Don’t Fear The Dowager: A Valentine to Maturity


An adolescent boy’s bed sheet semen’s worth of ink has been spilled lately about men acting too much like boys. But the trend of reverse-striving has crossed over: adult women are acting more and more like little girls, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.

There’s so much ukulele playing now, it’s deafening. So much cotton candy, so many bunny rabbits and whoopie pies and craft fairs and kitten emphera, and grown women wearing converse sneakers with mini skirts. So many fucking birds.

Girls get tattoos that they will never be able to grow into. Women with master’s degrees who are searching for life partners, list “rainbows, Girl Scout cookies, and laughing a lot” under “interests, on their profiles.

When I shop now, I have to make sure that garments I think are dresses, are not actually rompers. If you don’t know what rompers are, they’re shirts attached to shorts, and they used to be called onesies.

The closest thing Madonna ever did to infantilizing herself was for her 1992 Steven Meisel Vanity Fair cover. Today, KATY PERRY IS POSING IN HEADGEAR.

And despite the facade of cliqueishness, and female friendship, and the Romy & Michelle‘ness of gal-pal fun times, let’s be real. We all know these manic pixie Muppet Babies are really just in it for the peen. And instead of acting like a woman who might remind a skittish bro more of his teacher or his mother, we’re going for the pubeless, twee, Anime-eyed version of whatever dream girl we assume they want or need.

It’s like how we used to hide our interests around boys (‘I hate math! It’s so hard!’). Now, instead, we’re singing the praises of Skittles Sours instead of emulating, say, Kathleen Turner? Barbara Stanwyck? Any female lead from the pre-awkward era who stuck out her tits and didn’t talk like Rocky from the Bullwinkle cartoons? You realize the Harajuku girls who danced behind Gwen Stefani, are like “seriously, bitches?” And then they go to book club.

It’s all to the same ends— women are trying to broadcast to men that we won’t bite their dicks off. It’s just that now, instead of lipstick, we’re wearing glittery lip gloss, or that shit you get in the drug store that tastes like Dr. Pepper.

I’m begging age-appropriate females: Read something written before you were born. Stand up straight. Make sure you own one piece of jewelry that you did not purchase on Etsy. Use capital letters in an email to the guy you want to date. Let him take you out on a date, maybe not on a walk or an Xbox session, even if you are, God help you, addicted to LA Noire. Meet your friend for wine instead of fro-yo one night. Watch a movie with no early-90’s nostalgic appeal. Bitch, you already know Clueless by heart.

Nobody’s asking you to be matronly. Laura Bush is no longer in the public eye-as I write this, she’s cheerfully douching somewhere far away, in private. You can make your own modern womanhood-there’s no need to fear the dowager.

Because the larger issue is that it is a lot easier for men -or even guys or bros-to demean us, if we’re girls. It’s much harder to bring down a woman, or to call her a moron, when she’s not in pigtails and Ring Pops. Not that his idea of you should influence your style, or your sense of self-worth. But I feel like in a way, it already sort of has?

Julie Klausner is a comedy writer and performer who wrote a book called I Don’t Care About Your Band. She hosts a podcast called How Was Your Week and is, in general, a Funny Lady.

This post originally appeared on Julie’s website. Republished with permission.

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