Sugar and spice and everything hackneyed

What’s it like to be a woman? Well just ask Tom Michelson, who spent a week living as he “imagined a woman might.”
So did Michelson take a pay cut and endure street harassment? Balance work and family?
Nope. Apparently the experience of being a woman can be summed up by dieting, waxing, shopping, and scrubbing the bathroom floor. Seriously.
Just a taste of this stellar example of journalism:

I’m well into my experiment but am struggling to worry about all the things my female friends do. I must try harder to worry about my biological clock. I must try feeling anxious that I’ll never meet the right person and settle down. And I still haven’t got the hang of thinking about cellulite.

Who knew it was so easy–and so vapid!–to be a woman?

Join the Conversation

  • Shinobi

    Good thing I’m too worried about cellulite to eat breakfast, because that would have just made me throw it up.

  • http://www.breakingthetape.com/21stcenturymom 21stCenturyMom

    So stoooopit.

  • kjalepepper

    This is all so familiar. I think the writer has seen one too many Mel Gibson movies.

  • Xana

    I love this quote: “I’m a woman, and if my life was full of inane nonsense like that I think I’d probably kill myself.
    – Zoe J Green, Aspe, Spain”
    Also, look just to the right of that article and you find one on what makes the “perfect breast.” Yuck.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=483487&in_page_id=1770

  • http://thecurvature.com Anonymous

    oh my god what a fucking ass. I can only hope that hsi “female friends” are not his friends any longer.

  • sgzax

    You find so many of these articles in British newspapers.

  • jamiezoellner

    Gag, the Daily Mail. I just moved to Ireland from the US for a year, and I was extremely disappointed to discover the lack of quality journalism for women here. Browsing through the women’s section of any magazine rack, you’ll find loads of tabloids and maybe a few homemaking mags. I miss Bitch, Bust, Ms., etc!

  • Olivia

    Ugh…I couldn’t even read all of the article, it was just so stupid and patronizing. The women he cites as his friends and sources, are obviously not really friends. If they were, he would know they have more depth in their thoughts than the latest diet and make-up.

  • ElleMariachi

    “I won’t wear dresses but I will ring my mother every day, buy flowers, read my horoscope, pluck my eyebrows and browse the chick-lit section of the bookshop – all things deemed necessary by my panel of female advisors.”
    Apparently, I make a bad woman.
    I also don’t like this: “I recall a girl who told me how she and her friends would ring ex-boyfriends after a couple of glasses of wine to reopen discussions that are probably best left alone.”
    I don’t know why. Just rubs me the wrong way for some reason.

  • betsybop

    It’s the Daily Mail though, they are not renound for their insight. I’m more worried about the friends who told him how to behave

  • SarahMC

    Mr. Smartypants can’t possibly know any actual, living women.
    Not that I expect quality journalism from The Daily Mail. (Should be called the Daily Male).

  • http://profeministmale.wordpress.com ProFeministMale

    I have a story on that I’d like to share.
    I’ve got a friend who was going through the process of becoming a woman and all of the sudden, decided to stop.
    A few months ago, at a “this is what a feminist looks like” forum on campus, in which we talked about our experiences as third-wave, college-aged feminists, he summed up his coming to feminism like so:
    “I was going through the process of becoming a woman and was dressing as such and everything – and guys started noticing me and I saw that I was treated differently and with less respect. It’s as if, not knowing I was actually male, they thought I had a vagina – which they wanted access to, and that’s all I was good for.
    So, because of that – I came to feminism, and at the same time, decided to stay male – as I’ve seen how the world treats females, even if it was only an image of such.”
    I liked his story.

  • kissmypineapple

    That’s very lucky for your friend that he can choose to keep his privilege. I’m glad that he became a feminist; I assume that the experience made him want to help women and change the culture that allows them to be treated that way.

  • http://karmic-reverberations.blogspot.com karmalily

    What an ass

  • SarahMC

    If only all men could REALLY see what it’s like to be “woman” like PFM’s friend.
    Saturday morning I was meowed at (like a cat) by some douche in a pick-up truck while I walked my dog. I told my boyfriend about it when I got home and his response was, “that’s because you’re so beautiful!” I was like, no. That’s not why. Ugh. They don’t get it.

  • l.short.1230

    that was…weird.
    I am very worried about his friends. However, I have met women who live like that, and I get confused. Then again, I’ve been told time and time again that I’m “different” from most women. (OMG my pits are hairrrry, we’re all gunna diiiiiiiiiie)
    If he had, say, considered the cultural implications of why he was ‘supposed’ to think all those things, it would have actually been really interesting. That might have been what he was trying to do. (I like to hope for the best in people) But he didn’t, and thus, ends up an ass-hat.
    Shaving is damn itchy, though.

  • Peepers

    Maybe 3% of my issues about being a woman in my culture come from actually being a woman.
    The vast majority have to do with being beheld and treated as a woman.
    I’m talking about a lifetime of being commodified and constricted, of being perceived and reacted to as “less-than” and “other than.”
    ProFeminstMale’s friend scratched the surface of this. Michelson pre-emptively drew the line.
    No purse? No dress? Sure, honey-lamb, ’cause that would just be demeaning, wouldn’t it. A dram of reflection on his authentic lived experience in this little, personal experiment would have improved his article dramatically.

  • florafloraflora

    Yeah, that was boring.
    Now, if he’d gotten an infection in an armpit follicle that eventually spread to his entire body and KILLED him? That would be some cutting-edge journalism right there.
    Hey, we can dream.

  • Staar84

    I am seriously insulted. The whole “getting drunk and calling an ex” thing really pissed me off. Because I dont know any girls who have done that. I do, however, know a few boys who have. And I drink beer. All he’s doing is testing out sterotypes. I love the idea of give him a smaller paycheck, and having construction workers whistle at him when he walks by. At least he tried to multitask.

  • Charlie

    Guys: it’s the Daily Mail. Pretty much every article in it is as objectionable as this, every day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s ok, but would just like to make it clear that no-one with half a brain in the UK takes anything in it seriously as journalism.

  • Allytude

    THis guys has Definitely been watching that stupid Mel Gibson movie…
    and no real women

  • amberbrook

    I highly recommend you all post your comments on the site for the actual article too!

  • starkiss412

    Dear Tom Michelson,
    You’re not funny.
    Sincerely,
    Women with Brains

  • sybann

    Asshat. Work 50 hours and clean the house, feed the family. Make him spend twice as much on clothing, makeup and “product” needed to be presentable in a workplace that pays you .75 on the dollar – IF you’re lucky – then we’ll talk.

  • plenilune

    want to know what it’s like to be a woman? how about worrying about whether or not the rather innocuous outfit you put on for work, or the jeans & tank top you put on for grabbing a few beers with friends at a bar, will draw the unwanted attention of some sidewalk or subway lech? that’s something i find myself thinking about far more often than my weight or my eyebrows. and it’s something i find myself dealing with more often than trying to schedule in a mani & pedi because “oh no! my nails look like crap!” that’s for damn sure.
    nice piece of fluff. next time you want to be a woman for a week, dude, be sure to ask more than a “small bunch of female friends” because clearly women who are friends with daily mail fluff writers are not representative of any actual woman’s real life.

  • torye

    Did anybody actually read the rest of the article? The part was posted was cut out of an article that evidently satirical in nature. similar in fact to many articles written in major american publications such as the New Yorker.
    Here’s the end of the article by the way for those that would like to read it:
    But it’s a relief to be resuming my own persona. I did find the week difficult – and I’d only dipped a polished toenail into a woman’s life. I experienced none of the real pressures and tribulations that a woman faces every day. Tammy Wynette was quite wrong when she sang ‘Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman’. It’s not. It’s always hard to be a woman. Especially if you’re a man.
    He’s giving us credit for all of the hard stuff that we do daily. Way to jump down his throat ladies.

  • jane

    torye – You want us to give him credit for believing it would be harder for a man to be a woman, than it is for a woman to be a woman.
    GIVE US A BREAK.

  • UCLAbodyimage

    The story raises a good point. I wonder how people actually envision that the other half lives. For example, I wonder what women think life is like as a man and how far off-base those imaginations are, and what men think life is like as a woman, and how far off-base those imaginations are.
    In any event, I thought this post was interesting because the first writing assignment in our class is to a) write about how our gender has influenced our personal lives and b) how we think our lives would be different if we woke up tomorrow as a member of the other sex.

  • SarahMC

    “He’s giving us credit for all of the hard stuff that we do daily.”
    …yeah, like worrying about cellulite and scrubbing toilets. Which a.) are not inherently female, and b.) are completely superficial.

  • rumpuskat

    It might be a parody of chick lit, but it misses its mark. He almost made a great point when he said this:
    “My armpits are itchy, my under-eye concealer has given me a rash, and an article on sex in Cosmopolitan has made me feel like I’ve been doing it all wrong.”
    Oooh, he’s going to say that feminine beauty standards are obnoxious! No. He makes this conclusion:
    “I can’t believe that women actually take these things seriously.”
    Silly little girls. Because shaving the armpits is something women invented, not Gillette’s campaign to expand its markets.

  • eastsidekate

    Reading this post reminded me of some of the old behavioral protocols that transsexual women had to go through decades ago (or at present, depending on location) to get access to hormones and surgery. This article may be an attempt at satire, but it’s not funny– way too many men think that this sort of silly superficial crap is the key to womanhood. It ain’t, and every other woman I’ve talked to about it agrees. The world would be a much better place if self-centered men stopped making up rubbish about how women are– maybe they could ask us or something.

  • natmusk

    I’m going to try and figure out what it’s like to be a guy for a week. I’m going to scratch my balls, drink beer, focus on fantasy football, and try not to be distracted to the point of unfunctional by women’s breasts…..
    honestly could he be more stereotypical

  • UCLAbodyimage

    “I’m going to try and figure out what it’s like to be a guy for a week. I’m going to scratch my balls, drink beer, focus on fantasy football, and try not to be distracted to the point of unfunctional by women’s breasts…..
    honestly could he be more stereotypical”
    Errr.. that first one can be pretty important! You definitely don’t want to leave them in an uncomfortable position for too long!

  • UCLAbodyimage

    “I’m going to try and figure out what it’s like to be a guy for a week. I’m going to scratch my balls, drink beer, focus on fantasy football, and try not to be distracted to the point of unfunctional by women’s breasts…..
    honestly could he be more stereotypical”
    Errr.. that first one can be pretty important! You definitely don’t want to leave them in an uncomfortable position for too long!

  • sianandcrookedrib

    with all due respect, i don’t think the daily mail know what satire is!
    i commented on their site after finding it through the f-word, but felt really quite despairing at how much praise it got.
    what can you do about that?