Good Girls Are Bad Girls

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Sam straddles between being a good girl and a bad girl.

2010.  Summer vacation.  Dark outside.  I’m pulling myself over the gate at the condo’s pool, giggling as my friend wiggles under it.  We splash loudly slip into the dark, ominous water, despite the signs that say that it’s against the rules.  A manager turns on a light and yells at us, ushering us to leave. We scamper out and run to my family’s rented condo.

2014.  Sophomore year of college.  Friday afternoon.  “Hoop,” I say, slightly nervous that this will look really stupid very sure of myself and my decision, to the woman at the counter.  I’m ushered into a bright room, and a needle is pushed through my ear.  My roommate is next.  The pain is numbed only by our excitement about getting our cartilages pierced.

I pierced my ear.

I pierced my ear.

All of my life, I’ve been told that I’m the good girl.  I’m the girl who watches “Once Upon A Time” on Friday nights, who paints motivational quotes to hang on her walls and who bakes cookies for her housemates on a weekly basis.

“She’s a good girl, a straight-A student,” croon the boys of 5 Seconds of Summer.  “She’s really into all that self-improvement.”

Girls aren’t all good, though, 5SOS sings.  They’re interesting, complex beings who study at the library and apply to Harvard (or UF), but then they sneak out of their rooms to meet their boyfriends, according to the band’s popular song “Good Girls.”

“She said to me, ‘Forget what you thought, ’cause good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught,'” the band sings.

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#AlexFromTarget

output_BvuSq5 Girls stalk hardcore.  In about 20 minutes, I can tell you where almost any given person grew up, where they went to school, who their friends are, what kinds of music they listen to, their relationship status (very important), what their favorite movies are, where they work and what they think about.  I can tell you everything.

I Internet-stalked someone investigated a person for the purpose of this blog.  There is a teen taking over the Internet, and I wanted to figure out why.  Of course, this included finding out all information about #AlexFromTarget as possible.

To be perfectly clear, many credible sources, like CNN, New York Magazine’s The Cut and Teen Vogue are also Internet-stalking this student’s rise to fame.

“#AlexFromTarget is a new teen-Internet sensation,” said Aisling Cooney (pronounced Ash-leen Coon-ee), a psychology and theater sophomore at the University of Florida.  “He works at Target. And some girl, in the spirit of stalking and being creepy, took a photo of him while he was working at Target, posted said photo on social media, saying that he was really hot, and he blew up [the Internet]. He’s really just an enigma.”

Alex, with his Justin Bieber-like hair and stellar orthodontist (those teeth!), became famous for doing almost nothing.  He told Ellen DeGeneres that his talent is bagging groceries, and this skill (or his beauty?) transformed Alex from cashier to the next teen heartthrob.

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The Basic Girl

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Pearleen Lederman, an international business master’s student at UF, just turned 23.  If she were turning 22, I would sing a popular song by Taylor Swift to her — mostly because I like T. Swift, and I feel like we’re on a nickname basis now because I don’t actually know her at all.  Apparently, liking T. makes me basic, according to Pearl and a radio station that stalks T. on tumblr (which is also basic, FYI).  Taylor is about as basic as PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes, not to be confused with the ever-so-basic Pretty Little Liars, for the confused Muggles).  And she may also be as basic as oversized t-shirts (because obvi comfort is basic).  And she might even be as basic as “Mean Girls“/the best movie ever, which is just so fetch basic.

It seems that every website has been scrambling to understand what basic is.  New York Magazine’s The Cut examined using “basic” as an insult, and Jezebel analyzed the types of “basic” by region.

Because basicity now deals with more than the pH scale, I consulted the experts — people who have played the basic role.

Expert 1:

Pearl recently went to a pumpkin patch.  She describes basic girls as “fall-obsessed.”  They wear leggings and Uggs.  They have too much free time and focus on their appearance way too much, Pearl said.

Expert 2:

Girls aren’t the only ones with opinions about basicity.  John Leatherman, a guy of Gainesville and UF student, dressed up as a basic girl for Halloween.  With a monogrammed t-shirt, a pair of borrowed leggings and some practice taking the perfect duck lips selfie, John exemplified the stereotype.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge. All opinions are directly from John and Pearl’s own writing.

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Halloween Costume Metamorphosis: From Sweet to Sexy

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In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

–Cady in “Mean Girls”

Never have I ever been something slutty for Halloween.  I’ve been a fat pumpkin (age 1), an innocent angel (age 5), Miss America (age 9, because I was weird) and an American flag (age 17).  Never have I ever bought denim underwear short shorts or tiny triangles attached with thread bra tops to pass off as a “Sexy Cowgirl” or, worse, a “Sexy Girl Scout.”

This year, I wore a giant tutu, glittery wings and pipe cleaners attached to a headband.  I was a butterfly.

Me

Me

Perhaps I’m missing out on the fun of dressing provocatively, but I am perfectly content dancing to Footloose and apologizing for accidentally hitting someone with my butterfly wings rather than my exposed chest.  Still, Girl World begs us to be naked scantily-clad on Halloween.  After all, that’s what boys like.

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The “F” Word— Feminism

Girl Power featuring Lili

Girl Power, featuring Lili

Rejection is terrifying, which is why I procrastinated interviewing a stranger for this blog.  Instead of approaching new people, I walked towards the Reitz and sat on a bench, looking for possible girls that I could interview.  Out of the seven girls in close proximity to me, none were the right fit.

It was necessary to move somewhere different, somewhere with other girls who would just have that I’m-willing-to-interview look to them. I walked around the Hub.  Nothing.  I walked into the Hub.  Nothing, except for a lot of people eating.  No people eating, I told myself.  I didn’t want to be answered with half-chewed Chick-fil-A.

I ventured to Weimer, but they would all be too eager.  This led me to the area, just before the Reitz, where students attack you invite you to join their clubs.  Perfect, I thought.  They know rejection, so they would welcome me as one of their own.  Heck, I might even make some new friends.  So I went a little bit past them, sat on a bench and checked Twitter for the 411 attended to some pressing emails.

Unfortunately, my housemate was in the Reitz, immediately saw me, sat down on my bench and made me feel terrible for procrastinating. It was hard for my bench to see me go, but it was for the greater good of Gals of Gainesville (and alliterations everywhere).  I put my phone in my purse and headed for the two girls asking for donations for breast cancer research.

I wish that they had accepted me with open arms and that we became Facebook friends, but we’re not because they didn’t want to do the interview at all.

Boys have it so hard, I thought.  How can they handle this?  I’d only asked for a 15-minute interview, not a lengthy dinner date and a shared milkshake.

But do boys really have it that hard?  Wasn’t I going to do my interviews on feminism, the dreaded “F” word that few want to be associated with?  Why didn’t I have enough Girl Power to just ask out a few women on a Gals of Gainesville interview date?

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We Woke Up Like This

output_YlpWz7 I’ve been known to grumble incoherently while dragging myself out of bed.  People have the idea that even with six hours of sleep, I will be my chipper and cheerful self.

This is not the case.

Instead, I am resentful (Is it even necessary for me to be awake right now?), lazy (If I pour the oatmeal straight out of the container, I won’t have to wash more dishes.) and slow (You’ve got 15 minutes to decide what to make for breakfast and lunch, Ansley.).  To say that I am flawless when I wake up, with my bad attitude, messy hair, greasy skin and Hello Kitty nightgown, is a stretch.

As I stare at the fridge and will myself to make food, Beyoncé, Kim K and Adriana Lima are taking #IWokeUpLikeThis selfies. The hashtag and the trend that quickly followed started with Queen B.  In the newest installment of The Queen Dominates the Internet, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj partnered to make a “Flawless” video. Beyoncé sings, “You wake up, flawless; Post up, flawless; Ridin’ round in it, flawless.”

Because #IWokeUpLikeThis has become a cultural phenomenon, I decided to consult the experts – real, live women with real, important opinions about the real world.  Catlin Cade, Katia Nickel and Ariana Saavedra, UF students and my housemates, were generous enough to let me wake them up with a camera poked in their faces.  I followed them around; I crouched on their floors to get interesting angles, and I instructed them not to notice me as I invaded their personal spaces.

And I talked to them.

I had them describe their reaction to the queen’s video, how they felt about their #IWokeUpLikeThis selves and what they thought of other make-up free, just-rolled-out-of-bed girls.  *To be read in a Law & Order voice*:  These are their stories.

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Welcome to Gals of Gainesville

output_GXyWHb-2 I have always loved slumber parties.  As an elementary schooler, “Sleepover” made it close to the top of Ansley’s Favorite Movies List.  I love sharing secrets and gossiping about boys and eating waffles late at night.  I love snuggling up in blankets and pillows and gasping for air when whispers turn into fits of uncontrollable giggles.

Because I am now a University of Florida sophomore/actual adult, it is no longer socially acceptable for me to jump on beds and read trashy teen magazines. While I still occasionally do the former, I rose above the latter — thankfully — about five years ago.  I am not giving up slumber parties, though.  The conversations reserved for those late nights and early mornings will be published on this blog.

I’m bringing the voice of UF gals to the Internet.

I want to know what girls think about everything, partially because I am one and mostly because Girl World is so weird.  This blog will look at women’s issues — from the serious, like what feminism really means, to the lighthearted, like why we are all basic — from Gainesville girls’ perspectives.  Let’s talk about what makes us, as individuals and as women, overjoyed, livid and just plain confused.  Let’s take on Girl World from our corner of Gainesville.  Let’s connect with one another.  Let’s start a Girl Talk revolution.

I’m calling all Gals of Gainesville to join the conversation.

Ansley

Photos taken by my dear friend, Lindsay Alexander.