By now, the “Shit Girls Say” meme trend is old news to avid bloggers, Tumblr users and Internet addicts everywhere. I remember coming across the viral “Shit Girls Say” video on my Tumblr dashboard on a morning during Winter break and responding with instantaneous laughter. I chuckled at a few of the jokes and loved the charismatic comedian in the video. I even forwarded the video to several friends. However, upon watching the video a second time, I realized that although the creators Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard may have created a popular Youtube sensation, they infantilized modern women in the process of gaining Internet fame. They portray women as helpless, annoying and parasitic creatures who are perpetually dependent on men. Although the actor in drag delivers a funny and endearing performance, the beloved Youtube video sends a rather demeaning, regressive message that is detrimental to the feminist cause. This video does not paint women as beings who are equivalent to men. Instead, the video depicts women as stupid and silly subordinates who have now become the butt of a grand joke.
First of all, the video completely generalizes women and femininity. After all, the title implies that “all girls” say the phrases uttered by the video’s protagonist. The modern American woman is thus reduced to a mere exaggerated caricature devoid of a unique personality or intellectual thought. The video suggests that all girls are like dolls that come from the same factory and if you pull their strings, they will chirp and chime the same words in a cutesy voice. Moreover, the title does not say “women,” but uses the infantilizing word “girls.”
“Do you know anything about computers?” “Hey, are you near a computer? “ “Could you do me a huge favor?” “Can you read this and see if it makes sense?” “Could you look something up for me?” These questions apparently comprise the prattle of women everywhere. According to the video, women are not only technophobes who are hopelessly computer illiterate, but cannot perform the simplest of tasks by themselves. They are neither independent nor self-sufficient. I find this portrayal to be incredibly insulting and contrary to many YouTube comments, inaccurate. The video returns to an era where women are treated like incapacitated children who cannot fend for themselves and need a strong, intelligent man to constantly care for them and “do favors.” Most of the “shit girls say” is nonsensical. For example, while walking out of her home, the protagonist, who seems to be insistent on depicting women as absentminded airheads, asks herself whether or not she locked the door. She cheerfully chippers “yes!” and carelessly walks on.
I am not saying that I or my girlfriends never say the things in the “Shit Girls Say” video; in fact, I am guilty of several of those phrases. As many YouTube comments noted, women are in fact highly capable of saying unintelligent phrases. However, I believe everyone (men, too!) are allowed to slip into ditz mode. We are all human. The problem with the video is that it excludes intellectual thought from everyday female speech. Most of the time, I do not wonder whether or not “I look like a doily” in a summer dress or endlessly repeat “I know, right?” while indulging in gossip. I actually love discussing politics, literature, and art. Women are more complicated and multi-faceted than this YouTube compendium of mindless babble.
The “Shit Girls Say” sensation also spawned more generalizing video such as “Shit Black Girls Say” and “Shit Asian Girls Say.” In every video, seemingly harmless satire turns in to a perpetuation of both racial and gender stereotypes. The only response that I do like is “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls.” In this video, YouTube user Franchesca Ramsey addresses the extremely awkward and inarguably ignorant comments that white women say while attempting to befriend African-American women. This video is different because it calls for an eradication of stereotyping. Indeed, the video should be titled “Shit White Girls Should Never Say to Black Girls.”