Broadsheet links to this article by ex-Wonkette Ana Marie Cox, who takes on the recent warnings against girls going wild. She mentions James Garbarino’s new book, See Jane Hit, which examines “the less savory outcome of freeing girls to excel beyond gender stereotypes.” (Garbarino must have thought Mean Girls was poignent social commentary.) Cox takes his idea– that girls haven’t yet learned to deal with their freedom from gender norms– and argues that it’s fine for girls to go wild… just not too wild. I’m not sure if I buy this part of her argument, but I’ll run with it:
Freeing girls from stereotypes hasn’t made them more masculine, it’s made them more more. Unbound from cultural constraints, they don’t flip to the male side of the spectrum. They just flip out.
Hear that, Concerned Women for America? It’s not that alcohol is corrupting our pure, innocent young coeds. It’s that some women actually like drinking, dancing and having sex. What a revelation!
Maybe it would be progress if we had a definition of femininity expansive enough to include shaking one’s thing without raising one’s top — so that girls could go a little wild without having to rely on what we used to refer to as the “sorority girl’s mating call”: “I am soooo drunk.”
Cox basically gets it right where the AMA, Concerned Women for America, and Female Chauvinist Pigs get it wrong. There’s certainly a way to embrace your sexuality and have fun dancing and drinking without being exploited or jeopardizing your safety. I think a lot of women walk that line quite successfully.
But it makes for better television to show us girls in bikinis doing body shots on South Padre Island, and it suits CWA’s agenda to point to women like Natalee Holloway and Imette St. Guillen as examples of what will happen if girls party and enjoy it. It’s simply not newsworthy that there are there are lots of women who get drunk and just spend the night dancing with their girlfriends, who are willing to flash their friends for a laugh but never a camera crew, who make out with strangers at a bar and then arrive home safely.
If there’s any justice in this world, next week we’ll be seeing a slew of studies and hand-wringing over the growing problem of urban sausages.