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Pardon me, are you sufficiently feminine yet?

You know how there’s something of a tension in feminism between different attitudes to “femininity”? To put it crudely, one view is that it’s just a set of (implicit) rules that keep women feeble and silly, while the opposite view is that disparaging femininity is patriarchal because it just amounts to seeing anything female as worthy of disparagement.

What about that? I tend toward the first view, but I also suspect that means I’m an unreconstructed dinosaur beached on the second wave and incapable of learning better.

But, I think the words (and what they express) are stupid, both of them – masculine as well as feminine. They’re advertising language, for one thing – have this masculine cologne at $3700 the ounce, don’t you love these feminine shoes in which you can break your ankle so easily.

But I probably dislike the word “feminine” more. Well what does it mean? It doesn’t mean strong (in any sense) or independent or adventurous or brilliant. What does it mean? (It’s a silly word, for a silly idea.) Dainty, delicate, pretty, fluffy. Conforming to gender norms if you’re a woman, a disgrace if you’re a man.

I get the point, that disliking what the word names is too much like disliking the female, but I don’t really believe it. I guess that’s because to me it’s always meant a trap.

Maybe rather than worrying about how to think about “femininity” we should just ditch the whole concept as too stupid to bother with.

Or, we could Google and find that Life Site News has opinions on the subject.

ROME, March 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On March 11th, a few days before the papal election, one of the Catholic world’s most eminent philosophers, Alice Von Hildebrand, celebrated her 90thbirthday. Von Hildebrand taught philosophy at a private, secular college in the US for 37 years, but is today perhaps best known as one of the leading proponents of the “New Feminism” that was brought to the fore under the papacy of John Paul II.

New Feminism, promotes the concept of the natural biological and complementarity of men and women, and opposes the “gender” ideology – along with abortion, contraception and sterilisation – of Second and Third Wave academic feminism. It is this type of feminism that von Hildebrand identified in an extensive 2003 interview as “the worst attack on femininity that has ever taken place in the history of the world”.

Well there you go. If the papacy likes it, I don’t have to.

Secularist feminism, still very much in ascendancy in politics and academia, advocates competition between the sexes for jobs and social advancement, looks upon motherhood as an obstacle to self-fulfillment and insists as a central tenet, on legalised abortion and artificial contraception to allow women to compete in the marketplace with men. And crucially for the new pope, it identifies the Catholic Church and the papacy as among its greatest enemies. Before the crowds had left the Piazza on Wednesday night, the world’s media were already carrying demands from the proponents of the feminist-inspired Sexual Revolution that the new pope overturn the Catholic prohibitions against abortion, birth control and homosexual activity.

Dang, the author of this piece – Hilary White – sure has a hard time with commas. But my point is, this is who thinks “femininity” is a real thing, and important.

In the last 40 years, there has been much talk among Catholics of creating a new “Christian feminism” that would assert the equal dignity of man and woman while maintaining the existence of differences between the sexes and upholding the sanctity of life and marriage. Perhaps among the greatest contributors to this discussion has been Alice von Hildebrand, whose books include, The Privilege of Being a Woman (2002), Man and Woman: A Divine Invention (2010).

In the 2003 interview with Zenit, von Hildebrand described academic, Marxist-based feminism as a kind of “trap” producing little more than misery. She said that the unintended consequence of feminist thought was to convince women that it was bad to be women.

The “amazing thing” about feminism, she said, was that “instead of making women more profoundly aware of the beauty and dignity of their role as wives as mothers, and of the spiritual power that they can exercise over their husbands, convinced them that they, too, had to adopt a secularist mentality”. This mentality, that she describes as “utilitarian” holds that human value is derived only from work and external accomplishment.

Ah yes the beauty and dignity of their role as wives as mothers, and of not having the freedom to choose anything else, in addition or instead. That’s “femininity” – being happy to be secondary and dependent.

Women “let themselves become convinced that femininity meant weakness. They started to look down upon virtues – such as patience, selflessness, self-giving, tenderness – and aimed at becoming like men in all things,” von Hildebrand said. This, she said, sparked the “war” between the sexes that we are all still suffering from today.

“Those who fell into the traps of feminism,” she continued, “became blind to the fact that men and women, though equal in ontological dignity, were made different by God’s choice: Male and female he made them. Different and complementary.”

And yet! There is Alice Von Hildebrand, doing something other than being a wife and mother…writing books telling other women to settle down to being wives and mothers.

Asked how women can claim the benefits of their natural inclinations, von Hildebrand said that while from a “naturalistic point of view,” men are “more creative, more inventive and more productive” as engineers, architects, philosophers and theologians, from God’s point of view all these works are “dust and ashes compared to every act of virtue”.

Women, she said, are not called to be “productive” in this material way, but every woman, whether married or unmarried, is “called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother.”

“She knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”

It is to the lives and examples of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the woman saints that modern women can turn for guidance. These, she said, “teach us that an awareness and acceptance of one’s weakness, coupled with a boundless confidence in God’s love and power, grant these privileged souls a strength that is so great because it is supernatural.”

Fuck all that. Ima watch football and smoke cigars and throw sandwich crusts on the floor.

 

 

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    There is Alice Von Hildebrand, doing something other than being a wife and mother

    While Alice von Hildebrand was married to Dietrich von Hildebrand, they didn’t have any children.

  2. says

    Women, she said, are not called to be “productive” in this material way, but every woman, whether married or unmarried, is “called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother.”
    “She knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”

    I really hate the whole “women are so superior that they can’t be astronauts or leaders” ideology common to many religions.

    I’d settle for compassion, generosity, nurturing, and caregiving to be valued, right here on earth, in the eyes of actual living people, anywhere near as much as conquering nations and flying to the moon.

  3. Pteryxx says

    If it’s so intuitive, why have hundreds of years’ worth of tracts and policy been bent on enforcing it?

    The Salon article on witchcraft and women’s health care pointed to this the other day:

    The rise of Protestantism represented a revolutionary challenge to the church in many ways, not the least of which was in its redefinition of women’s roles. While Protestantism confirmed women’s individuality and autonomy in matters of faith, it also rapidly renewed focus on women’s domesticity and provoked debate about and rejection of the notion of women as leaders (during a time when Elizabeth I was Queen). In 1558, John Knox wrote “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women” to explain why the Bible made it clear women could not and should not lead. Fifty years later William Gouge’s popular “Of Domesticall Duties” detailed why wives should be subservient to their husbands and the father figure should be “a king in his owne household.”

    So absolutely nothing changed in some five hundred-ish years except some whitewashing about women’s dignity as a direct response to… feminism. Right.

  4. A. Noyd says

    In the last 40 years, there has been much talk among Catholics of creating a new “Christian feminism” that would assert the equal dignity of man and woman while

    …supplying zero actual dignity to the women.

    Women “let themselves become convinced that femininity meant weakness. They started to look down upon virtues – such as patience, selflessness, self-giving, tenderness – and aimed at becoming like men in all things,” von Hildebrand said.

    Well, no. It wasn’t feminists who decided that femininity meant weakness. Feminists realized that even if you call things like patience, selflessness and the like virtues, they’re not really virtues if society doesn’t treat them that way. What society actually does is use those qualities to undermine women. Those are the “virtues” of never asserting oneself. (They don’t necessarily have to be, but that would require a different society, like what the evil “secular feminists” are after.)

  5. Anna Y says

    The rejection of “femininity” as a prescription for what all women should be while attempting not to de-value traditionally “feminine” attributes creates a serious double bind. I hate it. I hate it all the more because I possess a lot of those traditionally “feminine” attributes: I’m not trying to, I’m not trying to play them up, but I do. I still don’t want to be used as an example of a “good” or “real” woman by assholes who think women should just be barefoot and pregnant (and silent) in the kitchen.

    This particularly sucks because of my career choices. I currently have a career in STEM. While it has given me a lot of financial security when I needed it most, and any sexism I have encountered in it has been so minor as to not rise above the general din of sexism everywhere… I hate it. I just don’t enjoy what I have to do every day. I can do it, I’m pretty good at it, but it takes everything I’ve got just to pay attention to what I’m supposed to be doing. So, I’ve decided (after long deliberation) that maybe I would better enjoy being a psychotherapist, and my natural empathy, warmth, and patience would come in handy in that occupation. I’m working on getting the right degree. And I’m really not eager to shout this from the rooftops…

    I don’t want to play to the stereotype. I don’t want to be held up as an example of the stubborn woman with something to prove getting into STEM and then quitting, because she just wasn’t fulfilled and needed a more properly nurturing career. My choices aren’t right for everyone else, and I wouldn’t have them used to take away the choices of others. I just want to do what makes sense for my life, and what makes me happy, without the stereotype threats attached.

    I want all women and all men to have the freedom to be themselves, whether or not they happen to possess the “right” traits for their gender. The only way to really have that would be to jettison gender roles wholesale. But how exactly can that be accomplished when the stereotypes are “baked in” in almost every cultural product, from toys to classic literature? And it’s not like it can even be done overnight. So what are people to do in the mean time?

  6. Jacob Schmidt says

    You know how there’s something of a tension in feminism between different attitudes to “femininity”? To put it crudely, one view is that it’s just a set of (implicit) rules that keep women feeble and silly, while the opposite view is that disparaging femininity is patriarchal because it just amounts to seeing anything female as worthy of disparagement.

    What about that? I tend toward the first view, but I also suspect that means I’m an unreconstructed dinosaur beached on the second wave and incapable of learning better.

    I never understood the friction here. It always seemed to me that the two groups were talking past each other. The former is attacking a set of rules, which is more than just the set things we call feminine. The latter is defending the femininity, which doesn’t need to have the rules obligations attached to it.

    To me, it’s the difference between “You shouldn’t do this,” and “You shouldn’t have to do this.”

    Of course, there are some things about femininity I see as inherently self destructive, like the ideas about “purity” and the rest. But those I label as bad because of the harm they cause or enable, not because it has the word female implicitly attached to it. Indeed, I want to remove that association, so I don’t see how this is a disparagement of women.

    looks upon motherhood as an obstacle to self-fulfillment

    This strikes me as deliberate obfuscation; Hanlon’s razor not withstanding, I find it hard to believe that the author has interpreted the dismantling of obligatory parenthood for women as an attack on parenthood altogether.

    That’s “femininity” – being happy to be secondary and dependent.

    Since friction within feminism is discussed, this seems relevant: much of the weakness of femininity is, I think, cultural. Raising kids is hard, especially if any of those children suffer any developmental problems. It does leave one financially dependent on one’s partner. I think it would be beneficial to stop viewing these things as weaknesses and to start viewing them as burdens. Much of it (high heels and other impractical clothing; parenthood; the standards of polite behaviour; etc.) does not indicate weakness of any sort, but they are limiting to one’s potential.

    They started to look down upon virtues – such as patience, selflessness, self-giving, tenderness – and aimed at becoming like men in all things,” von Hildebrand said. This, she said, sparked the “war” between the sexes that we are all still suffering from today.

    It’s amusing to note that the largest source of misandry is feminism’s critics.

    The problem, of course, is that all those things cease being virtues when applied to women. She’s not a virtuous woman to be patient and selfless; she’s merely a woman. Anything less, and she’s a lesser being; a deviant who won’t follow the obligations foisted on her. Men, on the other hand, aren’t expected to live up to this standard, and so aren’t punished for not doing so.

    What’s being looked down upon (and again, I suspect this is deliberate obfuscation) is the double standard in obligation, as well as the nature of the obligation itself. Honestly, nobody should be expected to be always patient, particularly in the face of malice and willful stupidity.

    for maternity implies suffering

    Pffftt, fuck that. What a stupid, self destructive notion.

  7. says

    I get the point, that disliking what the word names is too much like disliking the female, but I don’t really believe it. I guess that’s because to me it’s always meant a trap.

    That’s exactly what it is. It requires that you accept certain qualities as somehow inherently or essentially (more) female. If you don’t, the whole thing falls apart. I think “patience, selflessness, self-giving, tenderness,” nurturing, and caring are, in general, good qualities. I think being a great parent is wonderful and valuable (and seriously difficult work).I also think going to the moon and inventiveness are good. I don’t think competing for jobs or social advancement or conquering nations are positive. None of these assessments has anything to do with gender. Tenderness, for example, is a capacity that should be encouraged in everyone. There are no feminine or masculine qualities – just qualities.

    It’s interesting that Erich Fromm, who was highly sexist and believed in this “complementary”-qualities-and-roles bullshit, like many feminists promoted an ethic of love and care (and respect) generally, for everyone, based on fulfilling human needs. Whether he was wrong or right* has nothing to do with whether the qualities and concerns prescribed by the ethic are, in any given culture, stereotypically masculine or feminine. That’s just irrelevant.

    An important issue, though, is that many (not all) of the qualities praised in our patriarchal culture as masculine and encouraged in men are extremely harmful – to women, to men, to other living beings, to the environment. What’s key to remember when addressing this problem is that challenging the claim that these are virtues has nothing to do with attacking men or “feminizing” them or the culture, because the belief in this essential connection between qualities and sex is false.

    *He was right. :)

  8. says

    The problem, of course, is that all those things cease being virtues when applied to women. She’s not a virtuous woman to be patient and selfless; she’s merely a woman. Anything less, and she’s a lesser being; a deviant who won’t follow the obligations foisted on her. Men, on the other hand, aren’t expected to live up to this standard, and so aren’t punished for not doing so.

    Good point.

    BTW, did you see my long reply to David M.? The first part is actually also a reply to you (or clarification of my meaning in our exchange, which wasn’t, I admit, clear at the time).

  9. karmacat says

    When I was pregnant, I hoped I would have a girl. My sister-in-law, who has 2 boys and a girl, commented that the differences are really in the child’s personality rather than gender. (I am paraphrasing, but she said it better than I can remember.) So, I had a little boy and of course think he has the best personality in the world. He likes guns and tanks and airplanes, but he doesn’t like T rex because he eats other animals. In other words, he likes weapons and the military but doesn’t really like violence. He is only 6 so he doesn’t really understand abstract concepts like war and death.

    My point is that, that feminism should be about the individual. That it is the individual who decides how he or she wants to be without having to a culture’s idea of what is feminine and masculine. women can be warriors and men can be nurturers, but really men and women have both these characteristics within each individual.

    I work with patients with eating disorders and they are often trying to fit their body into something it can’t be. Therefore they are miserable. Trying to fit all women into a mold of femininity (whatever that is) and men into a mold of masculinity (whatever that is) just makes most people miserable.

    The people who view gender in black and white terms tend to view feminism as a win-lose situation. They think the more women progress into other careers and leadership positions, they think men are losing something. But people are much more complicated than these simplistic views of male and female

  10. A. Noyd says

    Jacob Schmidt (#8)

    She’s not a virtuous woman to be patient and selfless; she’s merely a woman. Anything less, and she’s a lesser being; a deviant who won’t follow the obligations foisted on her.

    Exactly. Although, since women are already lesser beings (“equal in ontological dignity” bullshit notwithstanding), a deviant woman is a less-than-lesser being.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Before the crowds had left the Piazza on Wednesday night, the world’s media were already carrying demands from the proponents of the feminist-inspired Sexual Revolution …

    Poor ol’ whatsisname never hardly got mentioned at all, pitiful thing.

    … the spiritual power that they can exercise over their husbands…

    Hallelujah, the Lord hath provided me with a veritable paragon of an example for the vacuity of the word “spiritual”.

    This mentality… holds that human value is derived only from work and external accomplishment.

    Von Hildebrand coulda built a worthwhile critique of corporate hierarchy & consumerism from this, but apparently earned more pre-beatification points from constructing that gigantic strawwoman.

    … writing books telling other women to settle down to being wives and mothers.

    If not for the need to consume and keep down dinner, I would go look up AVH’s opinions on Agnes Bojaxhiu.

  12. PatrickG says

    For what it’s worth, I (male) did the dishes and laundry* today while my partner (female) watched football.

    * To redeem my man-card, I did assemble a piece of furniture, as well.

  13. says

    So, I’ve decided (after long deliberation) that maybe I would better enjoy being a psychotherapist, and my natural empathy, warmth, and patience would come in handy in that occupation.

    That sounds great! Best of luck to you.

  14. iknklast says

    Anna Y @8: I was exactly the opposite. I was in a “nurturing, caring” profession, just chock full of women (social work). I hated every minute of it. I liked carrying a caseload and managing it efficiently; I enjoyed alphabetizing my files and keeping them organized, and keeping good numbers. I hated everything else. It didn’t seem like a good basis for a career. I decided to go into Biology, and I’ve been much happier. I love statistics; I hate heartwarming things.

    Therein is the stereotype busting. We are both women. By the paradigm of genders, we should both be interested in the same things: having lots of babies, cleaning dirty dishes, and having tasty food on the table for our mates when they enter the warm nest of the home from the jungle of the outside world every day. We can both break stereotypes by simply being what we want to be.

    And my husband cooked dinner, then sat down to watch football. Sounds like a confused individual to me…but he’s happy, I’m happy, so what’s all the shouting about?

  15. quixote says

    The curious thing about von Hildebrand and her ilk is that they feel our problems are due to not following the natural path laid down for people. But what about Poul Anderson’s insight that reality is what remains when you stop believing in it?

    If gender diffs are as natural as Hildebrand and co. think, then there’s nothing for them to worry about. They can stop writing turgid tomes, go out and play among the buttercups, and everything will work out just fine.

    If they don’t actually believe in these true natures, then they have to write the books.

    A funny knot in that self-hoisting petard.

  16. leni says

    Slaves, obey your masters.

    I think what’s so infuriating to me about this is the denial that other activities might make women happy. People have farmed for an awful long time. Do we expect every man to “naturally” want to be a farmer? Of course not, because that would be silly to expect every man to have the same aptitudes and desires. It’s not that they don’t think we’re people, but it really is obvious they don’t think women (or in Alice von Hildebrand’s case, other women) have the same range of complexity or desires as men.

    And what’s so inane about it is that these are the same arrogant, moralizing bastards who insist on the necessity of free will so that “God” may punish us eternally in hellfire with a clear conscious. So basically she’s arguing that her god gave us free will so that we may choose to behave the way “he” made us behave.

    There aren’t enough facepalms in the world.

  17. echidna says

    qixote:
    Poul Anderson? I thought it was Philip Dick (1978):

    One day a girl college student in Canada asked me to define reality for her, for a paper she was writing for her philosophy class. She wanted a one-sentence answer. I thought about it and finally said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” That’s all I could come up with. That was back in 1972. Since then I haven’t been able to define reality any more lucidly.

    http://deoxy.org/pkd_how2build.htm

  18. Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita says

    “She knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”

    Bolded for emphasis. I have never understood this obsession with suffering. It seems to be the singular feature that is part of the base every religion. Why do they always have this? What is so great about being in pain all the time? IMHO any god who lets too much suffering happen is either evil or incompetent.

  19. Hertta (Herttainen) says

    …on legalised abortion and artificial contraception to allow women to compete in the marketplace with men.

    That’s true. Those things give women choices they didn’t use to have. This “feminism” would make them illegal and disallow women to make some choices and force other choices on them. It’s almost spelled out there. They want to force motherhood on women. This kind of feminism seems to love the feminine but dislike women.

  20. Hertta (Herttainen) says

    Natalie Reed has written some interesting stuff about femininity.
    Mandated Femininity:

    While in some queer or feminist trans communities, spaces and dialogues, femininity has ceased to be considered a requisite aspect of a trans woman’s expression and presentation, and the dotey housewife image of what a proper trans woman is to be lingers mostly in older generations or transsexual separatist / HBS communities, for many more individuals, often living in isolation, one of the only ways to assert one’s womanhood and have it be perceived by others is through claiming totemic representations of it through that which is most aggressively culturally coded as feminine, girly, for her.

    The Artifice Of Femininity:

    In our present system of gender, when drawing the lines between femininity and masculinity, we’ve positioned the latter as being the natural, stripped down, down-to-earth, nice and simple, no-frills, no-frivolity concept. We like to imagine that the masculine is just pragmatic and to the point, lacking in any unnecessary aesthetic considerations. We imagine it to be efficient and direct. Conversely, the feminine is believed to be artifice, an elaborate costume, all just poses and aesthetics and frivolous dalliance, wholly lacking in any pragmatic value. It’s an ornament, rather than a tool, and is anything but direct, instead regarded as endlessly complex, subtle, mysterious and intuitive. Full of uncanny, inscrutable excesses like feelings and beauty and style. The feminine is fey, precious, wild, unknowable. The masculine is rational, basic, objective, and ever so apparent.

    I can, as a cis woman, easily choose not to be particularly feminine. So what makes a woman? Natalie is a woman, my gay friend with her short hair and a motorcycle is a woman, Angelina Jolie has a double mastectomy and is no less a woman. My gender is the first thing my parents learned about me and it is the most consequential box of all the boxes I’m put in. And all it says about me is that I’m perhaps more likely to possess some attributes and less likely to possess others that the folks in the other box. It’s strange.

  21. angharad says

    I don’t know that there’s a lot of dignity in motherhood. There is an awful lot of shit and heavy lifting (your standard toddler weighs in around 20kgs). It’s hardly ‘feminine’ at all.

  22. Ysanne says

    How cute.

    Women, she said, are not called to be “productive” in this material way, but every woman, whether married or unmarried, is “called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother.”
    “She knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”

    So if women compensate for being inferior at “naturalistic” stuff (a claim I’d strongly disagree with after my fixing-technical-stuff-around-the-house marathon the last two days) by being sooo much more competent than men at all the spiritual business in life, shouldn’t they be the ones running the show in church?
    Oh wait. That’d contradict basic tenets of Catholicism even more than women holding any worldly power…

  23. Ysanne says

    @Arawhon #23,
    one of the central aspects of religion is to make the less nice but hard to change aspects of human life, aka suffering, more bearable by giving it some deeper meaning and hoping for some potential reward later on. This would make suffering and how to pretend it’s actually a good thing a natural focus for a religion.

  24. opposablethumbs says

    What utterly vile, sadistic crap. Oh yes, of course, “real” women’s liberation means … all women fitting into the mould of suffering motherhood (WTF?!?!?) while society goes right on pretending that all men have to fit the mould of aggressive egocentricity, and glorifies and rewards the latter. I wish I had the eloquence to express how deeply wrong, cruel and destructive this is – to women, mainly, but also to men and the environment. Patience and nurturing are good qualities for anyone to have. Exploration and construction are good activity-skills for anyone to have. Why the everloving fuck do people like this idiot want so badly to insist that women and men simply must be confined to one artificially segregated set of traits or another? What the fuck is wrong with human beings all having the same crack at the greatest range of opportunity?

    In a nutshell – what Salty Current said.

    (Can’t find the cartoon on google right now, but maybe people remember the poster “if I get my feminine instincts naturally, I’m not having you telling me how to be a woman”.)

  25. paulhavlak says

    My difficulty with femininity is assuming there’s only one style of such, or that it’s only accessible to women. Even among lesbians there’s butch, femme, and many other ways of being sexy; and so-called effeminate guys are considered quite attractive by some straight women as well as not all gay men.

    So, asking whether someone’s sufficiently feminine is like judging them on having enough melanin (things they can’t completely control) or on wearing the most fashionable designer labels (which they can control, given $$$), but not on any deeper quality or ability to find lovers and community who appreciate them for who they are.

    There’s no accounting for taste, and there shouldn’t be.

  26. Doubting Thomas says

    I ( a male) am struggling with how to say this. I whole heartedly support the idea of gender equality and freedom to be one’s self without requirements to be feminine or masculine in traditional ways. I would never tell a person, you should act this way or that way based on their biological sex.

    On the other hand while I hate football and have no liking for overly macho men, I am aesthetically more attracted to women who express the feminine in their physical appearance. That said, subservient, dependent, “weak”, women are a turn off to me. I prefer to interact with strong assertive intelligent women.

    To be sure, I don’t believe I discriminate against women who don’t follow traditional feminine modes of dress and appearance, unless they go overboard and try to emulate the worst characteristics of “manly” men.

    There is a difference between what I find interesting and attractive personally and what I would demand of every woman, which is nothing.

  27. cactuswren says

    angharad @26: Men are the stronger sex. Right up until they have to deal with blood, throwup, runny noses, or anything that is or should be contained in a diaper. That is Women’s Work, and no Ph.D will save her from it.

  28. Juliana Ewing says

    I tend to go into Sojourner Truth mode (“ain’t I a woman?”) when definitions of the “feminine” come up. I consider myself as much of a woman as any other, ergo what I do is as good an example of the feminine as anything else.

  29. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I think a big problem is the confusion of feminism, which is about the end of oppression toward women with individualism. So some women get really asinine and defensive about their individual choices, and others get really smug about theirs, and in both cases, internalized misogyny shows up a lot. And it’s tedious as hell.

    Also this: http://friendlyangryfeminist.tumblr.com/post/65704219407/anti-feminists-love-to-say-feminists-are-hairy

  30. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I mean, I am not a woman, but I do love makeup. And ID as femme. But I’m not gonna pretend that there’s nothing at all problematic about the Beauty Industrial Complex, either!

    I do find it awfully interesting that for all that archetypal straight white cis femininity is supposed to be “natural” to the religious right, it’s so in danger and needs constant propping up. It’s not natural if you have to prune it like a bonsai!

  31. says

    I want femininity and masculinity to die in a fire.
    The very concepts are nothing but useless and oppressive and plain bullshit.
    I want people to be able to find what they like and do what they like and look how they like and not having to give a fuck about whether that is perceived as belonging to the other gender.
    You want fucking nurturing? Go hand my husband a baby. He also works in STEM, has long hair and cannot park a car.
    You want that wardrobe or tent to put up? Ask me. I’m also responsible for cooking, sewing, embroidery, literature, linguistics and shouting commands from the top of my voice. I can also park a car.

  32. rnilsson says

    Also, quite a lot was heard as early as 1963 (though not as much as was eavesdropped in 2013) such as Tom Lehrer’s vinyl LP album “That was the year that was”, containing such evergreens as “Who’s next?”, “The Vatican Rag” or “New Math”, which are still pretty much up to date à jour today, now. Again. But the eulogy over Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel is a timeless gem. They won’t make’m like that anymore. (And they won’t have to, because they are committed to memory, muahahah!) Although Roy Zimmerman picks up the gauntlet with only six strings instead of 88, so perhaps there is still hope?

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