As it is, however, I am just left feeling rather left out that as a non-Mission living, professionally employed, panty-owning woman sadly devoid of vintage frames (glasses and bike), I apparently don't belong in a modern San Francisco. And the fact that in his upcoming show (Is the "Frisco" in the title supposed to be ironic? And if so will the Italians get it? So many questions...) this overworked cliché is apparently going to be presented to a foreign nation as a representation of the archetypal San Francisco woman... well, I don't even know what to say about that.Ok, well I will say, first of all: I'm not sure where the artist is getting his data but personally I kinda think he missed the mark. I believe I know a fairly diverse selection of females here and generally speaking, the “Modern San Franciscan Woman” I know can be described as intelligent, independent, open-minded, politically and socially active (because she cares about her city), environmentally conscious (but not obnoxiously self-righteous about it), quite likely more sexually enlightened than the rest of the country (but not slutty), perhaps often a leetle heavy-handed with the booze (but she can hold her liquor), and lives any-which-the-fuck-where she pleases in the city because she's not pretentious enough to think that you’re only cool if you live in a certain neighborhood (*cough*the Mission*cough*).
But what I found more interesting than the drawing itself was the discussion it incited in the comments section of the Mission Mission blog post. So right now I'm going to sidestep the whole feminist issue, for the sake of brevity, and focus on the larger picture I feel is in question here: what it means to be a citizen of San Francisco, male or female.
Now just to be clear, I do not have a problem with the Mission. I live very close to the Mission. I have friends who live there. I love Mission Dolores park, going out in the Mission, thrifting in the mission, having brunch in the Mission, eating burritos in the Mission... you get the point.
What I do take issue with is people making arbitrary, personally-biased decisions about what makes one a San Franciscan; such as anyone trying to say that you're not a "true" SF-er if you don't ride a bike, if you don't have tattoos, don't smoke (hella) weed, if you own a car or watch tv or live in the sunset or weren't born here. Just like it rubs me the wrong way when people automatically and derogatorily slap the hipster label on someone because they have a bike, tats and skinny jeans, or the prep/bro/marina ho tag if, God Forbid, they happen to rent an apartment in Pac Heights or Cow Hollow. It's the age old "book & cover" debaucle.
What I think is stupid is the fact that we seem to feel the need to argue over who of us are more authentically San Franciscan, based on where we're from, what neighborhood we live in, what we wear/drive/ride/eat/drink, etc. What's this? Cliques? Pointless catfights? When did this SF become one giant high school campus, anyway? Why can't we all just find common ground in our collective love and pride of our city and learn to accept (if not celebrate) the differences that make it so diverse and colorful?
And so I say that, if anything, what should define a true San Franciscan are these same qualities; an unwavering sense of tolerance and compassion, a refusal to stereotype, label or to look with hatred, fear and disgust upon those who are different. After all, isn't that the very spirit of San Francisco itself?
*plagiarized and bastardized from the sonnet "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty