We read these books all the time where women are in the kitchen

Being outspoken, honest, independent-minded is one thing; being a bitch, a nag, a fanatic is another. The Atlantic on a study of teenage girls:

A number of girls from different middle and high schools reported similar experiences. One girl, Rory, 13, told them, “I was trying out for basketball and I got up to sign the sheet and everyone was like, ‘Oh get back in the kitchen!’” Rory’s initial response was anger—but then it turned to acceptance. “Guys are like that, and you get over it. It doesn’t bother me, it’s stereotypical. We read these books all the time where women are in the kitchen,” she said. (Pomerantz and Raby used pseudonyms to protect the girls’ identities.)

Pomerantz and Raby have both written various books on girl culture and knew that girls’ lives didn’t just amount to the beautiful, perfectly crafted sound bites portrayed in the media. While the authors heard plenty of alpha-girl stories—a girl who was the only female player on a boys’ hockey team, a girl who worried about balancing her popularity and her academics, a girl who stayed up until 1 a.m. checking her schoolwork—the articles made it sound as if society had transitioned into a post-feminism climate. But while they expected to hear about uncomfortable dynamics between boys and girls, they weren’t necessarily anticipating overly sexist commands reminiscent of the 1950s. Both Pomerantz and Raby gasped when they heard the “Go make me a sandwich” comment.

A few girls surveyed pushed back against the sexist statements and were able to clearly delineate what is and isn’t a joke. But more of the girls were reluctant to call out boys for their sexist behavior. They didn’t want to appear bitchy or outspoken or unsexy. It would make them look like a feminist, and feminism was a potentially damaging label. It had too many implications: that you were a prude, that you couldn’t take a joke, that you were a “man-hater” or a “bitch.” It was much cooler to say nothing. To laugh it off.

That. It’s fine to be a rebel, an activist, a fist-waver…but you can’t make other people see you that way. They can decide to see you as a prude and a bitch instead. It’s never easy.

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