Move over “adorkable”. Adorable is for pets and small children. Bapable is more like it. Grown women are beautiful and capable.
40 years ago The Doors came out with the song “LA Woman”. David Lee Roth’s crooned about “California Girls”. Lou Reed’s talked about some wimmin in “Walk on The Wild Side”. Wait, that was Miami, F-LA and they were all in New York. Well…
LA Women have the gift for gab. Everyone knows that we don’t walk. We drive to trail head parking lots where we leave our cars and then hike. We’re not all out to constantly sleaze the day. We’re just birds who squawk our own squawks.
I got inspired by interviewing some extraordinary fresh young women in other cities with my writing partner in T&A Do LA - Gaby Dunn in New York City and Claire Murray and Lindsey Jade Cornish in London. Therefore, I’ve decided to talk to women where I live- The Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.
Seeing the outside view and opinions of women in LA made me think. Before I moved here, I thought everyone was blonde and bronze (not that’s there anything at all wrong with these two) and air-headed and shallow- that is still the going opinion- plastic. Certain television shows have perpetuated this image of complete cattiness and vapidness.
I’m lucky I have great females (and males) in my urban support system, though I have stayed away from packs of women out here. Out of my two female friends I’ve had for the last two decades- one lives in Cambridge, England and one in Silverlake in Los Angeles. I’m glad I have great women to whom I credit my attitude and my brain- my mother, Marjorie Thompson in London and Susan Sidel in New York City. In LA I’ve observed a group of four, where each week three of them got together and talked shit about one of them and ostracized her, except then all stayed “friends”. Next week, rotate. I believe this is called mobbing and have written about it (then anonymously) happening in work and academic environments for UCLA’s Fem. This is why I don’t see my own Sex and The City quartet in a town like LA.
There are a lot of odd scenarios out there between LA Women- good and bad. I’ve had to listen to LA Women whose main goals were dating someone in Maroon 5 or on The WB. I’ve been cornered by women who have talked my ear off about themselves and never even asked me where I’m from. I’ve had another woman refuse to acknowledge my living and breathing because people said we looked very similar. I’ve had another woman buy a round of drinks for a table for everyone except me because I was dating her ex. Then again, I became great friends with a woman, where we both had once dated the same guy. Living in the shadow of Hollywood somehow affects people. A lot of the stuff I just described is common place. There are strong stereotypes about the superficiality and insecurity of LA Women, but I am out to disprove that this is not all of us.
I’m seeking to show there are women here who are contrary to the popular belief. I just presented a paper in November 2011 at The University of London’s Center for Cultural Memory about Women/Visual Rhetoric on Ageism, Sexuality and Conformity. I have a chapter coming out January 2012 on Asian American women and the Internet in a book about race, gender and media from The University of Illinois, Chicago. It does seem still that all the women who get praised for being literate and cultural are mostly East Coasters/foreign and exotic. However, I looked around me physically and digitally and saw that my friends and my buddies on Facebook and Twitter are the antithesis of the predominant concept of The LA Woman.
This blog is in hopes they may be able to help me figure out why I’m here - what’s drawn them in and kept them in Los Angeles. I was a Londoner and a New Yorker before I was twenty-two. I’ve moved away from LA, seeking the quieter life, only to come back. I have dreams about moving back to my other two cities- just haven’t had the opportunities to do so.
Like for many, when I moved to LA in my twenties, it was complete culture shock. One of my stories is that I was filling up my gas tank on my standard white compact car for work at the corner of Hollywood and Vermont when I saw a hot pink Corvette pull up across from me at 8:00AM. A bleached blonde in a tight mini-dress peeked out, then opened the door and barfed not far from my feet.
I left New York City after 9/11 because I was a pansy. I had the chance to come to LA thinking I’d stay for six months, wait for the mood to lift and go back to The Big Apple for good. That never really happened, besides considerable stints in NYC.
I’m slowly admitting LA is my home base, among other things to myself, and want to share with you some women that the big magazines and websites may have missed.
I also want to explore notions of women’s relationships with and against one another and see how we can work on this. I think women should be more aware how we treat ourselves and each other.
Find me here too
P.S. Here’s a funny, satirical bit by Stacey Grenrock Woods called How to Pick Up a Local Lady in LA Mag. Yay or nay? Been meaning to write a response piece.