The XX Factor

Women Can Be Just as Slovenly as Men

The prevalence of unemployed, directionless omega males in recent modern fictional works (which Jessica pointed out in her recent DoubleX piece ) reflects a real-if exaggerated and overrepresented-phenomenon in today’s men. So what about all the omega females? If the young women come off better than the men, perhaps it’s because we are still in a moment when any sort of female accomplishment is a display of the vastness of women’s choices compared with what they once were.

But in reality, there is no discernible template for how to be an adult, and many people of both genders find themselves fundamentally unsure of what that “growing up” now means. While the mainstream media’s ideal of womanhood is not as suffocating as the one presented to men by classic Hollywood alpha males like Clint Eastwood or Gregory Peck, there are plenty of women who realize that they are never going to represent that ideal-particularly in the realm of caretaking.

There is a persistent stereotype that women are inherently better at or more interested in housekeeping and personal care than men, but just as there are lots of modern metrosexual straight guys ironing their shirts and online shopping, there are also lots of women who are busy doing bong hits instead of laundry.

Omega females can be as slovenly as their masculine counterparts. On 30 Rock , Liz Lemon’s disgusting snack routines strike a familiar note with anyone who has ever lived off of junk food because she was too busy (or lazy) to go food shopping. Charlyne Yi’s character in Knocked Up is as stoned and lackadaisical as her male counterparts. (Jezebel has a good round-up of other stoned potential omega females .) Sarah Silverman’s character on her eponymous TV show is so unable to tend to herself that her older sister basically behaves like a parent.

These women show that retreating into childhood pastimes or elaborate escape fantasies to try and shut out the world when it seems too competitive and brutal to deal with is by no means an exclusively male pursuit.