What Elaine Benes Taught the World About Women
The phrase “spirit animal” gets thrown around a lot on the internet. If I were to choose one, whose traits and qualities I possess, and who deep down really gets me, it would be Elaine Benes. The enthusiasm with which she performs the “Get OUT!” shout ‘n shove is matched only by my excitement upon seeing it. She’s equal parts chill and shrill, and it’s hard to believe she’s not a real person who exists on this planet. This week, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first episode of Seinfeld. It marked the birth of one of the coolest women on TV—a character who would break down stereotypes and teach the world a thing or two about real women. Here’s what she proved:
1. We Aren’t Afraid to Speak Our Minds. Loudly.
Some women take a bit longer to be pushed to their breaking point, but Elaine lived on the edge. She told it like it was, whatever it was. You always know where you stand with women when they get fired up, because their emotions come at you 150%, hand gestures included. We learned from the best.
2. We Can Be Friends with Dudes.
It’s a debate as old as time: Can men and women be just friends? If you asked Elaine, the answer was yes. She was known to sleep with one male friend in particular, but at the end of the day, she and Jerry were still just friends. Elaine was never fazed by having male friends, and preferred their company to females’. So while it varies by person and situation, it is possible for women to be besties with men.
3. We’re Really Expressive.
Elaine is famous for her expressions. Sometimes, the words coming out of our mouths don’t matter, and it’s all about the look. Happy, sad, mad, judgmental—however we’re really feeling, our face says it all, and probably 1.5 seconds after you turn your back to us. Chances are, we expect you to understand and interpret said facial expressions immediately and with ease.
4. When it Comes to Dating, We Can Be Picky, Too.
Jerry wasn’t the only picky dater on the show. Remember when Elaine dumped Keith Hernandez for being a smoker? She understood dating: It’s about narrowing down what we’re looking for (or not looking for) in a person. Elaine just got to the point faster than most. Not everyone can be spongeworthy.
5. We Aren’t All Looking for Prince Charming. . .
Not every woman is looking for Hollywood’s definition of the perfect guy or Mr. Right. And that’s okay. I don’t think Elaine has ever enjoyed a romantic comedy—she hated The English Patient—nor would she enjoy being swept off her feet.
6. . . .But We Do Like Sex.
Elaine dated plenty of men, and she wasn’t afraid to show us viewers at home that she had an active sex life. She was consistently proving, whether in relationships or in competition, that women had the same needs as men. Elaine made it clear: women are sexual beings, and there’s no shame in that.
7. And Last But Not Least: We Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.
And it’s the best.