Posted on | December 11, 2013 | 61 Comments
Julie Eckert has written an article for Verily magazine called “The Care and Keeping of Online Personas” which is interesting in what it unwittingly conveys about the female worldview, namely their innate concern about courtesy, relationships and “popularity.”
This girlish concern for social status is something I’ve noticed since I was in elementary school. Among boys, social status is basically a matter of physical dominance: The big guys shove everybody else around, and if you’re not the biggest kid on the playground, your safety is dependent in large measure on having buddies, belonging to a gang of friends, being part of what is basically a self-defense league.
Male relationships therefore tend to be utilitarian alliances. You have your old buddies and best friends, but these friendships are absent a lot of the emotional fuss and bother that typify female friendships, because that kind of drama-queen act — the backstabbing and gossip and the “Mean Girls”-style cliqueish exclusion — would quickly be settled by physical violence among guys. Courtesy among men is basically a matter of (a) being careful not to piss off a stranger who might decide to kick your ass, and (b) being loyal to your friends, so you can count on having back-up if a fight does break out.
Female relationship are more complex and nuanced and inscrutable, and there’s always that whole “Pretty and Popular Club” thing: Keeping score of who’s friends with who, and who’s not friends with who, and did you see the hideous dress that slut Tiffany wore?
Please, ladies: Don’t give us guys any lectures about “equality,” as if we haven’t seen how you constantly scheme to enhance your own social status relative to other women, and as if we haven’t heard the workplace complaints of women about their female managers, who are in many case brutal tyrants to their female subordinates.
Anyway, Julie Eckert offers many excellent tips about maintaining decorum in the world of social media, but in a way that makes me ask: “Are women thinking way too hard about this stuff?” That is to say, have the real-life status games women play transferred themselves to the online world, where the related phenomena of judgmentalism (toward others) and self-consciousness (about how one is perceived by others) are now applied to social media?
“OMG! Did you see Tiffany’s new avatar? Isn’t it horrible? And did you see how she was tweeting to Josh? What a low-rent tramp!”
Realizing I’m at risk of sounding like Professor Henry Higgins — “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” — I also realize there’s no point trying to change human nature. Women are women.