This is January 2013, and 200 years ago, Pride and Prejudice was first published. That is my favorite book and Jane Austen is one of my two favorite authors.
My other favorite author is William Shakespeare. I have a possibly irrational, all-encompassing love for Romeo and Juliet because it was my first introduction to the Bard. My other favorite plays of his are Macbeth and Othello for tragedies and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado About Nothing for comedies. King John is also a very underrated history play.
I am a fan of musicals. My favorite musicals include classics like South Pacific, Oklahoma!, Anything Goes, and West Side Story, as well as more recent satirical/comic musicals such as Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, and The Producers. My favorite character in musical theatre is Inspector Javert from Les Miserables.
I am also a fan of science fiction and fantasy. In my lifetime, my three favorite sci-fi or fantasy works have been Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, with A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones and The Vampire Diaries slowly gaining ground. I also enjoyed LOST, Star Wars, and Joss Whedon’s non-Buffy works. I preferred Dollhouse to Angel and Firefly, despite the show’s flaws.
Aside from classic literature, musical theatre, and sci-fi/fantasy, what else do I enjoy in film, television, and books? Well, I like romantic comedies when they’re good, satirical comedies like The Producers, dramas, English period pieces with lots of tea parties and social commentary, the Muppets, and violent Quentin Tarantino films. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. I love many, many different books, too many to list here.
I love Disney movies with the so-called “princess” characters like Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid. I also love Cinderella, even though I like the Stepmother and the mice more than the female lead. I love all of the Pixar films except Cars, only one of which had a female protagonist (though Dory and Helen Parr are close to being co-protagonists). I like most of the villains and hate most of the “cute” animal sidekicks.
I had Barbies when I was a kid. I played with them even into my tween years, though the subject matter of the pretend games got considerably more adult-themed as I went through puberty (I was weird).
I also loved everything about the American Girl dolls and series. I had an Addy doll and all of her books, and also read all of Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly’s books. When Mattell bought American Girl and retired Felicity, Kirsten, and Samantha, it went back in time and stabbed part of my childhood through the heart.
I loved The Baby-sitters Club when I was a kid, as well as Sweet Valley Twins and The Unicorn Club. I also liked A Wrinkle in Time and Calvin and Hobbes. I loved Beverly Cleary books and Ramona Quimby is probably my favorite fictional character of all time.
I loved almost all YA books, especially weepy ones about dying teenagers from Lurlene McDaniel, and ones with cool teen protagonists, like Turtle Wexler in The Westing Game. I was obsessed with Caroline B. Cooney’s Janie Johnson series and read The Face on the Milk Carton and its sequels a million times over.
I’m not interested in sports, for the most part, but my interest level also varies depending on the actual game. Football holds no interest for me. I admire the athleticism involved in basketball. I’ll watch the World Cup. I enjoy baseball, especially seeing minor league games in person, but I don’t have a team I root for. The Olympics, however, are a completely different animal. I enjoy the summer games and have known to be very invested in the outcome of the figure skating in the winter games. I have entire scrapbooks documenting the women’s figure skating competitions in the Nagano and Salt Lake City games.
I enjoy cooking and occasionally baking. I’ve never much been interested in sewing, but I know how to knit.
I don’t know how to play sports, for the most part. I’m not very coordinated. I do like to exercise, though, and dance dorky white-girl style. I love karaoke and singing and can play the violin.
I like fashion, not to the point where fashion is an obsession for me, but I love Go Fug Yourself. If I had the money, I would copy Zooey Deschanel’s entire wardrobe, but would likely not wear her clothes most of the time, because even though they’re adorable and pretty, jeans are so much easier. I like earrings but not necklaces, boots but not heels. I like wearing makeup, but not a lot of it. Pink is a great color and I enjoy wearing it, though blues and purples are what I look best in.
I enjoy almost every genre of music. Classical, rock, and singer-songwriter are my favorite types. Some favorite artists include Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Bach, Nina Simone, Beethoven, Vampire Weekend, Stars, Led Zeppelin, Eminem, and Darren Criss.
I love comedy. The Monty Python troupe, Mel Brooks, and George Carlin helped establish my sense of humor early in life. Love of Monty Python led to love of other sketch comedy shows like Mr. Show, SCTV, Saturday Night Live, The Kids in the Hall, and Key and Peele. Love for Mel Brooks made me love silly comedies, and George Carlin made me love language-based humor.
Above almost all else, I love The Simpsons. I probably quote The Simpsons more frequently than anything else.
So, why am I telling you all of this? Why am I sharing a laundry list of my interests?
Because I like some things that are traditionally considered “girl stuff,” and some things that are traditionally “boy stuff.”
Figure skating? That’s girl stuff. Makeup? Definite girl stuff. Tarantino movies? Closer to boy stuff. Sketch comedy? Considering that most of the famous sketch groups out there are male-dominated, I’ll go with closer to “boy stuff.”
You’ll rarely find a woman who only likes traditionally feminine activities, and you’ll rarely find a man who only likes traditionally masculine activities – but our society likes to put people in boxes, and tell us we can’t like pink and baking if we’re boys, and we can’t like sports and video games if we’re girls.
Human beings are complex and we all have varied interests. I think we should all celebrate our complexities and each other’s interests.
I am now inviting readers to participate in the comments section. What are some things that you love? What activities and interests do you have that are considered “boy stuff,” and what activities and interests do you have that are considered “girl stuff?”
In other words, what are a few of your favorite things?