grown male attention, in my book. They’re immature and ridiculous.
I would think that the first time someone with a career, their own apartment, their own car, whatever it is that you think qualifies someone as a “grown up”, hits on you… that would be when you’re a woman. Since that would be adult attracting adult, no?
Moving on to my second issue with these stories… why does a male have to be involved? When I first read that question in the book that they had to answer, “At what point did you know that you were a woman?” I stopped and thought about it. It’s a funny story, really:
There actually seems to be a real moment in my life where I finally figured out what I wanted. It was what you’d call a “light bulb moment”. Everything just fell into place. I knew I wanted a place to share my love of baking with everyone, I knew I wanted to continue writing, I suddenly had a much clearer idea of who I was and who I wanted to be. I knew I was a soft person who feigned hardness, who loved her friends and family with her entire being, worked hard, tried to understand the outside world as best as she could, and could do almost anything she set her mind to as a single woman. As a single woman. I actually consciously realized at some point in my life that as nice as companionship, love, and relationships are, I do not need that to further my own self in my life. A relationship is a very nice addition to an already wonderfully full life. This was the moment I first felt like a grown woman.
Imagine my shock when I saw what all these other women’s stories and my immediate doubt in my own womanly moment. I thought I’d missed something. I’ve pondered it, Pinky and the Brain style, and have still come to the same conclusion.
I suppose that what it comes down to is the old, “It may be right for you but it’s not right for me” thing.
I want to be clear that I’m not dissing the book or Tina Fey in any way. I believe she is a wonderful, strong, admirable woman who has done things for women and their rights that most of us only dream of. In fact, my cover photo on Facebook right now is of Tina Fey. It’s also never made clear whether her first woman story coincides with all the other womens’, or perhaps it did and I missed that. It’s possible.
Just don’t mistake a cat-call for an adult admission of attraction. It doesn’t make you a woman, it makes you a piece of property. Oh, and don’t turn around and go all Maury Povich “What did you just say to me?!” on them… that doesn’t make you a grown woman, either.