I believe femininity to be a lost art. Indeed, it is an art. Femininity is in stark contrast to feminism in that it requires care, finesse, and confidence in who you were created to be to achieve it. Feminism, not so much. I find femininity to be effortless. Unlike the constant and incessant haranguing of feminists to prove their place in the world, women who are feminine present no such display of posturing. The differences between femininity and feminism are, in my humble opinion, obvious; however, for those who remain confounded by its mystique, indulge me in this “Compare and Contrast.”
Femininity is effortless—Feminism, labored. I am naturally feminine. My interactions with people are feminine. It’s nothing I strive for or try to be; it’s innate. When interact with my eight-year-old son, I’m soft and much to his chagrin, nauseatingly sappy, stroking his face and telling him how handsome he is. With my daughter, I’m light and giggly as we discuss her teenage drama and new makeup we bought at the store. My husband takes no thought for how he looks when he’s mowing the lawn, fixing something in the house, or talking about how he would protect our family and me, yet I am naturally drawn to his masculinity in it all. The more masculine he is, the more feminine I feel. It is an ebb and flow of male and female synergy. Neither of us make any particular effort; it just…is.
Conversely, feminism seems to be all about effort. Women, for some reason, feel the need to prove themselves–to themselves–which is incredibly ironic. More than that, they seem to need to prove themselves to the world. They go to great lengths to fight for rights they already have and achieve positions women who came before them have already achieved. It’s imperative they make their feminism known sometimes by cutting their hair short and always wearing power suits. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a bold, short haircut and a fabulous power suit, but if a woman is trying to stand out in a “man’s world,” call me crazy—I don’t think blending in to look like a man is the way to do it.
Femininity is unique—Feminism, ordinary. Some may question this point. What’s unique about femininity? There are many women, making femininity commonplace, yes? Well, yes, in a way. I’m feminine as are my female friends, but I’m not like my female friends. Men aren’t attracted to all women as all women are different–they offer different things. There are things about one woman that are not characteristic of another. My husband is attracted to the way I walk, my laugh, my brash sense of humor, and my intelligence. Lots of women have those things…but mine is my own.
Feminism is a “one size fits all feminists” type of movement. The struggle for equality (which has already been fought for and won) is standard. It’s not like women fight to be like any one particular man; they fight to be like all men. Feminists shun the notion of being unique. They become offended if they’re admired for their unique beauty. They shrink back in disgust and indignation if a man compliments them. No one is talking about sexual harassment here. It shouldn’t need to be said, but I will for the presumptuous people in the back: sexual
harassment is offensive, unconscionable and should be met with sure and swift punishment. No, I’m talking about the pure admiration for something of beauty because women are beautiful.
Femininity is gracious—Feminism, uncongenial. Women who are feminine have a certain grace about them. I believe it is their natural desire to nurture and care for others that makes women so beautiful. Women who value their femininity value other women regardless of their ideologies. I, for example, have no problems with women who decide to dedicate their lives to their career. I worked in Corporate America until I had my son, then I decided I wanted to stay at home to raise him. I hold no ill-will, however, towards women who decided they either do not want children or want to be working moms. To each their own.
Feminists, however, would say I’ve sold myself out—that I’ve put my wants and needs on the back burner, and these sentiments would be dripping in judgment and condescension. Isn’t the feminist platform all about a woman’s power and autonomy? Isn’t it about her freedom to make her own choices and walk head held high in those choices?
I don’t intend to sound belittling when I say this, but I feel badly for feminists. Their lives must be exhausting. It must require a lot of energy to wake up in the morning and have to work so hard to like themselves and fight so hard to get others to believe they like themselves. Feminine women go to no such efforts. They refuse to oblige society by conforming to the supposed female oppressive plight.
Femininity manages to find joy in the mundane and peace in the ordinary. It is not restless, seeking a fight. It is not insecure in what it has to offer. It is not apprehensive or timid.
It is bold. It appreciates honest admiration and basks in the awareness of what it is–powerful. It is strength in a female package. It is useful and inviting. Men value it, children envelop it, and other women are not intimidated by it. The power femininity wields is not nefarious in its motive but benevolent in its will.
Women would do well to teach this art to their daughters and praise it to their sons.