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“One of the Guys” May 1, 2007

Posted by erinsull in cosmo, gender, relationships with men.
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Today in class we talked about the idea of “guys girls”. I don’t know if it is new to our generation but being “one of the guys” is a point of pride. I can’t tell you how many times in high school I heard a girl declare that she “just did not get along with other girls” so she would rather just hang out with guys. This did not diminish her social status at all, if anything she placed higher on the girl hierarchy. (On a side note I notice this phenomenon much less in college, but that may be an issue for another day). So what is so exciting about being “one of the guys”, what makes this girl so special? I looked around online and found this definition of the “One of the Guys Girl”:

She’s literally one of the guys. Wherever guys go she’s there. She’s like the anti-Christ for other girls who want to hang out with the guys, but can’t because they’re feeling judged by this one who is best friends with the entire group. And while One of the Guy’s Girl is never dating anyone in the group because, and she says with smug pride, because I’m like their little sister and they’re all my big protectors. Yeah so she never really gets laid either. Or at least that’s what the rest of us who are sitting in our big groups at parties watching her infiltrate the still very common grade school gender line—men one side of the room, women on the other—would like to believe. In short, guys love her because she pretends not to be an emotional needy girl.

This was written by a female columnist, Simonne Cullen from Lawrence University. This particular column was “The Chicktionary” a guide to every girl on campus. The description hits on some important aspects of the phenomenon like the joking relationship this girl is able to have with her male friends. She is able to hang out with them in stereotypically “male” settings (i.e. game time). And speaking from personal experience, she can make other girls jealous. I remember feeling pressure in high school to be one of those girls who hung out mostly with guys. The “guys girl” has been put on a pedestal by both men and women. When perusing Cosmo online, I can across an article entitled “5 Traits that Make You a Hall of Fame Girlfriend”. Number 4 being: “She’s one of the guys

Men look for women who not only complement them but share their interests as well. If she’s going to be your best friend, then why not do things that you enjoy together? Monday Night Football can be a great activity for two, if you’re both interested in it”. This sentiment was echoed by Bill Simmons, espn.com’s Sports Guy. He wrote a column telling women “How to Watch Sports With a Guy”. He ends the column by saying that a subtle knowledge of sports will get a girl “eternal respect” from guys.

So why is this girl in such an enviable position? Why is having male friends so valuable? I wonder if a lot of it has to do with the idea of respect Simmons’s alludes to. By being “one of the guys” does it mean that above all else a women has earned their respect? And if that is the case why do we give so much precedence to males justifying our personalities? When I was younger I hung out with mostly boys (circumstantially, all the kids my age in my neighborhood were boys) but when I was little this made me a tomboy, a label I did not want. However I noticed a subtle shift when I got into middle and high school. All of sudden hanging out solely with boys did not make you a tomboy. “Guys girls” could be stereotypically “feminine”, they just understood guys better. The more I thought about the pedestal these girls are placed on the more I was troubled. Too often I heard that “girls guys” just “didn’t like girls”, because they are too catty, vapid etc. While its great to value male friends it becomes troubling when it means degrading other women in the process. (this might just be a personal rant, but its something that bothered me a lot at the end of my high school experience).

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Comments»

1. sindhub - May 5, 2007

Maybe this is indicative of how obnoxious people in my high school were, but I think one of the main reasons the guys’ girl is so appealing is precisely because she’s anti-girl, and frequently even misogynist. By saying that she hates other girls because they’re all bitchy, etc., she’s saying what it’s not as ok for guys to say. In my experience, it’s also ok for the guys’ girl to pretty blatantly objectify other girls, which only makes her hotter/more appealing to guys.

Ironically, since the reason it’s ok for her to say these things is because she’s a girl herself, isn’t it demeaning her own power? That’s how I’ve always seen this image of the anti-girl girl (not necessarily always associated with the guys’ girl), as a woman who uses what power she has to buy into the patriarchal system and use it to oppress other women in a more legitimate way.

2. sindhub - May 5, 2007

Case in point: the “Chicktionary” article that you linked to. It’s written by a woman, and some of the points (especially the last one) are just so incredibly demeaning and objectifying to women.

3. teana - May 18, 2007

I think that the guys’ girl is a very interesting label especially compared to the tomboy label. I think that the difference is that a tomboy is not seen as attractive and looks like a boy. The guys’ girl is usually older and has made a conscious decision to hang around the fellas, developing the same interests and likes as the guys. There is a difference between a girl that has the same interests as guys and a girl that just loves to hang around the guys. One tries to fit in while the other has similar hobbies which makes hanging out with guys almost natural. We don’t always draw a line separating this difference.

What about guys that have a lot of female friends instead of male buddies? I think that this connection happens often as well. I was once told that it was easier to have a friend who is from the opposite sex because it is already established that the two should not be compared to each other, due to the obvious difference in gender. It is more likely that comparisons will be made if the two have a common gender and this commonality may lead to problems within the relationship.

In making these labels, we are also implying that men and women act differently from each other and that all people from the same gender usually have the same interests. The guys’ girl is exceptional among females and the same is true about men that hang around females.


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