As a woman who smokes pot and lives with another woman who smokes pot and is friends with other women who smoke pot... wut.
Marijuana—maybe you've heard of it?? It's okay. We're "cool." You can act naturally around us. Look, we all know that the "schmoke" (slang for "marijuana") is everywhere now. Literally millions of American men smoke the dangerous drug. But... the fairer sex? Hold your horses.
We're going to speak frankly here, because we assume that our audience consists of adults, and we see no reason not to level with you: it is quite likely that you are, right now, within 100 yards of a fun-loving gentleman lighting the "token pipe" to achieve his "high" fix. (When your teen says "hi" to you, do they really mean "hello?" That's something that every parent needs to think about.) Marijuana has outgrown Afghanistan—it's now found everywhere from America's high schools to America's large urban cities. I'm afraid that you are simply naive if you think that every green "weed" you see in the sidewalk is completely innocuous.
Men, young and old, rich and poor, are inhaling marijuana smoke, whether through straws, air vents, rap CD cases, or other drug apparati. And that is okay.
But friends, allow your mind now to stray to this wildly hypothetical scenario: a world in which women are also allowed to use "horse" (marijuana) to their heart's content—with society's blessing. We all know that women's appetites are often completely out of control. It is only the threat of social censure preventing your child's female schoolteacher, your female bank loan manager, or your local sport's teams' female cheerleaders from retiring behind locked doors to "doobie up" a marijuana tincture and head directly to The Land of Irresponsible Thinking. Thank goodness, I say, for the proud American stigma that accompanies the repulsive idea of a woman wrapping her lips around a "bongo drum" and getting weed-high like the average man. We are talking about the very structure of society here. We cannot have this going on.
Emily Dufton, who may be a drug user, has written a piece in The Atlantic (the magazine that will never stop trying to determine if Women Can Have It All) contemplating a world in which women, as well as men, smoke the marijuana plant openly. She makes quite a few relevant points about shifting sociological trends and the importance of female voters on changing drug laws in America. We're going to ignore all of that and focus, like a sober laser, on this portion of her essay:
The image of the pothead has long been a male one. The stoner is a trope, a media fixture recognizable in Half Baked, Friday, The Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End, among other works. As Wendy Chapkis, a sociologist at the University of Southern Maine, put it, the stoner’s slacker attitude “relies on a mismatch between expectation and condition; this is why it is most available to white heterosexual men with some measure of class privilege.”
In other words, a stoner is usually a dude who can spend all day sitting in his underwear, smoking weed and eating Cheetos and Goldfish. A woman—especially a hardworking, college-educated adult woman—would more likely be portrayed as pathetic instead of funny.
It is the natural privilege of white heterosexual males to be perceived as winning and debonair as they sit on a couch in their underwear, eating Cheetos and "chasing the dragon," (smoking marijuana). But can you imagine a college-educated woman smoking marijuana? I can't. I cannot even visualize what the possibility would look like. So I can only speculate on how it would appear. My best guess? Pathetic.
Women, take it from a man who has been there (under arrest, for marijuana possession): you do not want your rose petal-scented hair tainted with the musty scent of burnt "Solomon's offering" (marijuana). Women are now allowed in the military. Is that not danger enough? If you want a woman's opinion on the dangers of gateway drug use, why not ask, just to select a woman's name at random, Nancy Reagan? I think you'll find that the societal stigma against the bizarre idea of a female becoming a user of marijuana exists for good reason. It's so women don't appear pathetic. There's nothing more pathetic than a woman using "crank" (marijuana). End of discussion.
[Artist's rendering of what a female marijuana user might look like: Flickr]