I am a woman who is obviously quite heavily involved with cannabis culture. I enjoy using cannabis medically and for recreation, I read up on as much weed related news as I can, and sometimes when I’m looking for some LOLs, I will scroll through “weed meme” pages. Although, there are some memes that I come across from time to time that do not have the intended effect of giving me a happy brain tickle. In fact, these memes do the opposite, and make my brain cringe with sadness at the sentiments some people choose to express to the world. These images that I dislike are the ones that express themes such as, “cute girls don’t smoke weed,” or state that females who like weed or who are knowledgeable about weed are “unladylike.” They make me sad because I just cannot understand the inclination for some members of the cannabis enthusiast community to negatively stereotype females who use weed in such a manner.
The prevalence of memes and attitudes that portray female stoners in a harsh and critical way makes me feel as if most of the cannabis community is male dominated. This idea becomes reinforced to me by some quick and nondescript searches through Google and Instagram. If one is searching for media related to female cannabis users, the most prevalent and popular images will portray full-bosomed women with microscopic clothing and hints of phallic subtext (large bongs or dick-shaped clouds of smoke). I personally do not find these particular images as being representative of the female voice in the cannabis community, and believe they exist mostly for male pleasure. Furthermore, juxtaposed between the images of blunts and big asses, are posts demonizing women who enjoy their weed how they like: comfortably clothed, mostly privately, and on their own time. There are tweets from men stating that women who smoke weed are dirty and undesirable. Comments that say that a woman who can roll a blunt is trashy. And consequently, I have had men tell me, to my face, that the fact that I smoked daily made me lazy and immature; with some of my harshest critics being men who blazed quite often themselves.
A culture had been established around weed that excluded women from the group, unless they were there to exist solely for the male gaze. Although consequently, we as a society continue to reinforce this attitude that women don’t have a very important place within cannabis culture and that weed is an unfeminine vice. Usually, women who want to fit in and be regarded as conventionally attractive must adhere to a set of behaviors condoned by the most common culture. And, it seems to be that the wind-down activities suggested to the most well-liked females revolve around cocktail hours and decreased inhibitions. It shocks me at times to see that mainstream women in today’s Western culture have even been encouraged to actively advertise about potential alcohol abuse in the form of novelty t-shirts and mugs. Graphics that include phrases like “Will work out for wine” or “Café Mocha Valium Vodka Latte” are ubiquitously marketed to women and can be found in really public places like bookshops or popular stores. Although, if a girl were to be wearing a green leaf in lieu of an alcoholic slogan, the popular opinion would label her as unruly and un-dateable. For some reason a party girl with puke in her hair is still regarded by society as just plain adorable, and it’s not until you replace that bottle of vodka with dab rig that the woman becomes disgusting. It is a culture we have all contributed to, one that isolates women who already use weed and keeps them from identifying as stoners, and one that discourages females who wish to be socially desirable from ever learning about the plant at all.
Because the truth is that women who use cannabis are not unmotivated, lazy, immoral, sinful, addicted, or inadequate. Women who enhance their lives with cannabis are WOKE.
A woman who uses cannabis is brave, because she isn’t afraid to battle the law over her fundamental rights. She is strong, because she will stand alone as part of counter-culture, in order to uphold her unique values and stay true to her own character. She is gracious, because her continuous good mood allows her to be extremely attentive in her relationships as a: partner, friend, caretaker, sibling, or daughter. She is industrious, because she fights fatigue in order to make the most of even extremely taxing days. She is alert and she is conscious of her environment, because her sustained focus allows her to pay attention to detail. And, she is intelligent and creative, because she spends a lot of time reflecting on her inner world and the world around her.
The exclusion of women within popular cannabis culture mimics the exclusion of women within notable places in a larger society. The creation of “boys clubs” within male dominated areas such as, engineering, science, tech, leadership, or the trades, is abundant and something most women have probably experienced in their personal and professional lives. Women live in a world that equates traits like frailty and over-emotionality to femininity, and one that constantly doubts the competency of women. I believe that this idea of femininity being likened to weakness allows men to feel justified in rejecting female input in certain matters. Or maybe, their ideas of masculinity just start feeling threatened by a lady who may have the ability to outperform them. Either way, I believe that men trivialize, then bully women with degrading terms like slut, butch, shallow, or inferior in order to hold onto power in fields where they already monopolize. And, although women have become increasingly accepted in fields previously owned by men, enough stigma still exists that anything related to cannabis can still feel like an impenetrable boys’ club.
In modern Western culture, even with the increasing legality of the substance and the increased usage by all people, it is still quite taboo for a woman to be publicly brazen about weed use, and almost forbidden for a girl to brag about the quantities that she blazes. This is in stark contrast to males who are encouraged to emphasize and even exaggerate their pot use, and ones who have virtually made careers over their perma-baked personas. If a female celebrity wants to open about her love for cannabis, she must adopt a “bad girl” persona like Rihanna or Miley Cyrus, or otherwise stay fairly coy or vague about her own usage. It’s a double standard that allows blatant male stoners to be lovable dopey Seth Rogans, but frequent female stoners to be forgotten Whoopi Goldbergs (love you Whoopi, but the internet doesn’t). And, it is this double standard with respect to using cannabis that creates the image that men who are familiar with weed can be successful in their lives and careers irrespective of their personal choices, but women who use the plant will be ostracized to the lonely fringes.
Cannabis culture is something that is very important to me and I believe in breaking the stigma and creating positive connotations around weed for all users. I believe it is detrimental to the community, and to women as a whole, to consider cannabis use as incompatible with “normal” female culture. It is these exclusionary attitudes that keep women from entering industries or rising professionally. It is this segregation that also reinforces a culture that concedes to demeaning women for their choices, as well as to dehumanizing women by reducing them only to their sexuality. Having a large mass of women eschew weed use also leaves a gap for marketers to target women into a much more toxic substance culture, like frequent drinking or pharmaceutical pills. I believe that alcohol is a substance that keeps people depressed, absent-minded, and unaware of their surroundings, and the continued marketing of things like casual “wine mom” culture can be an excuse for women to not act mindfully in their lives. Being woke means being aware of the world and what is truly going on in the space around you. Women who better their lives with cannabis ignore the misinformation in this world, they value their integrity over the popular opinion, and they keep their eyes open for truth. So, this is why I say that… WOKE WOMEN SMOKE WEED.