What is feminism? What is a feminist? Does being a feminist or holding onto the ideal of feminism pigeonhole a person into being dowdy or dumpy or old? And is the corollary valid that if you dress feminine and wear jewelry and make-up that you have somehow abandoned feminism? How about this question…if your man, or woman partner prefers you to do these things, is he or she somehow against feminism? Does he/or she “not like you the way you are?”
This is what has been rolling around in my head for the last day or so. It has been irritating me so much that I had to spit it out onto paper. Maybe I am so irritated because I am decidedly feminine. When I try to do the no make-up, short hair, kinda butch thing, it just doesn’t work out. But secretly, I think, it doesn’t really work out for most women (aside from those transitioning from female to male). They want it to work out, but it is hard to want that look and also want sexual attention from the gender you seek sexual attention from. This is harsh. Heck, most of my theses are harsh. That is why I write them, I suppose.
So where to start? The divine feminine is as good a place as any. I have had a pretty overt interest in goddess images, images of warrior goddesses and mother goddesses, alike. What I am struck by is how beautiful they are. They are images of women. Whether they are badass or docile, they are womanly. In India, they are adorned with saris and jewelry and make-up. They are bedecked in flowers. Goddess figurines from catalhoyuk to Tell el-Duweir to Hohle Fels cave in Germany all have something in common…the predominance of the breasts. Most have large hips to accompany them. It would be difficult for anyone to mistake them for men. The goddess, in all her glory and wrath can never be mistaken for a man. She is she.
The next place I go is biology. That is, what separates me from a man? Of course, my vagina and breast tissue do, but there is also something more. My body has an abundance of estrogen and progesterone while my male counterparts are flooded with testosterone. Not that we both don’t have some of the other. Finally, we can’t forget the androgen baths we took in our own mother’s womb. We are different than men in so many amazing and wonderful ways. I love being a woman. I love my biology.
That leads me to why we wear make-up. I usually wear make-up, unless I am swimming or working out, and even then, you may find me with a little blush and mascara. We don’t wear makeup (and men don’t find make-up attractive) so that we can be dominated by some man’s cultural based notion of beauty. Oh no, this is biologically based, just as much so as our hip to waist ratio (more on that later). “Make-up is meant to simulate what a woman’s face looks like mid-orgasm. Reddish or dark pink lipstick mimics the way lips will engorge with blood. Blush mimics flushed skin. Eyeliner and darker eye shadow will make the eyes appear half closed, hence the term ‘bedroom eyes’.” It doesn’t just go one way either. Human women’s preference for a long penis has stretched the male member in primates far beyond any other, especially when you compare weight to length ratio. A man’s penis is his peacock tail, we just have to get him to display it. So. (interestingly, the average male gorilla penis is 1.5 inches, human male 5) Back to the badass women. Another biologically based want/desire/need that men have is a certain waist to hip ratio in women. Studies show that it doesn’t matter how heavy or thin you are, just that you maintain this ratio. Men find it the most sexy. Ironically enough, it means more than a man’s desire, it is an indication of fertility. That is why, anything that shows off this ratio is “sexy.” When a man likes you to wear tight or fitted clothes, it is not because he is sexist or doesn’t like your lazy, sweats or non-form fitting smock, it is because, biologically, he is hard wired to find your hip to waist ratio sexually attractive. Further, men like long, healthy hair. Again…not just some idiotic male fantasy. Absolutely not, silky hair means you have enough healthy oils and fats in your diet. Short, straggly hair is an indication of vitamin deficiency (biologically speaking). I mean, come on women, when you are not eating right, one of the consequences is that your hair brakes off, or even falls out. As we age our hair tends to get thinner….nice hair is a easy and direct way to gauge if a women is healthy and fertile.
So, I’ve gone through religion and biology…what about our feminist leaders? Are they little frumpettes, or are they fairly vixon-like? Well, I have been taking a gander and without a doubt, they are doing their best in the sexy arena. Even Betty Friedan sports dresses, earring, and lipstick. Gloria Steinem always had long hair. She looked like she wasn’t wearing make-up, but zoom in on some of her modern photos, she is rocking those “bedroom eyes.” Then lets go onto our modern women of the hour…Ruth Bader Ginsberg, talk about a badass in heels. She refuses to wear her judicial robe without a lace collar, and earrings. She is older but she is all woman. However strong these women are, and whatever they write about, they can’t escape the essential femininity of who they are.
Why would they? Is being “feminine” bad? In whatever culture you reside in there are things that are considered “feminine” they may be different based upon where you are in the globe but they contrast with men, sometimes to a greater extent and sometimes a lesser extent. I would go as far as to posit that the women in any given culture that express “femininity” as it is culturally defined get something out of the bargain. Again, let us not forget that men portraying culturally appropriate masculinity also get something out of the bargain. What do we, women get? I am sure it varies from culture to culture. Here, in America, women have a wide latitude of feminine expression. We can be fairly androgynous and still embody femininity. We can be lesbian and embody it. (that word “embody” should be dealt with but that is fodder for another blog) What happens when we accept our femininity and radiate the knowledge of it? Power!
It is contrary to everything you might think. You may think that if you wear no lipstick and look as masculine as possible you will find power there. How wrong you are. You are competing at a game you have no experience with as an insider. Unless you are transitioning and are one testosterone therapy, you cannot understand the slackening of the woman inside you. I once read the experience of woman transitioning to a man. Her words were something to the affect that after a month on testosterone a veil of emotion was lifted from her eyes every bit as extreme as the increased muscle tone and sexual drive. Attempting to subjugate your femininity or deny it or throw it under the bus like some used feminist garbage doesn’t help your cause or your power. Knowledge is powerful stuff and when you know about femininity…oh the power you possess.
I walk around in heels because I am a badass and I know it. I wear make-up not because I like the way I look…I think I look just fine without it. I wear it because I get a prize for wearing it. I get power. Power over men. Power over women. Power to demand what I want. Power to laugh in the face of being called a bitch. Power to shake it off. Power to write my own check.
Another point that some women want to raise is that you won’t be taken seriously if you are hot. Or, in another vein, that sort of power is not what women ought to want or not what they want, personally. You know what I say to that, I call bullshit. I was skimming through Forbes 100 most powerful women list and about 90% are hot, hot! They are successful and feminine…now that is shocking. Further, I doubt, seriously that if any woman embraced her divine femininity she would ever go back. It is delicious. I should know.