Reclaiming femininity, crippling feminism


It gets lonesome being a feminist in America today, if you do not bow nightly before a shrine to Beyoncé, if you can’t accept pornography or the prostitution of women as harmless fun for the whole family, and especially if you’re so gauche as to conceptualize “femininity” in terms of inequality rather than identity. No one will save you a seat at the Feminist Manicure Jamboree; you’ll just have to go home and brood over strategies for taking down the patriarchy on your own, like every other night. Meanwhile, Cool Girl Feminists have important work to do: it’s called “empowerment,” and tonight they’ll be asserting their agency by giving one another bikini waxes.

Another way the unfeminine feminist-in-exile could pass her long evenings at home with the cats might be to settle in for a documentary or two about the olden days of the second wave, when feminists came to recognize and resent “femininity” as a contrivance of traits and behaviours imposed upon women by male supremacist culture. Somehow, in those dark days, feminists considered femininity a patriarchal tool which served to convert females into sex objects and domestic servants (imagine!). Platform heels, girdles, and pandering to conventions of fuckability were out, so too the proclivity for wilting delicately in polite silence. Women in the second wave considered ditching femininity key in charting the course to women’s liberation.

Fast-forward to the so-called feminism of today, which does not concern itself so much with women’s liberation as did the feminism of females now too old to take seriously. We’ve worked out a thrilling new spin on femininity: Today, critical analysis of femininity is derided as simple-minded or trivial — “basic.” It is more complex (and more fun, duh) to do what men wanted us to do all along.

Contemporary feminism revolves around reclaiming femininity, particularly those super, extra fun self-objectifying bits, like the terms “slut” and “bitch” and the ability to walk about in six-inch heels. If men want to show their solidarity with women, they, too, can try out traipsing in heels, in order to experience the full, lived reality of being female in a patriarchy. Even taking a selfie is now a feminist act! By restabilizing “femininity” as the center of “female identity” — what it is to be a female — women’s solidarity has mutated into proud, public displays of allegiance to the symbols and mechanisms of female oppression.

The theory underlying the reclamation of femininity proposes that the crux of women’s oppression has little to do with male-supremacist hatred of females per se. Actually, contemporary feminists argue, hatred of females is merely the product of a vast cultural conspiracy to suppress femininity. It is femininity that is oppressed, not females. Females are simply targeted more often for oppression because their essence tends to be more feminine.

Call me hopelessly pragmatic, but for those of us still interested in liberation, this is a tough pill to swallow. To be “female” means different things in different cultural and situational contexts, with one of the few consistencies being that if you’ve got a vagina, you’re more likely to be subject to men’s sexual violence, to be poor, and to be bought and sold as a commodity to people whose desire is to debase you.

The “Free Femininity!” corps argue, conversely, that we live in a society that loathes the feminine, which is, of course, nothing more than a collection of neutral, apolitical traits some humans (usually females) happen to have. So, persons with feminine characteristics (mostly females) have been led to internalize the permeating anti-femininity attitude and hate their own native femininity. These feminine people (let’s call them “women”), then, commence to hate themselves. This is, apparently, a core problem for femininity-filled persons in the world today.

So, the contemporary feminist solution — and a necessary focus of our solidarity efforts — is to uplift femininity. Go ahead. Develop a feminist beauty routine! Max out your credit cards on a feminist lingerie shopping spree! Support your friend by telling her how sexy she’s looking tonight. Maybe even surprise her with a catcall if you drive past her on the street!

The fatal flaw of this femininity-centric approach to solidarity is that it is not true that patriarchy’s objective in oppressing women is to squelch our “femininity,” as if men in power just can’t stand the colour pink or reruns of Sex and the City. Patriarchy does not, in fact, inhibit females from blossoming into the full glamour of their femininity; femininity is not verboten and it is no one’s “essence” — for women femininity is mandated, and then it is punished.

The reason that femininity is held in contempt is because it was engineered to make females seem contemptible, justifying male dominance. As Sheila Jeffreys said, “femininity is the behavior of female subordination,” and it is impossible to be both subordinate and in power simultaneously. When we embrace femininity, we play with sexist stereotypes — only this time, it’s for ourselves! By embracing femininity we affirm the concept of gender polarity, that fiction Andrea Dworkin named the root cause of sexual oppression. And so we sabotage ourselves.

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When women celebrate femininity, feminists suffer two fatal losses: First, we forego getting to know one another as women by keeping the costume of femininity tightly stitched into our skin. Second, we glorify (and reinforce) the social architectures that constrain women to cycles of self-loathing, shame, violence, and dependency. To “empower femininity” does not subvert men’s power to colonize women, psychically and physically. It is a celebration of patriarchy’s success in defining what women are, what women can be, and how women can exist in this world.

While being a feminist does not necessarily preclude wearing eyeliner or lace or even dipping your whole goddamn head in pink glitter, cuddling up to femininity as if it were a special treasure to prize and preserve is counter to the goals of feminism.

Marilyn Frye wrote: “One needs space to practice an erect posture; one cannot just will it to happen. To retrain one’s body one needs physical freedom from what are physical forces misshaping it to the contours of the subordinate.” If we continue to celebrate femininity, we will remain bound — decoratively stooping, in the cage, daubing on lip gloss, taking a selfie. In solidarity with femininity, we stand with the oppressor. Or, more precisely, we’re sitting at his feet.

Aurora Linnea is a writer, artist, and reclusive dog lover adrift in the American South. She is responsible for the chapbook This Mutilated Woman’s Head, among other works of feminist dissidence. 

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  • Sally Hansen

    Thank you for so eloquently breaking down what femininity really means. It is not a biological inevitability to be celebrated (and why should we celebrate biological inevitabilities anyway?) but rather an expression of the oppression of females. We are not somehow “naturally” weaker, more submissive, more fearful, more pretty, more dainty, more silent. We are MADE and ENCOURAGED to be so by those who benefit from our exploitation, we’re damned if we do-damned if we don’t. To be feminine is to be punished for being female, yet simultaneously celebrated for acquiescing to our own destruction. These people are deluded. They just need to stop calling themselves feminists, period.

    • oneclickboedicea

      Totally agree, if femininity was natural, women wouldnt need to shave, pluck and titter politely every time a penised one spoke. Celebrating femininity is like black people putting on blackface in order to be appropriately ‘black’. Fuck this shit.

  • Well, now, when I think of femininity and reclaiming femininity, I think of good old fashioned values like empathy and inclusion. I think of women standing up for people who are more vulnerable. I think of Carol Gilligan’s “different voice”. I *don’t* think of nouveau white trash dress codes. (oooh, classist!)

    I think of things like women’s shelters and rape crisis centers and women activists standing up for people who have been othered. I also think of how women tend to make better managers than men do. To me, the second wave showed just how valuable traditional feminine values are.

    You could argue that men can be empathic and inclusive, too, and if they met traditional feminine standards, there’d be no reason to use the word feminine at all. I’m not a history buff, so I could be wrong, but I really don’t see a long-standing tradition of men acting the way women do when women finally have enough money to make a difference. I realize that the Victorians exaggerated things, but haven’t women always been the group primarily responsible for nurturing vulnerable people? And doesn’t that matter?

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t want to live in a world where women are expected to act and dress like men. Not the way men are now. I’m equally uninterested in slutting myself up to make men happy. I would like to see all those sex positive liberal feminists show some empathy to all the people in the sex trade who are getting hurt, and all the people who are being harmed by porn. I’d also like to see them talk more about being environmentally responsible (is all that consumerism a good thing?) while they have their fun. And a whole bunch of other stuff. (To be fair, a lot of women do care about a lot of things – I’d just like to see it celebrated as women’s work if that’s what it is.)

    I guess instead of rejecting femininity, I want to argue about what it is. Or maybe we’re arguing about male versus female definitions of feminine?

    • Meghan Murphy

      Being nurturing and caring shouldn’t be a ‘feminine’ value, though. That should be a value all people living in a society should have. It’s not that all values our culture sees as ‘feminine’ are necessarily bad, it’s that femininity and masculinity are invented and maintained in order to reinforce a gendered hierarchy and it’s that people born either male or female are socialized into this hierarchy based on said characteristics/behaviours. Femininity is, also, learned subordinate behaviour and masculinity is learned dominant behaviour. Neither are ‘good’, which is not the same as saying that all characteristics ascribed to either men or women are necessarily ‘bad’.

      • Sally Hansen

        Exactly. It’s all these features in conjunction and the web of exploitation that they create that are the issue. Men should definitely be expected to exhibit empathy and practice empathy, no doubt, but that is a human feature, not something inherently feminine. Obviously, some men have learned these qualities just as easily as women, so to say they are strictly feminine is silly. That’s the lie of patriarchy, that these things strictly belong to one specific sex or mostly to one sex, when they don’t.

      • Alison Jones

        “Being nurturing and caring shouldn’t be a ‘feminine’ value, though.”

        It *should’t* be… but those values have long been attributed to women under patriarchal societal viewpoint. And while I cannot make any person/man be more nurturing and caring, I can exempt myself from needing to meet patriarchy’s expectations of me.

        I can still be nurturing and caring, just only to those who will give that same quality BACK to me… so that I am not seen/expected to be sole provider of these things. Obviously if you have a child or elder parent, someone who you wish to give your time and energy to w/o expectation of return, that’s different.

        And funny… I NEVER learned subordinate behavior. I don’t think it comes naturally to any person. I’m feminine af, but I am not anyone’s subordinate.

        I think the answer lies in allowing space for Everyone within Feminism, the movement, to be who they need to be, be where they are, no matter how their ideas of feminism manifest themselves.

        Get on board the “I do my feminism, you do yours” train… it’s going to a good place. Cheers.

        • Meghan Murphy

          What is it you mean when you say you are “feminine af”? And why is it you think you have been exempted from the socialization all women under patriarchy are subject to?

          w/r/t “Get on board the ‘I do my feminism, you do yours’ train,” that may sound very nice and all but feminism, is, in fact, a real thing, not just whatever anyone says it is at any given moment. It is a political movement towards the end of patriarchy and male violence against women. (See #2:

          • Alison Jones

            This link isn’t working

            I think I understand the difference of values now. And thank you for assisting with that. I fundamentally disagree with what you’re basing feminism on. What would be helpful is if you did give me direction as to where your working definition came from… which seems to be what you were attempting, but unfortunately that link isn’t working.

            Regardless, the divide doesn’t seem to be something we could bridge. Sincerely thanks for your time.

          • Meghan Murphy

            The definition of feminism I use is based on my understanding of and participation in the global feminist movement and my and my sister’s efforts to end patriarchal oppression and violence against women. Liberals want vague “equality,” we want real change.

  • OldPolarBear

    It would be like saying workers are “empowered” and “making a choice” to sell their labor to the lowest bidder.

    This is a really very good analogy, and in fact, the conservatives (patriarchy) DO say this! Usually it is not as directly and explicitly stated as you just put it, but implied. One of their favorite arguments against unions is that a union interferes with the individual worker’s “right” to negotiate his or her own contract with the employer. As if individuals acting alone had any such power. And likewise, the “right to choose” high heels, expensive makeup, etc. is framed as empowering.

  • Alison Jones

    >>>Seriously, mods? You are not my people, clearly…

    Sorry. I have extremely limited time, so I’m almost always rushing whenever I comment online. I simply don’t have time to make the most well-worded and well-thought out comments… but I do have decades of experience living in an extremely feminine body and being a feminist…

    I think we are mostly saying the same thing — that feminism is a movement about equality. But “femininity” is not related to feminism. This is my entire point. “Reclaiming femininity” is a personal concept… I tried to make a point that Feminism (the concept) doesn’t change, but one’s personal experience with femininity will almost certainly change over time in your life.

    “The “Free Femininity!” corps argue, conversely, that we live in a society that loathes the feminine, which is, of course, nothing more than a collection of neutral, apolitical traits some humans (usually females) happen to have. So, persons with feminine characteristics (mostly females) have been led to internalize the permeating anti-femininity attitude and hate their own native femininity. These feminine people (let’s call them “women”), then, commence to hate themselves. This is, apparently, a core problem for femininity-filled persons in the world today.”

    Whatever is this writer babbling about? There is nothing about femininity that is oppressed. I’d say it’s celebrated. As a generality, men desire women who are “pretty,” “petite,” “kind,” “sweet,” and a bunch of other qualities we can attribute to being “feminine.”

    I love being a girly-girl. I’m all woman, all the time. I LOVE being a woman and wouldn’t trade it for having the biggest schlong, the most money, and the most power of all men in the world.

    I also won’t put up with anyone who attempts to treat me as 2nd class because I’m a woman. They are 2 entirely separate concepts and it’s obviously gone way over my head why someone would attempt to conflate them.

    I’ll leave it that. Cheers.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “Seriously, mods” what? What is the issue, Allison?

      “I think we are mostly saying the same thing — that feminism is a movement about equality.”
      Well, no, we are not saying the same thing. Feminism is not a “movement about equality,” it is a movement to liberate women from patriarchy and end male violence against women.

      You ask what the very articulate and intelligent writer is “babbling about,” yet you’ve just stated “I love being a girly-girl” as though that means something and have claimed that femininity has nothing to do with patriarchy and the gender hierarchy. “Loving being a woman” has nothing to do with what you call “being a girly-girl” (whatever that is) — that is the point. Woman are not dresses or heels or makeup.

      I’m afraid I’m still lost as to what your point is but I wonder, do you believe patriarchy exists?

      • Alison Jones

        My issue is mostly impatience because I have little time… which is my issue, clearly. I don’t know why my comments don’t post immediately. Do you moderate every single comment? That would explain it.

        Yes, I know that patriarchy exists.

        “it is a movement to liberate women from patriarchy and end male violence against women.” — May I ask where you got that definition from? That is not the standard definition per every dictionary in the world.

        Feminism is a movement for gender equality — that’s my rewording of the factual definition, which is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” I condense that to “gender equality,” because that is the core value. Nowhere in that definition is the idea of patriarchy, or liberating women from it, or ending male perpetrated violence against women.

        I didn’t find that the writer is articulate and intelligent… which I freely admit is my opinion, and apparently it’s a rare one… and this is why I’m intrigued. Am I missing something? I think it’s possible I am.

        Femininity is personal expression, and all genders partake to varying degrees. This is not related to feminism in any way. Why someone would attempt to conflate them, or to assign some significance to femininity as it relates to feminism (because it ISN’T related) is why I’m confused.

        Thank you for tolerating me. I hope to learn something.

        • Meghan Murphy

          All comments are moderated, yes. It is a very time-consuming job. But can you imagine the insanity that ensue if they were not?

  • Jude

    Exactly. To celebrate any choice anyone makes is to celebrate unconsciousness — and I don’t mean that in a spiritual, new-agey way; what I mean is that people do a lot of unconscious things due to socialization, family of origin, childhood experiences, societal norms, etc. I don’t celebrate people living in a way that is lacking in truth, even when I understand why they do it. Not celebrating, not agreeing, or even asking questions, is not the same thing as handing down some kind of moral judgment from on high.

    • Hannah

      I keep thinking society is getting more and more barbaric…nobody seems to know how to think critically.

      • Rachel

        I totally agree Hannah. Although I love the Internet and it’s literally saved me from going over the brink of insanity at times, I think it is partly to blame for that. Information is constant and accessible everywhere and quickly. Problem is, there’s a lot of idiots that write “truths” and label it with a “professional” title, and so viola! You have billions of people quoting the same rubbish because it came from a “professional” horses mouth. On a smaller scale, I remember I was about 18 when the “men are from Mars and women from Venus” book came out by allen and Barbara pease. It used to make me feel physically ill how many people were reading this as gospel because those writers had degrees in psychology. Ridiculous.

        I agree too, that it is hard to throw away all socialisation over night and take a stand by wearing makeup etc. I’ve recently stopped wearing heels (though quite unconscious). I see the young women at work parading around as if it gives them
        Power, and almost looking down on those of us who don’t wear them, and it used to make me second guess myself. However I feel better about my choice and therefore it affects me less now. Now to work on the makeup! I agree that at lest exploring the issues with choices rather than touting them as free choice.

  • Jude

    Women have more pain tolerance, on average, and are better at endurance sports, on average, than men. Men are therefore weaker. SEE???

  • Jude

    It’s not just socialization, but the “breeding” for traits that result. So if men fetishize childlike, “feminine” features, they are more likely to be passed along. IIRC, studies have shown that the women of our distant ancestors were more “amazonian”.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      No, this is not how evolution works. Traits aren’t bred out due to what arouses men (or women). That is some evo-psych BS. Traits are bred out if they cause death, preventing people with that trait from surviving long enough to successfully procreate.

      • Jude

        You might be right. I am thinking of something from a legitimate source, though (I swear!). It might be limited to height? But it’s something about how the size/strength of women in relation to men has changed over time. Maybe it has something to do with change in breeding habits/survival due to the introduction of agriculture?

  • Jude

    There is definitely a certain subsect of liberal feminist that wants to designate, I mean, “celebrate” other women as the “whores”.

    • Sine FourEx

      Yesterday, I read an article that interviewed a self-described sex worker. She said she hung around with a sex-positive crowd that was very liberal, pro sex-work, empowerment, etc.

      Later, she started to engage in prostitution herself BUT she would never tell her pro sex-work friends and still hasn’t. She knows that she would become one of those “other” women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Socialized femininity has nothing do with our fight to end the oppression of women?? Ok…

  • Jude

    Why do you hope other women, other feminists, are feminine? Do you tell men you hope they are feminine, because you think the traits you associate with the word are good things for humans to have? Or is it a special subset of traits and behaviors you believe are for women, or are inherently (biologically?) female things?

    • Alison Jones

      No. I said “I’m as feminine (“or not as feminine” is implied) as I want to be. I hope you are, too.” I’m implying that expressing femininity is a personal choice for each to make. I don’t believe they’re entirely biological traits. I do believe they are socially cultivated to some degree. At the end of it all, I think it’s a personal choice and has nothing to do with feminism.

      That’s all I meant… that expressions of femininity is personal preference.

      • Zuzanna Smith

        Feminism is a movement, it is not a “I choose this therefore feminism” that’s the difference. Feminists want all women to be able to live freely without fear of male violence, oppression, subjugation, threats etc. To be able to make a good living and a meaningful contribution to society. We could not care less how “feminine” you are or not, it’s really not important to feminism if you like short skirts or high heels. It is important if we are dismissed or looked down on for not wearing makeup or high heels. Is it a personal preference or is it a fear of not appealing to men or not meeting the standards of what a women should look like?

        I wear makeup at the office but I feel I have to. I sometimes wish to cut my hair short and stop wearing makeup and just wear jeans but I fear being scrutinized and looked at as if I did something so significant. Quitting performing femininity is like a political statement, it scares people because you have changed their perception of you, and it shouldn’t be like that. If your worth to others as well as your self worth is so bound up in your outward appearance and how accommodating or “nice” (read: quiet, self-effacing, background smiler,etc) you are, then where’s the equality? Men don’t act like that, they get to speak as loud as they want for as loud as they want and women don’t interrupt because it’s not feminine.

  • Rachel

    Excellent points. I never knew or thought of those things.

  • Tired feminist

    “The definition of feminism has long established — we don’t need a new one.”

    Yes, it has. However, it hasn’t been established by “every dictionary”. It has been established by our foremothers who correctly understood femininity to be the ritualization and glorification of female submission. Therefore, the path to female liberation necessarily implies the rejection of femininity. Of course it doesn’t mean we’ll all manage to get rid of all our feminine socialization. It does mean, however, that our feminine socialization is not to be celebrated as feminism, as it currently is by liberal feminism.

    I won’t argue further with you because I don’t like arguing with drunk people and because you sound quite a bit like a troll, but next time try to learn feminism from feminist literature, not from dictionaries.

  • Tangelo

    Lynn Hill. El Capitan. The Nose. It goes, boys.

    Climbing requires power, endurance, strength-to-weight, wing span, boldness, creativity, vision, mental discipline, and problem solving. All these things, at once. And women are crushing it.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    Women don’t compete to be as strong or stronger than men. Why are men the automatic gage of strength that women have to meet? Women have given birth to every human being ever, you’re welcome. Maybe we should gage strength and endurance by that. Are you as strong as a woman giving birth?

  • Zuzanna Smith

    I totally agree with you, I really hate and find disturbing the volleys of accolades for people like the famous sniper Chris Kyle who took out hundreds of people he sighted through his scope while actually so far away from them, how brave do you have to be to shoot unsuspecting people who can’t even protect themselves. Regardless whether they deserved it or not, this is not bravery in the slightest and the movies and books and awards for this very male of “accomplishments” is sickening to me.

  • Sally Hansen

    Exactly! I also hate the patriarchal lie that “parenting/motherhood is the hardest job on earth”. No it’s not. Is it inconvenient, often times annoying/irritating, limiting, does it kill your dreams (unless your dream is to be a parent)? Yep! Is it the most difficult? Nope. This implies that the most a woman is capable of doing is bearing and rearing children (which arguably is a pretty important job, but not the most important), when women are capable of so much more. It also defines femininity based on what one’s uterus is doing at any given moment, which we all know has been controlled by men since the beginning of patriarchy. So we’re told by men what to do with our uteruses, and then when they tell us to have babies, we’re also told that it’s the most praiseworthy and hardest thing we could ever do, so we better keep doing it because who else will! Yes, as Dworkin said, giving birth is the bravest physical act of courage. This does not mean that women’s lives need to be defined by this one act, though. We can redirect this strength toward other more important things.

  • Sally Hansen

    Men are not being abused as much as women because we live under patriarchy. Women are taught to be non-violent whereas men are taught to be extremely violent through their socialization. I mean, did you just totally ignore my previous comments that outline this pretty clearly? It seems you’re steadfast in just believing what you want to believe without actually analyzing your beliefs, in which case, I have no time for your BS. It’s good you’re asking questions, but honestly, your questions are more about you thinking you can lecture me on something you know absolutely nothing about that I know very much about. Get lost. No one is buying your tripe.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh. Is this the kind of very important, urgent comment you needed to post? Like, right away? Can’t wait? Sorry.

  • Alison Jones

    I get it. Silly me, going by the definition of feminism and not what some think it should be. Look, I’m aware of my naiveté here, but I also don’t see how a feminist group is ever going to successfully co-opt the word feminism to mean anything but something based on “social, political, economical equality of genders” because that’s the definition.

    And I would never fit into your group anyway because I love being feminine, and loving it doesn’t make me weak or less than. I do anything I want to do – I was an audio engineer, I was in the military, I play basketball, I ride a motorcycle, etc., etc… and I do it while being a feminine woman. Tell me that femininity is oppressive to me…? You can take a seat because I won’t listen to you anymore than I listened to society tell me who I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to like. My choice to be feminine is in no way oppressive. I see that others feel differently about femininity and I can respect that.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Femininity is oppressive because it is part of what creates/maintains the gender hierarchy. Whether you claim to “choose” it or not. Without the socialized roles of “masculinity” and “femininity” there would be no gender hierarchy. Gender is something men and women are forced into, through socialization. It isn’t really about how any of us “feel,” it just is.

  • northernTNT

    And yet, we no longer see fashion boycotts. We no longer speak out against the fashion industry as a whole, against the “Red Carpet” events. In my youth, I remember the big articles against beauty pageants… hardly any more of this, now it’s the “beauty pageant pays for school” excuse. arg.

  • Eesha Nini

    It is only the enforcement of femininity/masculinity that is a problem, rather than these concepts themselves. There’s nothing wrong for a woman or a man to feel comfortable in roles traditionally associated with their biological sex. It is only a problem when those who do not conform are marginalized, shamed, and mocked. Sure, wear sexy lingerie and twerk all you want, if that is what freedom means to you, but don’t denigrate those who aren’t interested in the same. Same goes for those who choose not to conform. Want to grow out your body hair? Good for you. But stop shoving your ideology down the throats of those who do not subscribe to the same.

    Teaching women to be ashamed of their femininity, and denigrating and debasing them for liking things which you have deemed “oppressive” is not helping anyone over here. Feminism is about granting people their individual freedom and voice. Not ordering them around the way you want to. That’s patriarchy.

    Call me a liberal feminist all you want. That’s exactly who I am, and very proud of it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      The concepts of femininity/masculinity are based in subordination/domination. This is the problem. And no, patriarchy is not ‘ordering women around,’ it’s a specific system of power that is based in a hierarchy that places men at the top and women at the bottom. In any case, no one here is ‘ordering anyone around’.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The solution is to abolish gender. Get rid of the idea of masculinity and femininity itself. That is a key goal of the feminist movement.

    • Mikerrr

      Any movement set out to “abolish” a biological fact and the manifestations thereof is doomed. Save your money and your time.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Gender isn’t a biological fact, genius. Sex is. Also, feminism doesn’t cost money. It is a political movement.

  • Evans Durandisse

    There are some good points in this article. But, I was wondering about the fact that a lot of gay men also possess or embrace those feminine traits. How does this criticism of femininity take that into consideration?

  • Francesco Barravecchia

    As a man, I strongly agree with this article. Rejecting femininity is the correlate of rejecting masculinity: they both work as sets of imperatives telling us what we should do, look, and be, no matter what our inclinations and desires are. It means also that we can embrace a trait or behaviour just because we choose, not because it is ‘masculine’ (for men) or ‘feminine’ (for women). The trap represented by a new idea of ‘femininity’ is that, no matter how ironic and playful it might be considered by a few, it will become soon mandatory and constrictive for many.

  • Meghan Murphy

    What are you talking about, re: all this ‘banning’? We are talking about getting rid of sexist ideas about men and women — what on earth are you so angry about?

  • marv

    It is not pertinent to look to biology for social roles and behaviours even if it plays a part. To be a liberated human is to resist cultural and natural inclinations that push us towards inequality. Social expectations arose out of class hierarchies that formed over time.

    Men and women as groups may have had equal strength long ago. Patriarchal power divisions developed nonetheless. Men exhibit classes among themselves too despite strength sameness and difference. Men control and kill nonhuman animals that are larger and stronger than men.

    You are asking the wrong question.

  • susannunes

    Yes, it does in part. Restrictive clothing plays a big part in the “feminine” sex stereotype. You are the one with the warped idea. I am likely older than you.

  • susannunes

    Sex roles are entirely socially imposed. They are not biological.

  • Noah

    I don’t think wearing pink or anything is what makes a person feminine. At least in my understanding femininity and masculinity are both totally made up concepts meant to push different genders into different roles. The ideal as I see it is that you can wear pink be a mom, and no one would assume that you are “some kind of blonde bimbo, trapped in the patriarchy”. Or that I (a man) could wear purple and not get “faggot” yelled at me on the street. I don’t think the classical associations of femininity and masculinity will ever be lost, so to truly obtain equality we as a society must move past these labels and just be people.

  • Danielle Matheson

    Yeah, no. You’re so off base and have no idea where the author is coming from. Femininity is a cage. Gender is a social construct that is a hierarchy. It is not an internal feeling. Oppression is due to SEX. Being female is a biological reality. Sex is not fluid. Educate yourself.

  • Danielle Matheson

    Well, she doesn’t stop someone from being wrong.

  • Danielle Matheson

    This is hilarious.

  • Danielle Matheson

    You sound like a petulant child. You can’t think past your own wants. You can’t see the bigger picture.