On Sunday night’s “Girls,” the main character, Hannah, was faced with the news no woman wants to hear—that she has acquired an STI. As she wrestles with the source of the problem (like, who gave it to her), and what it means for future partners, she seeks advice and comfort from her friends. One friend in particular, the precocious but virginal Shoshanna, tells Hannah that she shouldn’t worry about it so much, because you know what? All Adventurous Women Do (have an STI).
This particular line got me thinking about a lot of prominent female characters in books, television, and even real life, and the similarities they have in regards to the experiences they must go through in order to be considered “adventurous.” A couple marriages, a DUI, a bad tattoo, telling their boss to shove it, even a sex tape—none of these are terribly shocking as they now represent a frequent coming of age tale for many young women. Things that used to be considered taboo—like Peggy of “Mad Men” moving in with her boyfriend before marriage, are now pretty standard for the modern girl. That isn’t to say that these experiences are universal—not all of us are cut out for or interested in racking up exes or body art, but we recognize them for what they are the minute we see them. “Oh,” we say, as we look at the cover of People Magazine or US Weekly, “She is going through her wild phase.”
The wild phase is a very important time for all young women, as it teaches us valuable lessons about friendship, love, sex, and our own ability to bounce back. I think that is what is particularly lovely about Shoshanna’s little line. “All Adventurous Women Do” flips the stigma of an STI on its head, and makes it almost a badge of honor. While any STI is still unwanted and unpleasant, it does not mean you are a bad person, and at that moment, that is what Hannah needed to hear the most. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we all need to know that it isn’t the end of the world, and that we aren’t the only ones going through it. Many of these experiences are basic rites of passage, and when we discuss them with each other, they bring us closer together as friends.
Adventurous women break down walls, stereotypes, and glass ceilings. They are likely the women in our lives we look up to most, and they inspire us to be bolder and more deliberate with our choices and our destiny. They are real and fictional, young and old, and they come from all different backgrounds. But the one thing they have in common? They do what they want.
There has been an article floating around about “The Things Every Women Must Do Before She is 30.” The list includes things like owning a black lace bra and a nice umbrella, but I think there is room for so much more. A list I would really like to see is “Things All Adventurous Women Must Do (at Any Age)”. Some of mine would include: making out with a stranger on a packed dance floor, moving to another city by yourself for a little while, wearing a provocative dress to a family occasion, making a big mistake and having no regrets about it, and so on.
So, Kate’s of the world, what are some things you think All Adventurous Women Must Do? Leave your thoughts in the comments.