Femininity and Feminism

Here’s some highlights from this piece on our feminisms’ relationships with femininity that acknowledges the complex meanings and purposes ‘femininity’ takes on when we live in patriarchy.

Many years ago, I rejected certain expressions of traditional femininity because I was a misogynist, raised in a misogynist culture to hate women (including myself). I was socialized to have axiomatic contempt for the feminine and all its associations with weakness and frivolity and being less than.

Then I was exposed to proper feminist theory for the first time—and suddenly I started REALLY LIKING being a woman, and other women, and all things feminine, in a way I had never liked any of those things before. It made me voraciously desirous of feminine things, many of which I’d always liked, deep down, but had rejected, shoving my affections to dark vaults at the bottom of my psychological sea. There they could be forgotten, or at least denied.

I lived on—and my perspective on the world changed, and I changed, and my feminism changed. Some of the expressions of traditional femininity I had embraced started to seem problematic to me. I didn’t exactly ricochet back in the other direction, but I certainly felt less disposed toward, less fond of, certain expressions of femininity. Some of them felt, when on my body, on my skin, in my mouth, in my thoughts, like an artifice behind which I was hiding.

There has not been any point at which my personal feminism is/was “right” with regard to my expressions and/or rejections of femininity, according to every other feminist on the planet. It is a moving target, even for me, finding some balance between my feminism and my femininity.

Read  the whole not-chopped-up piece for even more good points.

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