Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ladies Survey

My friend Amanda tagged me in this beautiful video. A few years ago I made a tag response to end all tag responses (and by that I meant I was no longer going to accept being tagged anymore) but in a tweet Amanda expressed that she was interested in my responses, so I'm going to talk about the questions here. I'm not sure I'll have something to say for all of them, but here goes:

1. Who are your favourite female YouTubers?
I like this because I was actually able to become friends with a lot of them. LizzieRadio, ShesSoMickey, elffia, gemllama, genericfirstname, georgieBOOM, HatticusRex, Nerdfighteratalie, supersharayah, TheHill88, losergoescrazy.
2. Who are your favourite female athletes?
I don't really follow sports at all. Like, not at all. I guess my friend Jackie who defeated Hodgkin's Leukemia and runs marathons would be it.
3. What is your favourite book written by a female with a female protagonist?
This is hard for me because I don't read a lot of fiction, and a lot of what I have read is the white male selection they make you read in school. 

My friend posted this picture on facebook with the caption: "Read. Repeat 6 times and claim your english literature credit." I thought that was relevant.

That said, I do read a lot of comics written by women, a lot of autobio stuff. I think my favorite is probably Liz Prince.
4. What is your favourite film written by a female with a female protagonist?
It probably doesn't count, but Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. Again, hard to find something that fits.
5. Who is your favourite female fictional character?
6. What is the biggest problem facing female creators today (and any solutions)? 
I don't know that I feel confident saying it's the "biggest" problem, but as I'm reading The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, I can't help but think of the way a woman's appearance overshadows her content in a way that doesn't hold true for male content creators.
7. Do you think youtube and online video in general are better or worse suited than television for tackling the problems and prejudices women face in the workplace? 
In some ways it's better, and in some ways it's worse. As Amanda said, online video allows women to present themselves the way they please, as both the star and the creator of the content without a panel of assholes to answer to. BUT content online puts the creator in direct contact with the viewers which opens up new channels for misogynistic harassment.
8. What do you pledge to do to make the internet a better environment for all creators?
I pledge to call out misogyny when I see it.
9. Tell us a story/secret whatever featuring women!
In her video, Amanda talks about how women are brought up to be in competition with one another, and I have to say that I haven't felt this as strongly as I have with Jenna Marbles. I watched some of her videos and immediately hated her because she is the impossible combination of desirable to dudes, beautiful AND funny. I expected that I wouldn't be alone in this feeling of hatred toward her, but then all of my female friends who would normally understand where I was coming from expressed that they really like her. It drove me nuts.

I hate that I have to compete with other women, but I've never found myself in a secure position to where the competition wasn't horribly real. When I was in undergrad I dated this guy who I got along with better than I ever expected possible. He was sweet to me in genuine ways that indicated to me that he really understood me. But then a strong willed friend decided she hated me, but still liked my boyfriend and my roommates. I was allowed to hang out with everyone still, but after getting home from the studio or work, staying up late to spend time with my boyfriend and my friends was an effort rewarded by a horrible tension created by the strong willed friend. Soon my boyfriend broke up with me, stated the reasons we'd always said would lead to our demise, and started sleeping with and dating my roommate (literally the next day). They dated for two years, one of which she was still my roommate for.

As a part of my healing process from that situation, I moved to the next town over to get away from everything. As I was doing so, my best friend who-I-was-in-love-with from high school told me he also  was moving to that next town for very different reasons. I was convinced that it was "God's Plan" for us to finally end up together this way. We went to the same church and the pool of available bachelors was frighteningly small. I felt way more comfortable being friends with married ladies. One night at a quilting group, I decided that I should stop seeing other single ladies as competition and befriended the only other single lady there. Around the same time, my best friend who-I-was-in-love-with befriended her too. I'd make extra effort to hang out with everyone, but it soon became really awkward for me and I learned that they were dating. I told my best friend I wouldn't be able to handle hanging out with him anymore, and soon enough they were married. I spoke to him a few times since, very briefly, but I declined the invitation to his wedding.

I had been hoping that befriending her would prove my feelings wrong, but instead it just confirmed them.  I hate it.


1 comment:

Amanda McLoughlin said...

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for your honesty. I had a similar reaction to Jenna Marbles -- surely she can't be this funny and smart and beautiful! What's she hiding? -- but I'm trying to get over it. That Young White Male Author graphic is too true; from Joyce to John Green, it's a trope I can't help but read and re-read.