Amending the girl code
You see it in TV and movies, everything from teeny bopper after-school specials to classics – yes, I mean classics – like Sex and the City.
There is a girl code women live by. In Hollywood terms, these might include “don’t date your girlfriend’s ex” or “don’t wear the same shoes/jacket/cute dress from Modcloth on the same day as your BFF.”
In real life, there are some more serious what I’d call amendments to the girl code, which fall under what one could aptly call the #metoo clause. Or – better yet – the #nothertoo clause. People joke about the cliché of women never going to the restroom alone, and in times like these, I think it’s pretty obvious why it’s not a laughing matter.
Men have been proving since not long after Adam that they can’t always be trusted, so why would any sensible female, especially depending on the venue, let her friend go anywhere alone in mixed company?
Men have also proven that the little binary bitch in a dress on a bathroom door doesn’t always discourage them from entering a room, especially if they’re the kind of guy not dissuaded from entering a woman’s body by the use of the word ‘no.’
So, starting with that in mind, here is amendment number one to the girl code:
Always warn your fellow females of men with bad intentions when possible.
I recently started dating via Tinder and, though I’m not delusional and I know not everyone on there is there to find anything meaningful, I’ve been appalled by how many ghost entries I’ve read.
Appalled – and kind of proud.
More than a handful of times I’ve read a bio for a guy written by a woman warning other women of said asshole’s indiscretions. Some even call them out for attempted rape, abuse or other heinous acts.
On an app that seems so geared toward enabling men to find their next FWB, women are taking some control and using it as a resource to help other women.
By the same token, I give you amendment number two:
Always let women know of positive resources. In other words, share the knowledge.
Recently, I was driving home to Gresham from my friend’s house in coastal Washington and really had to pee.
I still had an hour-and-a-half drive to home, and though my bladder is practically ironclad, I wasn’t going to make it without stopping. The next decent coffee shop or fast food joint with a public restroom was 40-plus miles down the road. Then I saw a sign for a rest area.
Hesitantly, I pulled over. My mother had been chatting with me via the car phone and insisted I promise to call her and let her know I was safely back on the road before I could hang up.
The very idea that I was so ambivalent about using a public amenity – and not just because most rest area toilets are filthy – royally pissed me off.
I shouldn’t be afraid to use a public rest area.
Men, at least most, probably don’t even have a second thought about it. But I was female and traveling alone.
Much to my surprise, this was an exception among pit stops.
The amenities were clean and there were even volunteers stationed in a little kiosk outside the well-lit courtyard area selling coffee and refreshments. I don’t know if the volunteers had a dual purpose as keepers of the peace, but their presence certainly put my mind more at ease.
As I got back in my car and headed back onto I-5 I thought: “I should really review this place on Yelp or Google so women know it’s a safe place to stop.”
And then I was enraged all over again.
We shouldn’t have to review things – rest areas, MEN, public spaces, anything other than maybe amusement park rides and cars – in terms of safety!
Like, “Hey ladies! Great experience at the Toutle River Safety Rest Area - South Bound the other day. I wasn’t raped or sexually assaulted! Go check it out if you’re traveling in the area and need to pee!”
So, I guess all of this is to say these two main things:
Women: I applaud you. Any of you who work even in small ways to better the lives of fellow females, whether it’s by preventing further harm at the hands of a known douche bag or ensure general safety – it’s appreciated.
Men: I hope you realize that I of course know there are exceptions in your gender partnering with strong women like myself to keep women safe and loved as they should be. However, realize this too: As long as there are “important” men being elected and hired to powerful positions regardless of how they’ve wronged others, and especially the fairer (in every sense of the word) sex, I won’t ever feel completely safe.
There are enough bad apples that they haven’t yet spoiled the bunch, but they have spoiled many a woman’s perception of men and their own personal safety.
I know I will be raising my daughter (should my far-in-the-future child be a girl) to be strong in case of tragedy, but we should be raising our sons to be respectful and mindful first and foremost.
I’ve already had to say #metoo. And yet I still have hope that not all men are total garbage.
Should a daughter of mine ever have to say the same – I will not be as forgiving.
This is a classic tune of female empowerment (fempowerment if you will) from Helen Reddy circa 1971. For fun and because it's so applicable, I included the video of the girls from Sex in the City singing it, as well as Helen herself.