One thing we learned Monday night at Glamour‘s “These Girls” event? Gloria Steinem‘s favorite word is “fan-f*cking-tastic”. Another thing we learned? Well, a lot actually, since that was just the first tidbit of wisdom from an evening of hilarious, personal, and poignant monologues by Alexa Chung, Emma Roberts, Zosia Mamet, Dianna Agron, Lucy Punch, and Amy Schumer on being a young woman in today’s crazy world.
Punch was first up, bemoaning her relationship (or lack thereof) to Twitter, Instagram, and, until many years after the rest of civilization, email. The technophobe in her, she said, stems from her mother’s early assertion that feminists shouldn’t learn to type, lest they grow up to be someone’s secretary, hence why today Punch is a self-confessed “one-finger typist” who only uses Instagram “to follow an Asian baby I’m in love with.” There is also another, all-too-relatable reason, she acknowledged: “I don’t want people to judge who I am because I haven’t decided who I am.”
Chung, no stranger to online, social media-driven criticism herself, also delved into the digital world for her turn on stage, offering the audience at Joe’s Pub this advice: “Instagram will not mend your broken heart.” In fact, as the fall-out from a recent breakup has taught her, it might just make it more painful. And don’t even try uploading strategically filtered pics of your grinning face in the hopes that they’ll pop up in his feed, because, in the words of Chung, “Every time you post a photo of you looking fake happy, a fairy dies.”
Instead, she suggests following her mother’s advice: “The best way to get over a man is get under another — I don’t think she intended for me to go on a massive bone rampage, but thanks, Mom, that was fun.”
Mamet, too, talked heartbreaks past, but gushed that this year she has fallen in love, “and it has been glorious, and arresting, and the scariest fucking thing that I’ve ever experienced.” The Girls actress mused on how we reconcile “Insta-age” with wanting something that can only be gained with the accumulation of time, sharing that she and her boyfriend send each other surreptitiously-shot iPhone snaps of cute old couples.
Dianna Agron and Emma Roberts both looked back on growing pains, which, for the Glee star, meant an “eleven year awkward phase” stretching from ages ten to 21, and for the latter a stint at Sarah Lawrence, trying to live life off-screen after coming to the realization that, at age 20, “My prom, my friends, even my pets — all were extras.” While Roberts’ college roommate experience was remarkably similar to our own (“Showering at 8:00 PM. To go to bed. On a Saturday.”), she was subjected to the kind of public bullying that non-celebrities mercifully don’t have to face. One especially harsh blog post by a fellow student particularly struck a nerve. “I was being bullied,” she realized. “And the irony was I had just done a PSA on bullying!”
Agron’s experience with name-calling (and she’s had plenty) came pre-fame, starting with a fifth grade boyfriend who wanted to take her to the movies, an activity that would never have been ok with the ‘rents. Trying to sound cool, she told her classmates that she couldn’t go because, “My mom will piss me out,” a phrase they then repeated, chant-style, whenever she was around. After a move to San Francisco, her voice had dropped an octave or so, and an unfortunately named guy called Scott Fagley took to following her around singing Walk Like A Man, Talk Like A Man.
And, because things like these tend to come in threes, there was one final humiliation: at her first high school party, she got clocked in the face by a gangly older girl, becoming, from that point forward, “bloody nose girl.” Agron, ever the Glee girl, had the perfect remedy to these not-so-pleasant memories, however: breaking into song. She finished off her monologue by leading the whole room in a rendition of “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”.
Finally, the hysterical Amy Schumer closed out the night with a piece that had the room laughing, then crying, then laughing again, recounting a seriously botched booty call that involved stress-ball-squishy male genitalia and a guy who performed cunnilingus “like an elderly person eating their last oatmeal.” The experience, she said, made her feel like less than nothing, but ultimately helped teach her a powerful message, which she passed on to the crowd: “I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong…I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am myself.”
Oh, and then Amy Poehler belted out Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire”. And if that doesn’t say “girl power”, well, we don’t know what does.
this is some kind of spaceship or something.