The first porn star I met after I moved to LA was shocked to find out I wasn’t in porn also. Her attitude was sort of “then why are you even here?” When I told her I was a comedian, she was amazed. It was like telling a regular person you’re a porn star. She asked to hug me immediately.
The first stripper I met was also thrilled to find out I am a comedian. “How do you get up on stage and do that??” She asked, wide eyed, pulling dollars out of her bra. She had just been kicked out of her apartment because her roommate had decided her boyfriend thought the stripper was hot.
The first Playboy playmate I met thought being a comic must be “so tough, as a woman.” Later she casually told me about the girls in her high school who had scratched a slur into the hood of her car. It was her family’s only car.
When I was in college, my freshman year acting teacher made me stand in front of the class while he gave me “feedback” on my scene. The feedback was “Eliza, you have to understand, you are very very sexual. You’re just a sexy person. You need to embrace it.” I was younger than everyone - I had just turned 16, and was definitely a virgin. That teacher also offered to work with me outside class and even called me in my dorm room a few times, for no real reason. The guys in my class thought it was gross and asked me if I was ok, but the girls in my class didn’t really talk to me anymore. So I became friends with the boys. This wasn’t the first time things went down like that socially, and it wasn’t the last.
Feminist writing often includes some variation on the idea that the “worst kind of women are the ones who are mostly friends with men.” I always hate it. The two types of women that are apparently still ok for other women to hate are “sluts” and the “guy’s gal”. Because both seem to benefit from male power. But maybe it isn’t that these women choose men over women. Maybe they are often cast out by women and have to choose between loneliness and male companionship, in one form or another. And yes, that male companionship is often loaded - someone might pretend to be a friend just to get into your pants, but honestly does that sound any less lonely?
That “girl who is only friends with the guys?” Maybe she got boobs before everyone else, so was labeled a whore in 5th grade. Maybe her mother was abusive and she learned that women want to hurt her. Maybe she got raped and the dude covered it by telling everyone she is a disgusting slut, so girls stopped associating with her. Maybe she is loud and has a problem controlling her impulses or detecting nuances, and her ADD makes it tough for her to navigate feminine spaces. Maybe she has gotten over these things, but is so scared they will come back or happen again she is anxious around women. Maybe she grew up in a family of brothers in a neighborhood of boys. Or maybe any one of many other reasons that don’t mean she is a bad person or unlike you. So maybe we can be a little gentle with each other.
When I was in middle school, my mother stopped the car after I called another girl in my class a “slut”. She turned to me and asked what she had done, and I said “I guess nothing, but the boys all like her.” My mother just said “how is that being a slut? Or her fault?” “It’s not?” “Right. Don’t say things like that about another girl.” Pretty simple.
Buffy arrived at the hospital very early. Her mother had to be in pre-op at 6. She carried a bag for her mom and one for Dawn. She was holding herself together, but she’d called Giles for support. Buffy would be there for Dawn and he could be there for both of them. He said he would come as soon as he could.
Buffy went to Dawn’s room and woke her mother. They talked quietly because Dawn was still sleeping. Her mother hadn’t been able to tell Dawn herself because Dawn was asleep. Buffy said she’d handle it and waited for Dawn to wake up.