Calling A Girl 'One Of The Guys' Isn't A Compliment, It's A Problem

by Alexia LaFata

She's totally "one of the guys."

She drinks beer and likes it. She plays video games and wins. She hides her feelings and never gets mad. She makes poop jokes and publicly announces her ability to do that weird fart thing with her armpit. You sometimes forget she's a girl, which means she's cool.

Now, let's turn the tables for a second. He's totally one of the girls. He goes for manicures and likes it. He watches romantic comedies and weeps a little. He cries about his ex-girlfriend over a bottle of wine. He can talk about One Direction and enjoys pumpkin spice.

You sometimes forget that he's a guy, which means he is -- what? I doubt "cool" was the first word that popped into your mind. In fact, I doubt anything positive popped into your mind.

What does it mean when we say a girl is "one of the guys"? It means she, as a female, exhibits qualities typically reserved for dudes. It's pretty awesome when a girl does masculine things, right? What about when a guy does feminine things?

For guys who like Pinot Grigio and manis, there are far more negative social consequences. When we narrowly define "being cool" as "acting like a dude," we put masculine qualities on a pedestal and we shame femininity. What's wrong with being girly?

My friend once dated a girl who he, indeed, said was "one of the guys," prompting an eye-roll from me so deep into my skull that I think I lost the ability to see for a day.

This girl smoked cigarettes and played sports and wore no makeup, so my friend excitedly proclaimed that she was "one of the guys" and therefore, "cool."

I scoffed at all of these statements. I reminded him that he was still dating a female and I hoped he was aware of that. I hoped he was aware that he may discover that she has complex feelings and likes to go shopping.

"No way," he said proudly. "She's one of the guys."

Well, when the two of them broke up, and she became upset and emotional about it, she lost her cool factor. Instead, he actually started to call her crazy. Crazy.

Suddenly, with just a slight display of stereotypically feminine behavior, the girl who was once "one of the guys" was now just "crazy."

What happens to that girl who feels like she's "one of the guys"? One of two things may occur: For one, she may hate it; she may feel like you only like her for her "masculine" qualities, so she'll repress any desires to behave like a girl because you'd get freaked out if she did.

In this way, you boys got what you wanted (a platonic, asexual friend), but she can't get what she wants, which maybe, just maybe, is a boyfriend out of one of you idiots.

Another option is that she may like it. She may actually buy into it, like she's joined some kind of new all-star team and say things like, "Girls are the worst" and, "Guys are so much easier to hang out with." She may scoff at girls for getting upset or "overreacting" when their boyfriends dump them. She may laugh at stories about guys treating girls like sh*t.

All of this makes her denounce her own kind, which, to me, is definitely the more problematic of the two outcomes.

I'm not saying all girls have to love and support all girls, but if we have women out there who are saying such generalizing "I hate girls!" statements, how can we expect guys to respect us? How can we expect guys to respect us when even we can't respect us? You never hear guys say, "I hate guys." They'd never.

This negative and distorted image of femininity affects how both men and women view femininity.

And women will even apologize for this. “Sorry for being such a girl” is something I’ve found myself saying way too many times.

Tell me the last time you heard a guy apologize for being a guy. I know -- you haven't.

If you want to tell a girl she's cool, just tell her she's cool. Because all girls, even the most chill, hotdog-loving, beer-drinking, fart-making girls have a vagina and the second she becomes cool does not mean she renounces it. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It