I’ll be the first to admit that I am woefully tardy to the party with this whole “Shit Girls Say” thing. I had no idea about the video or the Twitter feed, and meanwhile, everyone and their mom is out in the world analyzing it, wondering what it says about women, about our place in the world, and mostly, about how we’re socialized to behave (the general consensus: deferential, based on the number of times the lead character in the video asks permission to behave a certain way).
But today, Slate writer J. Bryan Lowder breaks it down for us: “Shit Girls Say” is gay, he says:
When the “S$#! Girls Say” stumbled dizzily into the blogosphere earlier this week, I was a little confused by all the women expressing ambivalence, including by my colleagues here at Slate, as to its meaning: Couldn’t everyone tell this was just a gay thing? After all, the Twitter handle was created by a gay couple, Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey, and the video that sparked all the controversy features a (badly made-up) drag queen. To my eyes, “S$#! Girls Say” is clearly just a kind of half-embodied internet drag character constructed from a mix of Valley Girl-speak, mug-clutching sitcom archetypes and, indeed, the unique dialect that emerges in certain gay male/straight female friendships….
My point is that I don’t think “S$#! Girls Say” is meant to be a comment about real women at all. If anything, it’s a drag satire of the kind of stock language that we all half-ironically dabble in from time-to-time, depending on the nature of the situation.
I’ll be honest — watching that video (and reading the accompanying Twitter feed) is the hardest I’ve laughed all day (although again, admittedly, I haven’t seen too many other funny things today). I recognize the things coming out of the man-in-drag’s mouth things I say, things my friends say, and things I hear women say on the street. And I don’t find it offensive, because these girl-isms represent only a small part of who we are as women (and for some women, I’m sure they’re not representative at all, and for others….perhaps they’re overly representative). Sometimes we’re goofy, sometimes we’re serious, and sometimes we’re a whole range of other things. But when taken out of context and gently satirized, “can you pass me that blanket?” is just really fucking funny.