This was written as a response to a previous Word on the Street, which can be found here.
Yes, America is changing its thoughts on marijuana. Washington State and Colorado are just the beginning. Weed isn’t just for losers and guys nicknamed “Taco” anymore, and that’s especially true in America’s colleges. Weed has reached such a point of popularity among America’s best and brightest 20-somethings that almost everyone has at least one lovable, successful stoner friend. Come on, you know the one I’m talking about. Maybe sitting on a couch watching cartoons in a smoky room with a Bob Marley poster? Got that image? Well, I’m also willing to bet that the “pothead” you just thought of was male.
The stoner stereotype remains male-dominated, in part, because there are plenty of successful, pot-smoking role models for boys, from rappers to comedians to even former smoker President Obama. Movie stars like Seth Rogen and James Franco who have helped shape this newly emerging public opinion of marijuana are all inexplicably male. It’s hard to try and think of successful, famous female smokers (whether or not you just took a hit). Rihanna or Miley might come to mind, but they also do hard drugs and are far from role model material. Maybe you thought of Showtime’s “Weeds.” True, it was a highly successful show about marijuana created by a woman, but Nancy, the female lead, only smoked three times on screen throughout eight seasons.
So why? Sure, there are health concerns, maybe some women just haven’t had the opportunity, and yes, it is illegal. But none of that has anything to do with a second X chromosome. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2012 9.6% of men identified as current marijuana users, compared to only 5% of women. That’s almost double. Ladies, we need to close the gap.
And here at Penn going outside or upstairs to smoke is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, not an excuse for some boys to get you and your two hot friends who “seem super chill” alone. Guys are always looking to light the bowl for you, or roll the joint. We can roll our own damn joints, thanks. It may be illegal, but why should boys dominate this illegal field?
Perhaps it’s because women are generally viewed as the more type-A gender, and therefore less compatible with the type-B, laid–back stoner image. Plus, when you smoke, you want to eat (carbs, oh no!), you get stupid, and you lose the motivation to get all dolled up in your LBD, let alone to change out of your sweatpants. Weed’s just not sexy– but as women, we have the power to make it attractive, and more importantly, equal. What’s so weird or wrong about a girl getting high on her own and watching some Netflix in her with Ben & Jerry? Or some friends, all girls, getting high together? Nothing.
Cher Horowitz said in “Clueless,” “It is one thing to spark up a doobie and get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day.” “Clueless” came out in 1995. Has our cultural opinion and view of female stoners really not changed in almost 20 years?