Women

10 Moments That Make A Single Girl Think “I'm Not a Real Person Yet!” & Frances Ha

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The new film Frances Ha, a seemingly whimsical but honest story of a woman (still) becoming a woman, opens with a scene where Frances’ card is declined ( buying dinner for a guy no less) and she hits that all too familiar moment of realizing, “oh, I’m not a real person yet.”

Oh… I’m not the only young female who still feels that way from time to time? 

I guess you could call this more of a film preview, rather than review (since I’m eager to see any film that brings to light the single, twenty-something, life-doesn’t-quite-feel-in-place-yet female perception). While often us single, not yet stable, career women can feel like we’re all on our own, it’s reassuring to discover you’re not the only girl who feels Forever 21 (especially when it’s literally the only place where you can afford to by a an entire outfit.)

While I will have to wait for my next paycheck to come in to stroll over to my local Indie secret garden of a theater, for France Ha to reassure me that I’m not the only one who doesn’t quite feel like an adult, here a little list of reoccurring moments some of you women (and maybe myself) face from time to time, that make you feel like you’re not quite the woman you thought you’d feel like by now.

The 10 Moments Making You Feel Like You’re Not a Real Person, Yet…

  1. Your card declines at Starbucks (even though you’ve finally mastered how to order your drink to save $1.23.)
  2. You’ve attempted more career options in the past 6 year than most 50 year old woman have in their entire lives.
  3. You look at your closet and it finally occurs to you, a tailor would probably be a good investment.
  4. You admit to yourself bedhead hair just might not be appropriate for an every day look.
  5. You realize earning good credit (or credit, period) is something you should consider.
  6. You find you only have 3 of the 13 Essential Closet items InStyle magazine says every woman should own.
  7. Your kitchen dosn’t consist of much more than a cutting board and one decent  sharp knife.
  8. You’re caught by your boss, cluelessly signing a check incorrectly (because you don’t even own any).
  9. You place your sushi takeout “splurge” order and the host’s first response is, “Are you sure one roll is all you want?”.
  10. Your first stop at the mall is still the clearance racks at Urban Outfitters and Pac Sun.

In Sex in the City Carrie Bradshaw asks herself, single, creditless and without a man, “How do you retain a sense of value when you have nothing concrete to show for it?” I have a feeling France Ha may deal with similar misconceptions of value, if she bases it on anything remotely close to what is expected of a “real person” nowadays. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take all of “womanhood” for us to discover nothing concrete will ever equal the value of the women we already are. While in the meantime, I will inevitably face a few more “I’m not a real person” breakdown moments, it’s reassuring to know there are Frances’ in the world who feel just as unreal a person as I do.

BOOKS: Black, White and Grey All Over

The high-fashion, Rachel Zoe look-a-like was reading it at Starbucks. It was the first thing to hit me in Books-A-Million (for all your northerners that’s our version of Barnes & Noble down south.) And it seems to be on just about everyone’s (every woman’s, I should say) “Summer’s Must Read” list. Though when seemingly illiterate fashion blogs (that I frequent, I’ll add) began featuring it, with discussion already in the air about a movie in the making, I started to wonder what all the hype was all about. You’ve probably heard about it, or maybe you’d recognize it by it’s cool and dark Twilight for the grown up looking cover. In fact I even expected fantasy or some vampire drama to be the substance of the story from the looks of it. Boy, was I ever wrong. It’s called 50 Shades of Grey. 

The books description was enough for me to realize that I didn’t need to invest anymore time on this book to get the idea of it’s synopsis. Though critics and readers reviews have really varied it hasn’t stopped the book from breaking record sales. Interestingly, many of the comments can be summed up by this one featured on Amazon.com:

          “The books are not written well, incredibly repetitive, there is little
          character development, and the sex scenes are, well, vanilla. Naive college
          girl meets tormented man/boy, man/boy has ‘issues’ which the girl is able to
          help him overcome when his therapist couldn’t, a very predictable threat
          (or two) to their happiness, etc., etc., etc…. ho hum.”

Assuming this commenter may be onto something (with about the 2000 who “feel the same way”) what is it about these books that have drawn such a massive readership of women? Because it turns out that a sweet, little romance between an innocent Bella and vampire Edward, who at least has enough chivalry to contain his thirst for blood, is altogether too sweet a story for the more “mature” women. Apparently across America, and elsewhere, women are hungry for things to get kicked up a notch. Though in quite a “shady,” if I may be so tongue-and-cheeky, unsettling direction.

I haven’t read these books. I don’t intend to. And typically when that’s the case I try to keep a subject at arms length. I hate when people write what they don’t know about. But here I am. Because frankly, I don’t think I’d be writing about it if I was reading it.

If you could judge a book by its cover, this one might have looked more like a deranged Danielle Steele cover for the 21st century Starbucks-drinking, Apple-carrying and fashion-savvy generation. And let’s be honest - likely it would be shelved in the far, dark corner of a book store. But it is apparently “hip” to be reading this erotic and quite unromantic tale right now; a tale that tells the story of an objectifying and dispassionate relationship, that women are eating up like discovering a hot-fudge sundae for the first time.
I don’t blame E. L. James, the author, for how this book will and is certainly influencing the future of fiction and, no doubt, the film industry.  After all, masses of love-starved women are reading and buying this stuff. Though there is a wide-range of opinions on the positive and negative effects of this trilogy, I won’t be so bias as to plainly disregard them all. Yet… the subject matter of this novel, that is referred to as “engrossing” and “addicting”, is turning female sexual hunger over to a glamorized depiction of female subjugation. There were once romantic tales like A Room with a View, The Princess Bride and any Austen novel – though they were fantastical love stories that likely fogged some of our rose-tinted lenses towards romance, this trilogy is a far cry from romantic. But it seems to be what women are soaking up. If it’s in high demand, you know it will be well supplied.

If this is what we are calling romance, how will such material affect our grasp of relationships or our understanding of romance?  Worse, how many girls will become the object a man’s demands and somehow interpret that as romancing or endearing due to the convoluted message such literature sends out – regardless of how this story ends? Already we lack the kind of chivalry or gentleman-like qualities among relationships – men who open doors for a women, ask for a number, patiently wait until being wed to share intimacy ( crazy idea - I know.) This once was thought of as romantic. So since many women don’t have this and there seems to be a lack of a pursuit of women for the sake of companionship, romance and intimacy, instead do we accept this as “romantic?”
With all the materials out there to be read, with all the history, insight and knowledge to be discovered, why this women? When we can enrich our minds, why cloud it up? While we’ve seemed to work so hard to not be objectified and made an “accessory” for a man, it’s slightly humorous how females can be so entertained by it. Though popular now, it’s hard to imagine that 50 Shades of Grey will go down in the books as the next Great Gatsby. There are some trends just not worth investing in. I dare say this one doesn’t deserve your time.