25 thoughts on “Sh*t Girls say

  1. Some critical response here: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Careful+promote+stereotypes+expert/5967506/story.html

    “”People think if it makes them laugh, it must be harmless and shouldn’t be taken so seriously. However, these memes promote some of the worst gender, race, sexual orientation and class-based stereotypes,” says Patricia Leavy, associate professor of sociology at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. “Laughing about stereotypes deflects people from thinking about them — and in the real world, they aren’t very funny at all.”

    Read more: http://www.canada.com/life/Careful+promote+stereotypes+Expert/5967506/story.html#ixzz1izL1WYc1

  2. lol, those videos are pretty funny. Question, though: did you post this bexause you thought it was funny or was it just supposed to be an object of more indignant outrage?

  3. Thanks, Sam.

    I was putting it up as, as it were, cultural information; we need to be aware of this stuff. I didn’t find it at all funny, and I am puzzled by it. It’s streets behind real satire like Monty Python’s, IMHO.

    There’s a lot going on where I am right now, including serious flooding and a very ill family member, and I suppose I might have said something more reflective at a different point.

    However, I’m not sure I think it employs “some of the worst gender, race, sexual orientation and class-based stereotypes.” That said, I do a lot of the things the main character does, so I’m less than convinced I’m acting out some of the worst of white, female, middle class straight stereotypes. I can certainly think of far, far worse ones.

    I don’t, by the way, any longer eat chips/crisps while lying down watching TV AND I think I’m past the doily dresses stage, though I confess a weakness for Johnny Was (only on deep discount, though).

  4. b, your comment came in while I was composing mine. Maybe this is just a bad day for me, but I don’t think I could work up outrage over this. And I did think people should know about it.

  5. Yeah, it’s spawned a whole series of them, sh*t someone says, some funnier than others. Sorry you aren’t feeling well.

  6. Jender, thanks so much. Your comment puts me in mind of the second video [CORRECTED: THIRD] in the “Girls Say” video series; you’ll see why if you look at it.

    Actually, I was simplifying a bit; I’m stuck in Galveston and the flooding is in Houston, around my home, among other places. Since the really awful weather is moving south towards here, I’m not able to drive home. At least, I don’t want to risk the flash floods and tornado warnings that lurk between me and home.

    I wonder if this is God’s reponse to Perry’s summer prayers for rain?

  7. Some of the parody videos are funnier than the original. I had no idea about the existence of this meme.

    I agree with Anne that, pace that quoted expert, the stereotypes promoted by the original videos don’t seem to be among the worst. And I wonder how the insights of the last decade or so of scholarship in the areas of stereotype accuracy and stereotypes about stereotypes could be applied to this.

  8. Nemo, nice question! I don’t know off hand, but google is just a second away.

    Thanks for the regards. The killer weather is just about past us, so I’m about to be freed! That’s supposing I can get off this little barrier island that is very flood prone.

  9. annejjacobson: “It’s streets behind real satire like Monty Python’s, IMHO.”

    because monty python never involves men dressing as women and acting in stereotypically feminine ways

  10. james, exactly. It is the same genre. But there isn’t the same quite literal recognition one finds in the current cases. No one, as far as I know, writes of a Monty Python piece that they got it exactly right, and that’s just how ‘my girl friend’ acts.

    To take another MP skit, few of us have tried to return a dead parrot, but many of us have experienced the frustration of being faced with unknowing denial.

    I think the cliche thing to say is that they’ve gotten at something more general, more universal.

    Unfotunately, I’m suddenly visited by a potential Monty Python theme: getting at the univerals. Perhaps it could be rolled into the ‘confuse a cat’ to give us confusing general themes.

  11. It seems to me that perhaps at best, you could argue that a Monty Python sketch like this one is more absurd than “Girls Say.” The content of Monty Python might be strange, but certainly the form of the women’s behavior turns on somewhat exacting stereotypes. In fact, it seems that a lot of Monty Python skits are based exactly on this contrast of sterotypical characters thrown into absurd situations.

  12. I guess I am more bothered by this than most. To me, it potrays women (or should I say “girls”) as needy, overly emotional, contradictory, and helpless around computers. Of course, there are worse portrayals. Does that mean that I shouldn’t be bothered by this one?

  13. JAFM, what’s the root of your bother? That you think the traits/characteristics are at least mildly negative, or that the stereotypes are inaccurate, or that they are accurate, or something else?

  14. I meant to address the previous comment to justanotherfemalephilosopher (JAFP), sorry for the typo.

  15. That they are negative, and that they are self-perpetuating. That women often (but not always) act that way because society tells them that is how they should act. And that society loves to revel in these stereotypes because it loves to laugh at silly women.

    Picture yourself hiring someone who acted like that. Does that person appear to have the qualities you would want? intelligent, self-confident, logical, dependable, etc?

  16. JAFP, the degree to which this is really self-fulfilling is an empirical question. From what I’ve read, most studies (with handful of notable exceptions) indicate that expectancy fulfilment effects are not particularly powerful, permanent or unavoidable. And we also now know that in the presence of individuating information, people tend not to rely on stereotypes nearly as much as previously supposed. It’s hard for me to foresee this video having a particularly destructive effect in that sense. But perhaps you’re right.

  17. JAFP, let me point out that the remark that there are worse stereotypes was made in answer to the claim that the video portrays some of the worst stereotypes.

    I’m not sure how to address the question of whether she has what one looks for in a job candidate. First, none of the material has anything to do with job interviews. Secondly, “a job” covers such a wide range. But she seems reasonably well educated, can speak grammatically correctly, she has some capacity for self-assertion, and apparently realizes the value of feed back. So if she interviewed well for a low-rung mangerial job and then I found a similar video of her on youtube, I don’t think it would weigh much.

    I do think it is the case that films like this can make young women aware of how their behavior, if it is portrayed on such a clip, can look in different contexts. In fact, if I’m sitting in a computer lab and run into a glitch, I might well ask is anyone knows anything about computers. If there’s technie near-by, they could save me an hour or more of trying to figure it out, which is not my idea of a good use of research time. I am the technie in my home, so I might well solve the problem, but I’d much rather someone else do it quickly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people around who are sure they can solve the problem and can’t. In any case, I might amend my strategy here given that apparently it plays into a stereotype.

  18. JAFP, I have to say I interpreted the videos in a very different way. I took them as a friendly parody of women who are actively stereotypical. I don’t think anybody (not even sexist men) could believe that all women are terrible with computers, contradictory, craving for food, etc. in the way in which the character in the videos is, among other things because that character is clearly Anglo-saxon. Only a few young women act like that, and my impression is that they are not pretending it’s something they can’t avoid. It’s more something like an aesthetic stance, which can sometimes be a bit ridiculous, and I took it that the videos wanted to show how ridiculous it can be sometimes, in a friendly way. I realize the videos themselves don’t support that interpretation rather than yours, so I may be wrong.

  19. If the point of the video was to shine a light at women about the way they behave and the way that behavior looks, then great. If it has the effect on some women of making them rethink some of their behaviors, then great. However, I first saw the video when my niece and nephew (in their early 20s) were talking about it on Facebook. They thought the video was hilarious. “Ha! Girls really do say sh*t like that! Hahaha!” Again, I hear this as, “Ha! Women really are such silly things, aren’t they?” I wasn’t amused, though not knowing how to respond, I said nothing, especially given that my sister (their mother) also found it funny.

    I wish I could say that few women act like that. In my experience, all too many do. Again, I think it’s what’s expected, both by other women and by men.

    What I meant by the hiring question was, would you hire someone who acted silly, flaky, demanding, contradictory? I wouldn’t.

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