When I was little I didn’t understand the importance of a good, solid, female role model. To lesser extent I could barely compute the gravity of a ‘bad’ one. I knew good meant good, and bad meant bad, girls wore pink and boys wore blue, and as far as I was concerned, cannabis was a logo on a Bob Marley poster.
As a child this new concept of good and bad was compelling. Britney? Good?! ‘Sex on the Beach’ by T-Spoon? Bad, definitely bad. Rollerblading? Good! Homework? Very bad. Charity? Goodgoodgood! Stealing? Very, very, bad. Throughout my teens I learned the difference between the two through family, Bliss magazine, The O.C., music television, Mean Girls, radio and the natter that took place among my school friends at break times. In a small and clamorous canteen, us ladies sat crosslegged on plastic chairs, munching on chicken fillet rolls and discussing matters of all importance. Women and girls were dependable topics amongst us.
Between bites we talked benefits and negatives of fame, celebrities and their drug habits, broken romances, and mugshots. We discussed our heroes. How we, females, were presented in the media. Who our favourite characters on television were. Conversations ran through protests of female solidarity, to the most inane and meticulous observations defaming our celebrity sisters for their publicised shortcomings. In a nutshell, we talked a lot of shite about the blitz of media that assaulted our undulating teenage senses. We learned about ourselves through the women that were available to us. And this recrudescent shite talk moulded our Irish thoughts with a very US/UK-centred view of the world.
We talked about Friday and Half Baked, the dreamy James Franco in Freaks and Geeks and the dinner time double bill of That 70s Show the night before. To this day I discuss my love of these formative movies and shows. I loved Spicoli, the surfer cool dude in Fast Times, Travis the skateboarding McMuffin advocate in Clueless, Ron “you cool man?” from Dazed and Confused. However, in spite of how much I favoured these characters, I just wanted to see some chill ladies on screen blazing up because they were the ones rolling the joint, not waiting to be passed to. Not to say us ladies haven’t had a look in at all, it just hasn’t been at the same velocity until very recently. The pop-cultural visibility of women in weed culture has really only come to the fore in the past few years and the representation of female stoner life is on the incline!
“I’m just a girl, standing in front of the joint, asking can I smoke it.”
In the past year I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of liberal leftist publications including cannabis in the discussion. FADER wrote about several different female professionals and how they relate to the drug, VICE frequently cover the topic as do Dazed Digital. However last August, Cosmopolitan published an article called Love & Sex & Weed and the following September Playboy followed suit with The Truth about How Marijuana Affects Male Sexual Performance. These two major publications are received as the epitome of femininity and masculinity and they are putting cannabis on a hugely mainstream platform. It is important that the female discussion about weed can be argued with points from other women that are as accessible in mainstream pop-culture as the above magazines, so that women can have the opportunity to identify and relate to what they’re reading and viewing in a positive way.
2014 saw the release of the comedy series Broad City, a perfect tale of two female best friends who faff about New York and smoke weed together. There’s High Maintenance, an online web series centring on a New York weed dealer and his daily encounters, a show that includes a spectrum of smokers.
Femininity in weed culture is becoming more accessible and with that I’m hoping to see more ladies in the spotlight and more conversations about how we relate to our kush. After all, if weed is popularised in film and tv as an echo of an honest representation of the drug, then hopefully us gals will continue to share screen and airtime with our lovely stoner boy counterparts. The cannabis industry is the first ever billion dollar industry that women are getting ahead in. Women of all ages now have the opportunity to see other women who happen to smoke, in the public sphere, being good role models. And that, I am very happy to see.
Róisín Nolan is a writer from Dublin who likes to (sometimes over-)analyse music and growing of age in modern society. Her writing exposes the clash between her strong sense of Irish identity and absorption of American and UK culture throughout her formative years. Tweets @roisnolan