Ugh. As a rule we usually we try to avoid over-the-top misogynist websites, but there is a blog post today on Manolith.com that is emblematic of so many things that are problematic in lad mag culture that it could not be ignored. The post, titled "15 Annoying Things Most Girlfriends Do (That You Have to Put Up With)" covers just about every "socially acceptable" woman-hating base out there. You've been warned.
Before we delve into this world of annoying girlfriends, we should note that this post has nearly 2,000 Diggs and has been shared over 500 times on Facebook (and it hasn't even been up 24 hours). While this doesn't make it inherently newsworthy, it does mean that a significant number of people are paying attention to the post's content. Significant enough that it seems worth going through the post and pointing out why those people have the wrong idea.
For the purposes of this blog post (and to ensure that you can get through the day without puking all over your keyboard) we'll review just five of the traits "most girlfriends" possess. All 15 of the reasons why girlfriends (and thus, women) are annoying can be found here.
1. She's Late for Everything
First things first: Absolute statements like that are always going to be wrong (see what happened there?). Saying that girlfriends are late for EVERYTHING doesn't work, even when it comes to girlfriends (and boyfriends) who are punctually-challenged. This one gets worse.
There is no difference between getting ready to go to the bar, out to dinner, out to a movie, to see your parents, or to cross the street and sit at the park. Girlfriends often feel the need to spend an hour (or three) preparing themselves for the outing. If you wise up to this early, and give them a full five hours warning, they will wait until 20 minutes beforehand to begin this preparation. Despite decades of intense social-study on the subject, there is no logical explanation for this.
Really? The subtext here seems to be that girlfriends (read: women) care only about themselves and their looks. Who cares if your parents are in town? She needs FIVE HOURS to get ready, and they'll just have to wait! Women are so selfish!
Of course, we all know people of various genders who are usually on time, and people who aren't. Sure, many women feel a social pressure to look a certain way (helped along, to be sure, by articles like this one) but it is ludicrous to assert that all girlfriends are that inconsiderate.
2. She Can't Just Let Food Be Food
Ah, food. Forever a charged issue when it comes to gender norms. Somehow it's often OK to police women's relationships with food, and now it's apparently OK to grossly overgeneralize them as well.
Guys don't have a problem coming home to a fridge full of beer, bread, ketchup and hot dogs. We'll be happy as clams in front of the TV with our minimalistic, efficient foodstuffs. Women can't live like that; they need to have something different every day, and whatever it is, it can't be plain. It has to be dressed up, special, gourmet. Ideally speaking, women wouldn't even eat at home if they could help it — there'd always be "that cute little place" downtown. Whatever that place is, it changes with the weather.
Where to start? Well, first of all, there is still a very real societal expectation that women should know how to cook, so this assertion that women would like to eat at a restaurant every night is at least a different kind of attack. That being said, this statement ignores the obvious fact that the majority of professional chefs are men. It also taps into that special fear that girlfriends are all turbo-golddiggers who can't wait to trick you (their boyfriend) into giving up your precious hotdog and taking them out to dinner every night.
3. Movies: She Ruins Their Very Existence
That is a mighty bold statement. Just how, pray tell, do women ruin the existence of all movies?
This isn't so much because she talks during your favorite part, or that she can't stop fidgeting or playing with her phone during the movie. Those things are true, but the main problem here is a combination of her taste in movies, her insistence that you watch the movies she wants to see, and her (likely) complete lack of desire to actually pay enough attention to movies you want to watch to actually learn to enjoy them. On the whole, the effect is ruinous. Just bear with her on the chick flicks, and when you want to see something — leave her at home. You'll enjoy it so much more that way.
There is a lot of information in those few sentences. Apparently, women are guilty of the following: talking during your favorite part of any movie, fidgeting without the ability to stop, playing with cell phones during movies, having shitty taste in movies, forcing that shitty taste on you, lacking the desire to even pay attention to a movie you care about, inability to learn to enjoy things outside of the realm of her shitty tastes, and basically ruining the whole medium. But don't worry, you'll enjoy yourself more if you just leave her at home! Women could never exist at the supreme level of taste you yourself have cultivated!
It is interesting to note that all of these reasons why women are annoying are written in the fourth person, using "you." Is this supposed to be cathartic? Because anyone who has ever had a girlfriend can relate? I myself have not had any of the experiences they reference, but I'm a woman so if I had I wouldn't remember anyway. (Selective memory is another reason why girlfriends are annoying.)
4. Constant Guilt-Tripping and Martyrdom
We could respond to this claim, but you probably wouldn't read it anyway, and if you did you probably wouldn't recognize all of the effort that went into writing it. (See? CONSTANT guilt-tripping!) Seriously though, here's how Manolith defends that absolute (and absolutely bogus) statement:
Women can claim martyrdom as a last resort to win any argument, while crying. They might make an outlandish claim, such as "I always cook dinner," even if you actually cook three times a week. They might claim to clean the house, when in fact you divide cleaning chores evenly. There are any number of ways they can guilt-trip guys into folding in an argument, and they use them according to need.
Wow. It looks like women can win any argument by crying and make completely false claims (women are also liars). Why haven't lawyers adopted these crackerjack tactics?
5. Deeming All Things Technical to be Unimportant
Women are such imbeciles. They don't understand anything, and they don't want to try. This was true for movies, but even truer when it comes to anything technical at all.
Possibly one of the most irksome behaviors exhibited by women today, especially once they're comfortable with their relationships, is utter disregard for the technical aspect of a thing. When a man sees a sports car, he likely recognizes it for the engine, suspension, equipment and any number of other things aside from the obvious fact that it looks good. Women will look at it and say "oooh it's cute!" They want the newest smartphone not for its hardware or software, but because it looks new. They don't care how something works, they just expect it to work. This behavior is largely responsible for the amount of times women will drive a car absolutely devoid of oil for two weeks while they wonder why on earth the warning light is on.
As a woman who is at a computer writing this post right now, I beg to differ.
Now, again, it's clear that this is the kind of post that was written with sensationalism in mind, and if we were to interview "The Manolith Team" (no one person wants to cop to authorship) they would most likely say that it was a joke. However, if we feminists know anything, it's that jokes like these usually mask an underlying misogyny, and the social acceptability of these jokes is an indicator that this misogyny is pretty common. You can practically feel the hatred and resentment oozing out of this post (and if you need more evidence, you can read some of the 114 comments this post has gotten, most of them supportive), and no "joke" disclaimer is going to change that.
Until we get to a point in the blogosphere (and we are far from it) where the editors at blogs like Manolith start vetoing these pieces instead of championing them as examples of hilarious, insightful writing, then unfortunately we feminists are going to have to slog through some of them and call bullshit.