Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spaying Your Copykitten

Public Domain Photo from Wikimedia
Do these scenarios sound familiar?

*You often rock a pair of new stiletto boots that give men whiplash.  A month after their first appearance, a friend who's complimented your taste is wearing the same pair.

*You announce to your girls that you've begun training for a marathon.  The next thing you know, the copykitten, normally a couch potato, casually mentions that she's joined a running group.

*You've stated on your Facebook page that you've written a few poems.  After asking multiple questions about your inspirations, the copykitten starts posting poetry on her blog.

*After years of thinking about it, you purchase a condo.  All of a sudden, the copykitten starts talking about looking at properties in your neighborhood.

Arrgh.  Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, but this is ridiculous.

Why do some grown women act this way?

Maybe they're insecure about their own tastes/interests and admire your confidence.

Due to Facebook/YouTube/Twitter memes, the same set of clothing stores in every decent mall, reality shows that have become cultural touchstones for many, the same five songs repeated all day every day on the radio (with nearly indistinguishable beats, if we're talking about David Guetta-influenced pop), and the small cadre of starlets and wannabes being discussed multiple times per week on African-American-focused blogs, many sisters in Generation Y probably don't get the concept of having one's own personal style.

It's sad, really.  Curating your own likes and loves sans the influence of others is part of being an adult, a free-thinking, independent individual in this society.  Having the ability to look at others' Facebook or Twitter updates at any hour of the day or night and see what they're doing has likely stunted some young women's exploration of their true dreams and interests.  It's actually difficult, unthinkable, really, for them to truly "mind their own business." 

It's also possible that taking in so much information every day makes it harder for some people to distinguish between their original ideas and those that they may have absorbed from their friends.  It's modern groupthink at its worst.

In my experience, the best way to deal with copykittens is to share very few details of projects with them.  You can maintain a friendship with them, but you basically need to wait to share information until you've achieved the goal(s) you've been working toward.

Or, if they inquire about pursuits you've mentioned to others, just politely tell them that it's something you're very excited about, but are not ready to talk about right now.  They'll eventually get the picture.

However, if they're biting your fashion sense (Lady Gaga gets the Grammy for biter of the year,  basically copying some of Madonna's old looks/concepts--Grace Jones even called her out), it's just unacceptable.  Address it immediately, but use humor so it doesn't get dramatic.  "I recognize that purse..."  Hopefully, your copykitten will understand, or start climbing up someone else's tree.

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