First published on Wednesday the 16th of March, 2016, this piece comes in at number 22 in the top 30 most read Villainesse stories of 2016.
(No, Marlon Wayans didn’t get a Tumblr. That would be kind of cool, though…)
I’ll admit it. When I first heard about the whole white girl with a blog thing making the rounds on the net, I snorted. That’s partly because I’d met girls like that before. Several, actually. We happened to be quite good friends.
You know the type: her Instagram feed is packed with a bunch of snaps of gracefully drifting autumn leaves (because aesthetic!), pumpkin spice monstrosities, and sappy John Green quotes, all strategically arranged to look like a page ripped straight out of a fine arts student’s portfolio.
At first, I – like most people, I’m guessing – wrote the whole thing off as just another Reddit rib-tickler extracted from the murky depths of some obscure thread. Oh, internet, I thought. First the business with Poot Lovato, now this weirdness.
But then I started to notice something a little… unsettling, to say the least. A pattern. Not a nice sort of pattern, either, like the wallpaper in your friend’s mum’s bathroom, the kind you can stare at for hours before you remember to flush.
Nowadays, there’s a growing trend where girls are shamed for their fancies – whether plastering the walls of their bedroom with One Direction posters (as if that’s somehow less acceptable than grown dudes stringing up soccer jerseys? But okay, whatever you say, Captain Patriarchy), or drooling over arty pictures on Tumblr of glittery henna tattoos swirling up a flawlessly manicured hand, or – God forbid – pining after some of that sweet Starbucks nectar. Whatever the case, Beyoncé was right, guys. Girls can’t catch a break.
And that really sucks, because being a teenaged anybody is tough, but being a teenage girl is double-shot tough. I mean, I can’t exactly speak from experience. That phase blew right by me. But what with all the raging I-could-rip-you-apart-and-do-my-nails-at-the-same-time hormones, coupled with the crushing burden of societal expectations, not to mention the Regina George clones stalking the schoolyard… yeah, it’s basically hell on earth.
These sorts of gags mightn’t seem all that worrying on their own, but like individual threads snaking through a much larger tapestry, they help bind together a culture that doesn’t permit girls to express perfectly valid emotions without being on the receiving end of a bit of ridicule. And that’s not okay.
So the next time I swing by my local coffee joint, I’m going to get into the white girl spirit and hit up the barista for a pumpkin spice latte. I mean, I kicked caffeine a while ago, so it’ll have to be decaf. And since I’m not big on animal products, they’ll have to swap out dairy for soy… but it’s the thought that counts.
Heck, while I’m at it, I might just kit up in yoga pants and ugg boots. It’s not really my style, but it’s about time we did away with some of these troublesome stereotypes, once and for all.
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