Friday, November 16, 2007

Why, Yes, I AM High Maintenance

I tend to go on random self-improvement kicks. My latest project is to stop using the expression "high maintenance." There are a few reasons for this.

The first, and most obvious, is that I'm sick to death of hearing it. It's overplayed, overused, and annoying.

The second reason is a little more complex. "High maintenance" is an anti-woman broadside. In its earliest (and most accurate) incarnations, it was used to describe women who spent hours on their hair or expected men to dote on their every little problem. It came from a place of neediness and insecurity.

Nowadays, I think it's used to dismiss women who assert themselves. I've heard women described as high maintenance for expecting men to call when they say they'll call. That's basic courtesy and a reasonable expectation, not some petty demand from a pretty princess.

And I think this is a very sad thing. I've known too many women who confuse having needs with being needy, so they never speak up for themselves. They're more worried about the perception of being high maintenance than their own emotional well-being. And I've known far too many men who use the phrase "high maintenance" to weasel out of the most basic of courtesies.

I've been accused of being high maintenance myself. But I don't really mind. I deserve to be maintained.


Michael J. West said...

I never knew it was a gender-specific term. I've known plenty of guys, myself included, who could be and were accurately referred to as high-maintenance.

Shannon said...

I've heard men described as high maintenance, but it is far, far more likely to be used against a woman. In its purest form, it's fine. But I think it's become too easy to dismiss someone as "high maintenance" when all they've asked for is common courtesy.

So I vote "girl you know it's true" takes the place of "high maintenance" in the pop culture lexicon.

dcnative said...

"I deserve to be maintained."

whoo, is it hot in here, or what? :)

Shannon said...

Baking, man, baking. And the heat's all coming from me.