Why would a woman feel scorn for what is unique to our sex—femininity? Why the rejection?
I may sound unsympathetic, but I’m really not. There are a number of contradictory forces that contribute to confusion about our true nature. Femininity is a positive attribute of women. It’s ours. Unfortunately, there are many mixed messages that come from all directions.
1. The Hollywood Barbie doll look: We feel invalidated if we don’t look perfect all the time. Either we are born with natural beauty or we “should” get plastic surgery to achieve it or use products and lots of creams and makeup. If we even walk past a magazine with a beautiful woman on it, often the photo is retouched. Yet we compare ourselves and come up short. The sense that this image of the ideal woman is impossible to achieve causes a lot of women to despair and give up.
2. We aren’t allowed to grow old: One of my daughters said years ago that after Jane Fonda’s famous workout video done in 1982, it was so popular, women aren’t “allowed” to get old anymore. Jane was in her mid 40’s at the time and, if she could look that fabulous, we must too. When I was growing up, women my mother’s age assumed once a woman got “older” she would get wrinkles and have some sagging skin. Women had babies and got older; it was alright. She wasn’t criticized and didn’t feel like a failure. Not anymore. Women can sometimes give up on femininity when they age because they feel like it’s pointless.
3. Fear of looking “too good” to men and getting the “wrong attention”: Some women have anxiety about getting unwanted attention from men who only want to use them. This can happen for a variety of reasons including prior abuse whether its sexual, verbal or physical. For this reason various women wear nondescript masculine inspired clothing to “blend in” and not get noticed at all. This is sad because they feel that to be safe emotionally, they can’t be feminine. It’s too dangerous.
4. A desire to feel validated and valued: Some feel that if they dress like and act like feminine women they won’t be taken seriously. But they don’t realize—by adopting a more masculine look and manner, they are admitting, unconsciously, that women aren’t as good as or valuable as men. This is of course, nonsense. We are just as valuable as men are and we’re quite different. Dressing or acting like men won’t get us the validation we seek. On the contrary, being even more feminine will. It helps to bring out our true feminine power.
5. The pressure to be thin: This is a big one. The American fashion consultant, Tim Gunn, recently reported that a majority of women in this country were now a size 16-18 on average. He added that designers refuse (so far) to make clothes for these women, who number about 100 million. The pressure is for us to be thin (no--skinny), no matter our age or whether we’ve had children or not. Another reason women give up.
6. The Feminist Movement: Feminists promote a victim perspective. They always say that we’re discriminated against by sexist, misogynistic men and the answer is to “force” fairness and equality. They tend to equate equality with sameness. Being a constant victim makes a person weak. Blaming others, even if justified, allows us to excuse our own irresponsible behavior. Victim thinking prevents us from seeing and developing our strengths. Feminists will approve of anything a woman wants to do except being a traditional feminine woman. This invalidation of the essence of femininity confuses women in to undermining their true nature.
For these and other reasons, some women are uncomfortable with their femininity, perhaps to the point of rejecting it.
There is an alternative. How would you like to learn who you really are? You are a beautiful woman. You don’t have to compete with or look like a man to be valuable. We all can use some improvement, sure, but being female and feminine is who you were born to be. There is power in femininity. Different from men. Don’t reject it. Embrace it. It will change your life for the better!