Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 01/29/2010
To Have a Boyfriend…
There are a lot of things that suck about high school. For one, getting up after about four hours of sleep because of some ridiculous paper I forgot was due and started at 11. Also, having to pick out an outfit that won’t make me look like I escaped from a mental institution. Another one is the “boyfriend” issue. I always get asked by parents (mine AND others) and other various clueless adults seeking insight into our world, if having a boyfriend is still all that important to girls. Without even getting into the “it’s not an assumption that all teenage girls are heterosexual…it’s a fact in my mind” issue of misguided adults, they also reason that girls have as many extra-curriculars as boys (as if boys used to be our after school activity?), and we are more independent (okay…) so why is having one still as important?
Now, I personally can only speak to why girls have boyfriends, but the first thing they have to realize is that girls don’t have boyfriends because they’re so ridiculously insecure and desperate that they can’t exist without some guy agreeing to pay for their pizza every once in a while. Well…most of the time.
First, there’s the obvious fact of our raging hormones. I think people underestimate girls and their hormones. Just because we’re capable of controlling them doesn’t mean we’re not as affected as guys. I know I have a friend whose conversational repertoire is that of eating and hooking up. She’s actually worse than most guys I know. I’m not sure that’s really something to be proud of, that some girls are that single minded, but its true and its something that’s accepted for boys.
Mostly, I think it’s because having a boyfriend is fun. A boyfriend (a good boyfriend, anyway) is there for you when you want to talk and generally cares about you.
Also, it seems like a lot of the time girls have boyfriends so that people will pay attention. Like, on facebook, everyone knows that that little heart symbol is the most clicked on link in the mini-feed. You’re announcing to everyone that someone likes you; someone thinks you’re pretty, funny, nice, whatever: you’re worth it. A lot of the time that real connection isn’t even there: its just affirmation.
So, there’s status. Even if two people who aren’t popular at ALL get together, they’re talked about. Even if no one cared about him or her singularly, together they get talked about, even if it is in more of a surprised way than a jealous way.
I don’t think having a boyfriend is bad. I don’t think it’s anti-feminist. People at my school assume I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m a feminist (or that I’m a lesbian. They’re very creative). I guess they think that the only way a girl can be independent is if she doesn’t have that overwhelming influence of a guy. Well, guess what? Girls can still have their own opinions AND have boyfriends! Yes, we ARE able to overcome the overwhelming power and intellect of teenage boys! Their extreme brilliance and ideals do NOT sway us in any way! Puh-lease. Teenage boys don’t know what the hell is going on.
I know in my life, having a boyfriend has made a difference. Even if its not really discussed or pointed out, I know when I’ve been in relationships, some girls (who also had boyfriends or who just think they’re hot) would talk to me more, respect me more (because that’s just a display of my talent-Look, I caught one!). But the thing is the difference was never personal. I was always the same person, just treated differently.
So my question is this: why or why don’t you have a boyfriend? Status? Fun? All of the above?
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