My performance of femininity and why it isn't all about me.

Look. I’m going to let you in on a little secret unbeknownst to anyone but my closest 455 Facebook friends, my real-life friends (somewhere between 4-70, I’d guess), every single person who sees me out and about, and now, everyone who reads this.  So DON’T tell anyone.

…I wear eyeliner. Almost every day.

Why? While the reasons may be more complicated than: ‘Because I feel like it’, the simple answers remain squarely located in boring-town: I feel more presentable when wearing eyeliner. I’ve become addicted to the ritual that is ‘putting on my face’.  I’m very pale and I look sickly without blush. Yeah. Excuses, excuses. The real-life story is that I have learned both a) that my appearance matters, and b) how to perform femininity.

Though I am very much committed to hiding my under-eye circles, I am simultaneously critical of extreme performances of femininity, particularly those that are dangerous or cause pain: stilettos and breast implants, for example. I don’t paint my toenails because I feel that it may poison my brain (yes, I believe that is the correct medical terminology) and because it feels like a huge waste of time. I really could care less what my toes look like. Feet are for walking on.

But let’s get back to my eyeliner. I do not believe, not for one second, that my eyeliner has anything at all to do with my nature. Even though I ‘like’ putting it on my eyes. I don’t wear eyeliner because I came out of the womb with a deep desire to make my eyes ‘pop’. I also don’t wear eyeliner because I am a woman. Or rather, there is nothing about my biological sex that has led me towards a make-up regimen. The eyeliner does not make the woman, you might say. Rather, it is because I was born a woman in a culture that that teaches women to value their appearances above all else, that I was taught that eyeliner makes me look more beautiful. AND, not only that, but I should aim to be more beautiful. I should work at it.

I learned femininity.

I was taught how to act and how to look because I am a woman, but learning it did not make me a women, I am not more womanly because of my eyeliner, though, perhaps, I am perceived as being more ‘feminine’.

There are many other things women are taught in our culture – they are taught to be polite, to be passive, to take up as little space as possible. They are taught that they will be treated better if they do a good job of performing femininity. They are taught that they will be successful at ‘womanly’ things like husband-getting and that they will be rewarded for being physically attractive above all else.

Now, just because we are taught these things, it does not mean we must abide, nor does it mean we all follow these rules. Nope. I know all sorts of ladies who leave the house with naked eyes on a regular basis. Most of all, though, what it does not mean is that femininity is natural. Or that femininity has anything to do with you as an individual. There is no eyeliner gene. Nail polish isn’t an expression of your nature. Though it does communicate to the world that you have learned the skills required to properly perform femininity.

So when I read some responses this week to Julie Bindel’s genius piece in The Guardian called ‘The end of feminism, or, how I learned to stop worrying and wear lipstick’, arguing that Bindel is ‘anti-feminine’ or that ‘I’m feminine because that’s who I am…My gender expression is about me, not anyone else’, my reaction was somewhere along the lines of: ‘who are you and what have you done with feminism?’

Bindel’s piece was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, joking about how she was giving up that old ‘femininity is nothing but a social construct’ angle in favour of making an the effort to better perform femininity in the hopes that this is what, for once and for all will force men to ‘be nicer to us’. While some readers missed the point entirely, cheering Bindle on for, at long last giving up on all this feminism nonsense and celebrating lipstick and passivity, others responded with anger at what was seen as an attack on femininity. So along with all the other labels that come along with being critical of gender binaries, pornography, prostitution, etc, that plant a feminist firmly in the no-fun camp, being critical of ‘femininity’ now, apparently, makes you ‘anti-feminine’, whatever that means. The trouble with the ‘anti-feminine’ label is, of course, that femininity isn’t a real thing. It’s something that has been invented and imposed on women. Just as the myth of masculinity has been imposed on men. Unfortunately all those qualities like ‘respect’ and ‘power’ and rationality’ were doled out to the masculine, while those who were taught femininity got stuck with ‘weak’, ‘irrational’, and, generally, superfluous.

So, just to recap: women are not weak, irrational, superficial, or naturally inclined towards lipstick and nail polish, but rather women are taught how to perform femininity, which involves a myriad of less respected practices and characteristics than the ones taught to men.

If I learned nothing else from the last 10 years I spent in the Women’s Studies department, and at least as many years neck-deep in feminist analysis, I learned that socialization is real. That we do not exist in a cultural vaccum and that we learn what it means to ‘be a boy’ (i.e. perform masculinity) and what it means to ‘be a girl’ (i.e. perform femininity). I learned that there is absolutely nothing that is ‘all about me’ and that my performance of femininity has absolutely nothing to do with my biological makeup.

Some of the greatest work feminists did was to show us that that which we once thought was ‘natural’, for example female weakness and male strength, women as passive and men as aggressive, women as cooperative and men as competitive, was not at all natural and that rather these were qualities that were learned or, at very least, had little to do with the sex we were born into. Rather than, as one author implies, gender expression being about individuals: “My gender expression is about me, not anyone else”, it is very much about social conditioning.

Not only that, but have we all completely forgotten the role that consumerism plays in this femininity dance? Makeup, stilettos, push-up bras, nail polish. These are all things we buy and these are all things that we are taught, as women, we must buy in order to be the best women we can be.

Femininity is ‘an artifice’, so is masculinity. It isn’t nail polish, or eyeliner, or high heels that make a woman, just like it isn’t facial hair, or aggressiveness, or comfortable underwear that make a man a man. Where have we gone with this movement when we are arguing that gender expression is simply about individuals, that “My gender expression is about me, not anyone else” or that femininity is something either accidental or innate? Or when we are meant to celebrate something that is not real in order to avoid getting slapped with the ‘anti’ label?

Being a woman is work, particularly being a woman who performs femininity in appropriate ways. It may be work that we have learned to enjoy at times, but it is work. And it is not ‘natural’. I did not come out of the womb wearing eyeliner, I had to learn how to put that shit on my eyes.

Performing femininity is not a sign of weakness, but rather but it is a sign that we live in a consumerist culture which works very hard to teach us what it means to ‘be a man’ and what it means to ‘be a woman’. It is not that we are ‘weak’ for falling prey to femininity, we are, after all, taught from the day we are born, in various ways, what our performance should entail, but this knowledge should not, either, lead us towards blind celebration of that which has been sold to us as ‘feminine’ or to pretend that we are making these choices outside of social context. Let’s be real. Wearing lipstick isn’t empowering. It isn’t some kind of feminist statement. And while there are, within these responses that call Bindel ‘anti-feminine’, these acknowledgements that we don’t exist in a cultural vacuum and neither do our choices, the ‘this is all about me as an individual’ / ‘this is just who I am’ argument seems to contradict that.

Bindel doesn’t argue that masculinity is ‘better’ than femininity, she is simply wary of embracing ‘femininity’ as empowering. So what’s with this ‘Julie Bindel is anti-feminine’? What does that even mean? I’m pretty positive she is ‘anti-masculine’, if that were a thing, as well and I think that if we’re framing femininity as anything other than a social (and, at this point, a capitalist) construction that has absolutely nothing to do ME, we aren’t doing our jobs as feminists.

It feels like we’re using ‘critique’ as an excuse to tack yet another ‘anti-‘ onto feminists in that ‘Shhhhh – we’re ignoring all this stuff over here’ kind of way.

Not only does this ‘this (‘this’, in these circumstances, being femininity) is about me’ approach lack a feminist analysis, but it lacks honesty. We may sleep better at night when we stop at ‘this is just me and that’s all there is’, I would certainly feel less conflicted about my lipstick were I to pretend that ‘hey, I was just born with a lipstick kinda personality, whatcanyado?”, but it wouldn’t be honest. My performance of femininity has very much to do with the world around me, the world I grew up in, and you know what? It is work. And telling the world that femininity isn’t work, that it’s all just about individual women having fun and being themselves tells the world that femininity is just something that happens to women. And that criticizing femininity is akin to criticizing women.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • The oppressive nature of femininity goes much deeper than merely involving extra work. The content of femininity and masculinity quite clearly reflect the psychology of power and powerlessness. Thus, femininity is inherently political: there is no non-political version of femininity that women can resort to in an egalitarian society (and there is no need for it, unless we assume men and women have different requirements for happiness and freedom).

  • Michael H.A. Biggs

    I find the way that you explain social construction makes sense to me, and feels liberating (ie for men as well as women, and probably lots of other social construction). Nowadays, sensible biologists debating the nature/nurture debate seem to have given up the polar “either/or”, but they explore the deep interweaving of genes, hormones and experience from the moment of conception, so that seperating out whether something is natural or social is a false dichotomy – everything is both.

    I think that often (not always) parents of young children can often be surprised by how strongly gendered behaviour comes through in young children’s behaviour, in ways that doesn’t seem to be adequately explained by their experience of socialization. On the other hand, some gendered behaviour in teenagers is considerably different now to previous generations, which demonstrates the power of social messages.

    A seperate point: from your blog led I discovered some seperatist blogs, and as you would expect, I found their value systems and attitudes to other humans just as repulsively hateful as many other political extremes. But your item on the performance of femininity explores the complexities of the creation of gender stereotypes in a way that seems realistic, and even a bit optimistic, if you think of our potential as a species to nurture our children in different ways over the generations.

    • jean

      Obviously you have not seen some parents cooing to their babies about how big and strong or pretty and tiny they are, watched them dressed in overalls or dresses, given gender-defined toys, nurseries done up in gender-coded colours, or seen toddlers watch cartoons, TV programs, and videos or listen to nursery tales, songs and absorb language as they listen to exchanges saturated with gendered values. Not sure that can be defined as socialization inadequate to explain gendered behaviour.

      • KK

        Yes to all of that! Children are so much more aware of social messages from ALL areas of their envirinment than people give them credit for. Including how the men and women, other boys and girls, behave and dress.

    • How dare those seperatists want to seperate from men! Don’t they realize it makes men sad?

      But don’t worry, Meghan, YOUR blog isn’t like those bad “extremist” women. Your blog is OK. A man says so!

      Nice try with the “pitting women against each other” tactic, dude.

  • Thanks for a thoughtful post on the performance of gender. I’m with you on the all-too-harmful effects of stilettos and breast implants, though it raises a question for me and I’m curious to hear what you think.

    If stilettos and implants are “extreme performances” of femininity, and eyeliner is not, what criteria do you use (you personally, rather than the more general “you”) to decide what is extreme and what isn’t? I get that if something is dangerous or causes pain, that’s one criteria, but can you unpack that a bit more? Some things cause short-term pain, such as piercings or waxing hair (though, of course, they also have some risk of infection, etc.) Some things don’t always cause pain in the short term, like high heels, but can cause damage to the joints that leads to long-term pain. So I’m wondering how you decide for yourself which aspects of the performance of femininity you will employ.

    • Obviously, I can’t speak for Meghan, but I don’t think logic really factors into these decisions. While it’s possible to “get away with” not wearing stilettos or having breast implants, makeup is a very deeply ingrained expectation that has been built over centuries. In the interest of full disclosure, I do wear makeup and various types of high heels. I do “enjoy” them, but I acknowledge that they’re basically tools of the patriarchy. I managed to avoid makeup for most of my childhood and early teens, but eventually I capitulated because…it felt like I didn’t really have a choice. (Of course I knew I COULD choose to not wear makeup, but there would be consequences and those consequences were too high a price to pay.*)

      Another factor is that it is easier to disconnect the harms makeup can cause (disease, cancer, etc.) because those harms are caused by multitudes of other things. It’s not so easy to disconnect joint pain from extensive stiletto use, on the other hand. Sometimes women have to adopt a false consciousness to get through the expectations placed on them.

      *That was also my first indication that “choice” in feminist discourse is at best shallow, but usually a red herring.

    • Meghan Murphy

      @Charlie – I don’t really want to get into a conversation about my personal choices and drawing lines based on those personal choices. That said, I do think that, for example, stilettos are significant because they restrict freedom and movement and force women to be, literally, sexy objects (i.e. we can pose in stilettos but we can’t really move and they force us to pose in ways that make us into sexy objects to be admired). I also am critical of dangerous surgeries which make women look ‘sexy’ rather than feel ‘sexy, such as labiaplasty and breast implants. I would never argue that wearing makeup is awesome, but I do, and I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world either. The point of this piece is to say that these decisions are, in fact, not personal at all but rather decided by society/culture.

  • Great post, Megan. I believe the author of “My gender expression is about me, not anyone else” is a transwoman. I also believe that, as a general rule, trans feminists want to fight for their right to perform femininity because it is something that society denies them. Also, there is no way to know whether to trans women, “feminity” feels more like a rebellious act than to women born women.

    I do admire you for wearing eyeliner. I look much better with it, but I honestly cannot be arsed. Plus, every time I put it on I end up with red and sore eyes, for some reason.
    I actually feel bad about not performing feminity more. I see the women on the street dressed with the latest fashions and think “damn, why can’t I look like that?”. The answer is, of course, that I’m just too lazy. But it goes to show how even when you manage to escape the socialisation, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel guilty about it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      And I admire you for being too lazy. We should all be too lazy for eyeliner and the latest fashions 🙂

  • Lila

    I wish more men would wear eyeliner.

  • Patricia

    Really good discussion going on here! I don’t wear make-up, as I believe that I would be reinforcing the idea that women should conform to one particular ideal of attractiveness. For the same reason, I no longer wear tight dresses, or heels but (kinda regretfully) still wear fitted tops, have long hair and shave under my arms. One day I hope to have the confidence to go out in shorts with unshaven legs and say to the world ‘Look at me! I’m almost as hairy as my boyfriend and I don’t give a ****’

    Unfortunately I do give a … because I care about what other people will think of me. I care that people will judge me because I don’t look like the ‘feminine’, hairless, made-up girl, wearing revealing clothes designed to make heterosexual males want to a sex with me. It makes me sad that I’m not there yet. It also makes me sad that society makes it so difficult for me to get there – as NoSugarcoating said in a previous post, there are consequences to not conforming to society’s expectations in this way. Where’s the balance to be had between wanting to reject society’s ideal of femininity but not wanting to endure all the set-backs of being judged for your none-feminine appearance? Where Meghan’s line of acceptance is presumably eyeliner, mine at the moment is shaven underarms and figure-hugging t-shirts – for some reason I can’t let these go yet.

    But rather than accept that I will just have to keep hold of some of these ‘feminiities’ – even if I don’t really want to – I am determined to work on my own self-confidence, so that in an insane world where women are expected to wear to wear make-up, a skirt-suit and heels to look smart, at least I’ll be able to go outside looking however the hell I want and say ‘up yours, world, I’m happy!’. One day I’ll be completely comfortable and confident in baggy jeans and unshaven armpits, in the hopes that my (as yet, hypothetical!) daughter will look at me and know that she doesn’t have to look or act like the people on TV in order to get by in life and be happy.

    • Ingmar

      Hey I bet it is not terrible if you don’t look like what they expect you to look like, what can they do to you? If they react in a stupid way, you just have to laugh at how they are idiots and think all the same thing. You even have already a boyfriend, take the courage, nothing can happen to you, they realize how they are ridiculous minding someone else’s personal business like look, even if no male liked you with hair (not true, I’m not one of those :)) is it in any way their business? Do they feel bad for you, for your love, or is it the same with homeless? They judge them but are in no way concerned about their life. These people suck, you don’t have to earn their false smile or approval, you don’t want them as friend. You’ll answer at least they will respect me, afterall it is marketing, no it is not true respect, it is just their radar saying “everithing normal, nothing different or unusual detected”, respect is a different think, it is when one is judged for concrete transitive actions, it is a little complicated, but like being judged for how one makes one a favour, or spiritual aspect of his/her character, and they keep them selves neutral if there’s have no relationship. Do it you will be an example you have nothing to lose but superficial jerkasses, but over time even them will learn a good lesson.

    • I’ve discovered that spending more time around other feminists and in woman-only feminist spaces does a world of good in strengthening one’s sense of self.

  • Karin

    I am coming into this discussion late. Was talking with my 20 year old daughter who thinks gender is totally a societal designation and has little to do with reality and let it be. Coming out of the 60s and 70s I find it strange that I feel there are gender differences but that equality of opportunity needs to exist for all. My parents are not from the U.S. I was raised to think that I could do anything I wanted. However, now looking back, I was raised to think that female pursuits bordered on idiocy: playing house or playing with dolls, wearing nail polish and feminine clothes were all taboo. Parents were professors. So I have to overcome my gut level distaste of make up, stilettos, skin tight clothing or clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination, all cause me to inwardly cringe and I have to struggle to listen to the woman wearing them, struggle to take her seriously. I do not wear make up, high heels, tight clothes, or even slightly suggestive clothing. But, my orientation is heterosexual and I get pissed off that my lack of performance as you call it of being feminine puts me in a questionable category. I like to bake, play with children, am a teacher, love to read, and feel that most of the time, violence is counter productive, but every once in a while a punch may be necessary to protect someone or yourself. So. What is this talk about performing femininity? I don’t in some ways and feel very different. I do in some ways (being nurturing and playful and feel different from the career driven feminists of today. Maybe my daughter is right. I am who I am and let it be. Still, I wish my femininity weren’t so odd a performance.

  • Wendy

    Sheila Jeffreys’ Beauty and Misogyny blew my mind and wondered if I’d ever get out my front door if I reverted to my blotchy, undefined physog. Having managed it I’m enjoying it, why cant we undo our education in femininity? I’m all for wearing makeup as part of the human condition, but when I realised I felt like shit when I wasnt, then it had to stop.

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  • JJ

    Thank you for writing an easy-to-read and thought-provoking article.

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  • coming later here, but if anyone’s reading…I’d like to hear specifics about the price you pay for not performing femininity. I don’t perform femininity, and haven’t ever (almost – one day in my teens wearing make-up, a few years shaving my legs and plucking my eyebrows), and am unaware of any price I’ve paid. Maybe a lot of stuff in my life has been due to my legs? my eyebrows? my lips? as they are? Enlighten me.

    • Leo

      Hmm. I think it’s probably worse for younger women (26, here). I’d say it’s mostly been psychological in impact? Beauty standards are so focused on for women, and femininity even treated as part of a qualification for what a woman *is*, it is hard to just tune that out. Performing femininity is bound up with ideas of what it means to be attractive/pretty/hot (which is especially obvious when the LibFems protest that they just do it because they want to feel pretty, ‘for themselves’). So, don’t perform femininity, and it can impact on that, you don’t get that reassurance.

      It’s not been so bad, not performing femininity, but I’ve certainly caught flack for it from time to time. Mostly being pressured to wear make-up (people don’t usually notice I don’t shave, because I basically always wear jeans, though I have been pressured to occasionally – thanks mum for buying a razor for my birthday, making me feel inadequate and guilty for having my natural body hair), and occasionally, to wear dresses and more feminine clothes (thanks mum, again. She’s the biggest pain, she *doesn’t* perform femininity much, but somehow seems to think it’s fine to actively pressure me to, just because of what she wants from a daughter, I think). It’s frustrating, because I feel femininity performing women continue to create an artificially inflated beauty standard for women, that I cannot compete with, unless I give in and wear make-up. It’s not about wanting attention, to me, it’s just not wanting to be judged negatively, and knowing that how we look impacts women’s ability to have their opinions heard and taken seriously – ie. the classic dismissal of feminists as ‘ugly’ (though, actually, exaggerated femininity can have a negative effect on being taken seriously, too, which I haven’t seen discussed much). Though, I do also wonder if it does make a difference, to amount of attention received, because performing femininity is taken as a signal of desiring attention from men. So, if I wanted that, maybe it would be an issue? (I’d be interested to hear if women think that’s the case or not, it’s not as though I’d really know)

      It was kind of tough as a teenager especially, because I felt I stood out, especially when my friends and I went out anywhere together (at least I did have one non-femininity performing friend, to stick out with me. I know she felt awkward, too, but I think we both felt unable to really talk about it). I’m not one to fit in for the sake of it, but that didn’t mean I liked or felt comfortable not fitting in, and feeling so awkward did contribute to my self esteem, and body image issues (pretty severe, I couldn’t stand to even look in mirrors for years, hated absolutely everything about myself. I’m managing much better, but still cannot bear to be photographed). I felt like a failure as a girl, pretty much, that I’d have been better as a boy (and maybe there was somehow something wrong with me), because I just seemed no good at this ‘girly’ stuff, that other girls seemed to manage so effortlessly. Oh, and it drove me nuts and out of my mind with boredom, too. My friends practically overnight, it felt, became nearly impossible to have what I regarded as a sensible conversation with, unless I managed to get one on her own, it was all make-up, clothes, boys… Not buying into that, meant social exclusion to an extent, mostly not deliberate on their part, but through just not being able to join in. However, some of it was deliberate, I, and my similarly non-conforming friend, did get bullied by the most femininity conforming girl in the group (I incidentally really dislike how some feminists will insist we shouldn’t say girls are ‘catty’ – by all means blame the patriarchy for it, but they ARE).

      As far as how I felt about my appearance went, would I have felt better if I just gave in? (and yes, would I still?) Quite probably, yeah, but to me it’d have been a fake ‘better’. In retrospect, my friends were quite clearly doing it to feel better, when they’d continuously ask me how they looked, what did I think of this eyeshadow, and reapply their lip gloss so often they looked downright neurotic. There was nothing actually effortless about it at all, a lot of it really wasn’t very genuine (it was cliquey, showing off, acting what they understood as ‘grown up’), and it often wasn’t especially fun, not at first.

      I also find the comparisons with my femininity performing sister extremely difficult to handle – she gets praised for her looks, and assures me I could look nice if I’d just do as she does (she can’t understand why I’m so stubborn about it, and has often pestered me to just let her do my make-up and show me). I think she’d look better than me anyway, but, you know, I’ve seen her before and after, the considerable difference between her no make-up sweatpants look and her going out look, haha, so yeah, she probably has something of a point.

      There’s an impact as a disabled woman, too – I was insecure about my looks to start with even before the question of performing femininity came into it, because it means I basically fail the beauty mandates by default anyway. Not much I could have done about my spine, but my condition also happens to cause epicanthal folds, which I’ve received the odd negative comment on, and I can’t but be aware I could try to disguise them (with make-up, tape), and that large eyes are considered more feminine and attractive. Of course, Asian women also have this issue, to a far greater extent, due to beauty mandates centering whiteness (I’ve actually had people ask me if I’m part Asian a few times).

      Not performing femininity also seems to have contributed to me being frequently mistaken for up to 10 years younger than my actual age (which I hate, makes me feel like an awkward kid, and means I don’t get taken seriously). Last time I was complaining about this, I got the ‘helpful’ suggestion that I try wearing make-up. I tried looking up clothes for an older look recently, to see if that’d help, and found these suggestions:
      Yup, the ‘more mature’ look requires performing femininity more, surprise surprise.

      I quite consciously chose to perform femininity for a meeting with a psychologist, because they will tend to take it into account when judging women’s mental health. I’ve done it for job interviews, too, after several rejections where I got negative ‘you seem a bit young’ comments on my age (and yup, doing it did seem to make a positive difference).

      Well, you did ask for specifics. ; ) Hope my rambling on helped explain what it was/is like for me, at least. Obviously it’d be worse for some women, especially Butch lesbians, who often have to deal with more active hostility for not performing femininity.

    • C.K. Egbert

      Depends upon how well you’ve internalized gender norms, and the fact that most of this is so subtle that you might not be aware of it (e.g., implicit bias).

      Personally, my lack of performance of femininity makes it so that it’s difficult for me to get a romantic relationship. I also can’t help but be self-conscious about my appearance, and I can’t honestly say that getting wrinkles and gray hairs causes me no distress. Of course I get the general things from some people in my life: that I should do this or that, because how I look in my unaltered state is not attractive, that I should wear makeup or wear more revealing clothing, etc.

      But performance of femininity impacts me in another way: I tend to dress conservatively and for most of my life I wore very baggy clothing. Revealing my body makes me feel very vulnerable, and I get self-conscious about showing too much skin. In my field at least, women who are attractive get more harassment and are not taken as seriously (of course, being unattractive and too masculine people won’t like you either).

  • Leo, I think you wonder about an important thing: if we don’t perform femininity, we’re perceived as ugly, and not paid attention to/taken seriously; if we do, we’re perceived as ‘hot’, and not paid attention to (except as a sexual being) / taken seriously. either way– right, just read C.K.’s post!

    also, an interesting point about appearing younger when you don’t perform femininity – yeah, that’s been the story of my life too, and yet, ironically, most women at some point, pretty early actually i think, wear make-up not to seem older, but to seem younger.

    what a fucking mess. the shit ‘we’ get into when we obsess about physical appearance. shallow minds.

  • Cindi Gold

    You are *so right*!

    I created a recent blog with a lot of important psychological research studies by many psychologists from over several decades that has found really small average differences between the sexes,many which have gotten even smaller over decades,and mostly large individual people differences,and that the sexes are more alike than different in almost all of their psychological traits,abilities and behaviors with a large overlap between them. I also have research studies from last Fall by neuroscientist Dr.Lise Elliot and by other researchers she reported on,that debunks three areas of the brain that were claimed to be different between the sexes.

  • Cindi Gold

    Meghan, this a very true and great article like all of your articles.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Cindi!