Specific Women’s Stories That We Probably Need To Stop Writing


There’s a piece over at Salon by Anna North calling for the end of “women’s stories.” Not stories about women altogether – that would be insane – but the specific, dumb stories that we’ve all read over and over.

She writes that:

Hookup culture stories are extremely popular. The latest, Kate Taylor’s “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too” sits as of this writing at the top of the New York Times’ most-emailed list. It is about women at Penn, but it is essentially the same story as this one about women at UNC, and though less overtly polemical, it is also essentially the same story as thisand this and this. It’s not hard to see why these stories succeed: They are about very young women having lots of sex with multiple partners. They’re a lot like porn, except that instead of an orgasm you get a vague sense of free-floating anxiety.

This is the emotion of the women’s story. It does not move. It does not satiate. It does not provoke tears or laughter, or even good clean fear. Maybe it titillates, but ultimately, it is intended to worry. The women’s story sidles up to you at a party and asks in the honeyed voice of a false friend whether you or other women like you might be doing sex or love or motherhood (the top tasks of the woman) slightly wrong.

Those stories are frustrating simply because we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances.

Look, specifically, can we stop doing these stories? And I say that fully aware that for $2 a word, I will write about any of these stories in a second.

  • Ways to make your boyfriend propose. You can’t.
  • How women who have had too many sexual partners will never get married. There is no such thing, and they will.
  • How women over a certain age will never get married. This is disproved every single day, often by people you know.
  • Things you can cook that will make anyone propose. It’s a hilarious concept, but they don’t really exist.

So, those are my requests. Let’s do that.

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    • S.

      Can we also stop with the stories about young women hooking up with older married men and how the younger woman is so much more interesting and cool than the man’s dull and boring wife? I’ve read so many like that and they grate on my nerves.

    • Tusconian

      I have a few myself:

      -Black women aren’t getting married and it’s all their fault.

      -”I went without makeup/dressed modestly/wore the same outfit every day for some amount of time! Look how unique I am!

      -MOMMY WARS!

      -Women are doing things slightly different than they were in 1872, it’s the end of the world

      -Any shallow, poorly thought out “sexualization of young girls” article that points to things that have nothing to do with sexualization or mostly refer to young women and older teens instead of young girls. Because if the sexualization of young children stems from anything, it’s probably not a 17 year old wearing yoga pants and cornrows.

      • S.

        YES to all of these! And also:

        -Educated women are not getting married.

        -Some random woman said that girls in uni better add finding a man to their list of things to do before graduation so it’s GOT to be true! If you graduate as a single woman you are doomed. Doomed to die alone and educated.

        -men prefer _______ so better feel bad about yourselves if you aren’t/haven’t that characteristic. (insert shoe type/ face type/ back of the knee symmetry/ degree specialization/ belly button type/ hair colour or texture etc.)

      • lauren

        Shit, that’s scary how you so clearly captured how ridiculous those silly scientific studies are.