Oscar Wilde (or was it George Bernard Shaw?) once famously wrote that youth is wasted on the young. I reckon femininity might be wasted on females – well, some of them, anyway. As women fight – quite rightly – to make their voices heard in a still-male-dominated society, should femininity really be a victim of that battle?I’m transgender – I guess you know that already. I also non-binary transfeminine, which means I identify more with my feminine side than my masculine side.
Feminists don’t shoot me down, but that means I like feminine things. I hold my freshly-manicured hands up – I like the look of pale pink lace, the feel of vintage silk stockings, the scent of a fine perfume like Chanel.
I don’t see anything wrong with that – and I certainly make no apology for it. When did “feminine” become a dirty word?!
Being non-binary, transfeminine, this means that, although I wear women’s clothes 99% of the time, they’re androgynous. Not drab – but safe, so no lace, no floral patterns, no sweetheart necklines. Sadly.
In parallel universe where TERFs and other transphobes have been defeated and nobody cares what anyone else wears, I happily flounce round with ribbons in long hair, wearing summer dresses and skirts – as well as my usual jeans and T-shirts – but this not an ideal world and probably never will be.
I love the old, black and white Hollywood movies, with stars like Audrey and Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Rita Hayworth. Beautiful women with flawless makeup, stunning gowns and strong, beautiful personalities – utterly feminine.
When I was a kid in the 1970s, men were men and women were women. There was no gender cross-over or, if there was, it was all in secret. Women wore dresses, blouses and skirts (and those dodgy headscarfs you see in Monty Python sketches), and men wore shirts, trousers and jeans.
You knew where you were back then, I suppose. Men did men jobs and women did women jobs – you rarely saw a male nurse or a female doctor.
Clothes and careers aside, look at hobbies and interests – so women might like flower arranging, sewing and cooking, while chaps might prefer mechanics, building things or sports.
Naturally, this is all sexist bollocks and, over the years, things have changed. We still have a long way to go – especially in terms of the glass ceiling – but at least now women are carrying out jobs which were once solely the domain of men, and vice versa.
And yet there appears to be a real downer on femininity – a quality which I adore.
Look at 21st-Century Western Woman. I think there’s been that much of a push for her to become accepted in more traditonally male roles that femininity has been a massive victim.
Most women these days wear trousers and shirts – which is fine if they want to, by the way – and more feminine clothes are now relics of the past. You just don’t see feminine skirts and frocks around like you used to.
As for feminine lingerie, that seems to be on the way out, too. Plain, padded, boring bras with knickers to match are all the rage – you’d be lucky to get a little bow on them. And you can forget things like pretty petticoats and silky slips.
According to the Mumsnet TERFs, femininity is a “social construct”. Here’s what our old friend Wikipedia has to say:
The idea that gender difference is socially constructed is a view present in philosophical and sociological theories about gender. According to this view, society and culture create gender roles, and these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific gender.
Some argue that the differences in behavior between men and women are entirely social conventions, whereas others believe that behavior is influenced by universal biological factors to varying degrees of extent, with social conventions having a major effect on gendered behavior instead of vice versa.
And because of this, mtf trans people get it in the neck because we’re reinforcing a socially-engineered stereotype of women.
I get that – I really do. But I just don’t see what is so wrong with expressing one’s feminity – whether you’re female, non-binary or male.
Just because you might like to wear a frilly frock doesn’t make you weak. Far from it, it takes a fair amount of strength to walk out of the house “en femme” in front of our judgmental society wearing such garb, especially if transgender.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of femininity is…
Qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of women.‘she alternated between embracing her femininity and concealing it’
That example line could have been written about many transgender people – and a fair few cis women, too.
Now, feminists quite rightly want equality. They want the same career prospects men have – good. They want to be able to join the same social groups – golf clubs or whatever – fantastic. And they want to be able to wear traditionally male clothes – trousers, shirts, etc. Great – if that’s what you want to wear, you fill your boots with Y-fronts, girls!
But don’t forget your femininity – see it as something beautiful and not weak, something that should be embraced and cherished. Women and men aren’t the same – and yet while I’m all for equality, I think sometimes we forget to celebrate the differences. Femininity should be given a revival before it’s as dead as romance is these days.
Why not celebrate it as many people seem to celebrate masculinity? If the chaps can sport hipster beards and smart clothes, why can’t the women – or anyone else, in fact – wear dresses and makeup?
Why not bake cakes or do embroidery if that’s what you like? Don’t stop fixing motor engines and building house extensions – just don’t forget to explore your girl side as well as your boy one. Be giggly, be polite, be caring, be pretty, be delicate, be sweet!
And this is why I think femininity is wasted on many (cis) females. It’s a good job there are transwomen out there, who are flying the flag for the softer, fairer side. Because it’s harder for most of them to “pass”, I’d say that they appreciate femininity all the more. For many cis women, it’s something they take for granted.
Maybe if transphobes didn’t hate and resent transwomen so much, they wouldn’t have to spend quite so much time before the makeup mirror every morning, fighting to just be accepted out there – fighting to fit into your social construct.