Earlier this month a humor video called “Shit Girls Say” hit the web. I found it mildly amusing, but not necessarily funny or cutting enough to deserve the over 7 million hits it would get in a few weeks. But then it kind of changed my life.
The shtick with “Shit Girls Say,” which began as popular Twitter handle, is calling attention to how relentlessly careful “girls” can be. In the video a woman — played by a man which adds some pop to the humor, but not as much as you’d think — delivers a series of non-sequiturs of typical things girls say.
“Can you read this and make sure it makes sense?”“Do you know anything about computers?”“Can you do me a huge favor?” (Repeated more than once.)“Do I look like a doily?““I know, right?”
These are all pretty innocuous, but strung together we see how, at best, silly and, at worst, obsequious lady-speak can be.
Over the past few weeks “Shit Girls Say” has become a surprise editorial voice in my head, a constant interloper nudging me to stop being so careful and polite whenever writing emails, which makes up about 75% of my professional activity.
Pre-“Shit Girls Say” Elissa would couch every request or suggestion in as sensitive and cheery language as possible. For example: Thanks so much for sending this, Jennifer! It is looking so great. Just one thing — I think we might want to change the beginning a little to better reflect …
Post-“Shit Girls Say” Elissa is more direct. For example: Looking Good. I think we should change the beginning a little to better reflect …
I can’t tell you how good it feels to shed the layers of fastidiously crafted niceties and be able to say, with confidence, what I think. There are still moments when the guilt wins and I throw in a few exclamation points and “amazings” to make sure I don’t come off as rude. But mostly I have stopped speaking like a girl, and started speaking more like a woman.
Elissa Strauss has written for the Forward over a number of years. She is a regular contributor to CNN, whose work has been published in a number of publications including The New York Times, Glamour, ELLE, and Longreads.
How 'Sh— Girls Say' Changed My Life