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The post was simple. It shouldn’t have bothered me. The graphic was about women and our code language. The 5 Deadly Terms Used By A Woman were “fine, nothing, go ahead, whatever, and that’s okay.” It’s the type of image that you’re supposed to laugh about. You joke on the times you’ve heard or said those words, knowing there was another meaning and then you keep it moving. I would have been fine with the post, but the commentary had me aggy. Women making statements about how females never say what they mean and how they just like to argue bothered me. I tried to figure out why I was so irritated and then I realized it: I was annoyed because I used to play the separation game.

I was taught that women were messy. I learned that women were competitive and would tear another woman down as soon as she had the chance. I learned that women, except for a few good ones, were not to be trusted. These “facts” led me to befriend women who shared the same beliefs. These facts also caused me to do everything in my power to separate myself from the negative attributes I associated with women. The quest for my like-minded homies and I was to prove that we were different. We talked about other women as if we weren’t women. “Well, you know how females are,” rolled off our tongues frequently.

It took years for me to even question my thoughts and actions. But, after developing a few key relationships with women who’d grown up with amazing sister circles and empowering lesions on womanhood, I had to reconsider. These days I try my best to avoid talking about female traits and how they act. I’m also hyper-aware when such language is used around me. I’ve been forced to think about how we are socialized to view one another and ourselves and why. I’m also wondering how we can make some changes.

What are some of the negative generalizations you’ve learned or stated about women? Do you ever feel the need to make the distinction between yourself and “most women?”

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