Who needs feminism when you have “femininity”?

Well, I might have missed it yesterday, but I did not miss it! That’s right, yesterday in 12 countries, it was World Femininity Day. 🙄

From the WFD website:

To acknowledge and celebrate femininity by women, for women, for humanity. We believe it is vitally important as women to be encouraged to feel powerful through our femininity as opposed to matching or competing with masculine ways of being to achieve power in our lives whether that be socially, in relationships, family or career.

We believe that the more women feel connected to and inspired by their femininity in all cultures across the world the harder it will be to exploit women. We are standing for a world where it is safe to be feminine.

We are saying YES to women worldwide feeling fabulous, being fully self expressed and loving their lives.

We are saying NO to the exploitation of women and children; this year’s event is about raising awareness of WFD. The 2012 event will be raising money for charities committed to ending exploitation of women and children across the world.

Ummmm, yeah, whatevs. It makes about as much sense as SlutWalk as a means to an end. In the words of the reigning Miss Branksome*

“I will roll over and accept that rather than telling men off for abusing women, we would be far better off if we deferred to them and made the effort to look pretty, demure and soft. Perhaps then they will be nicer to us.”

Such is the view of WFD, because that has so worked in the past as a strategy, and I guess the other assumption is that there was no rape or abuse of females before the 1950s, when women were demure and pretty, and knew their place, unlike the 1960s/70s when uppity women became ballbusting feminists and rejected “femininity” and therefore we now have all these problems like rape and violence directed at females primarily.

Except that rape and abuse of females did indeed pre-date the lovely feminine 1950s, so that bright-spark strategy has already been tried and failed. *The reigning Miss Branksome is none other than Ms Julie Bindel, who was pointing out the exact same thing. That shit don’t work. In fact, in the 1950s marital rape was legal, so if WFD want a return to the times of mandatory femininity, then I guess they want to repeal the marital rape laws as well?

The next bit of logic-fail going on with WFD is the concept of femininity – which cannot exist without its counterpart, masculinity. So if you want your “women to be women”, then you want your “men to be men”. And masculinity entails the domination and exploitation of those who are “feminine” (the role assigned to females). Whoops! So in embracing femininity, they are polarising gender roles to encourage the subordination of, and violence against, females – the stuff they say they want to end. A little like throwing kerosine on a fire in order to put it out. It ain’t gunna work. It will make it much worse.

Of course, this poses a bit of a dilemna for the libfems, those almost-feminists that only seem to get half the picture (or just see the bits they want to see). The libfems, with the UK stronghold known as The F-Word (known in these parts as The Tranz-Word), have, in a surprising twist, blogged against WFD and femininity imposed on females-only – yet still will accept males performing femininity and declaring them “women” too, just like FABs.

Now F-Word, either ‘femininity is a performance’ that females are forced to participate in and therefore unnatural, or it is a ‘natural expression of females’ and therefore males that express femininity are “really women” and should be accepted as ‘one of us’ (FABs). You cannot have it both ways. Because a transwoman (a male) not performing femininity is just … an adult human male, a MAN (the word for adult human male).

If you cannot get your head around that, visual example:

Male performing femininity:

Male not performing femininity:

Without the ‘femininity factor’ Dustin is just a dude. A man. An adult human male. Make sure you check out my other Tootsies of the Week for more examples of males performing femininity, and declaring themselves to be women.

      

I don’t approve of males performining femininity, just as I don’t approve of females performing femininity. It gets us nowhere except polarisation based on biological sex – highlighting the differences. And it’s a tool of the patriarchy, as well as a big capitalist waste of money spending dosh on all this crap – when females still only get 80 cents on the dollar compared to the male wage, and are overly represented in redundancies/budget cuts during this recession, as well as the age-old faux-redundancy when pregnant.

The bottom line, it costs money to perform this femininity crap. Yeah, maybe the M2Ts can afford all this shit because of their larger incomes and more protected careers – but by them participating in all this does not help FABs either, who are forced to continue to perform femininity because of it.

And libfems, if “anyone” can be “a woman” how on earth are you going to determine the discrimination against females as a concept? We are discriminated against from cradle-to-grave, because we are born female. If “anyone” can be included in that category, there goes the uniqueness of being female and the discrimination we face because of it.

Femininity: Just say NO.
Feminism: Just say YES.

28 thoughts on “Who needs feminism when you have “femininity”?

  1. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    It is rather ironic that the WFD procession goes from Nelson’s Column to the London Eye. Nelson’s Column is the UK version of the Washington Monument, uber-phallus. The London Eye (a trumped up ferris wheel) I guess is a womany (“feminine”) symbol, complete with pods representing lots and lots of baybees!
    Yep. Because in the WFD’s book, females are only put on this planet to look pretty and have lots of baybees…

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  2. KatieS

    Great post, FabLibber!

    I could not help but compare the photo you posted to the one on the home page of the Huffington post today with the title, “New York Says ‘I Do'” (legalizing same-sex marriage). It shows a crowd of people, mostly women, performing. . . the happy dance. Unlike the self-conscious poses of the women with the flowers in their hair that you posted above, these women in the NY photo do not have a lot of markers of feminity, except for a few earrings. Rainbow beads don’t count, of course.

    They do not look like they are uncomfortably posing. They look natural and very happy. One thing that struck me in seeing both photos this morning is that the “femininity” women are trying, at all costs, to avoid looking like lesbians, and they look stilted and like they are faking it. But the lesbians in the other photo look comfortable in their own skins and singularly unself-conscious. Now, I know some of the women in the photo may not be lesbians. However, if they are het women celebrating with the lesbians, they are not concerned with being mistaken for (gasp!) lesbians, or even (double gasp!) hairy lesbians. Lesbian or het, these women are not performing, instead they are, as Mary Daly would say, Be-ing.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ (this photo may change soon, I realize).

    It is interesting how self-conscious and uncomfortable Dustin Hoffman also looks when performing feminity. As an actor, he got that part right, too.

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  3. Sargasso Sea

    She’s baaack! 😛

    Good heavens, so many of the comments on Julie Bindel’s piece at the Guardian are both hilarious and pathetic. Like, *femininity is being a woman* and *masulinity and femininity are human traits*.

    *Feminism* hasn’t failed at all; the men couldn’t be happier.

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  4. ibleedpurple

    We are standing for a world where it is safe to be feminine.

    Totally. Non-feminine women never have any problems because of their lack of compliance with social norms. NEVER. *rolls eyes* I guess some of the aggravated and downright disgusted stares I get because of my unshaved legs are in my *imagination*. This and people actually not being able to greet me back after seeing my horrid horrid state of being (true story).

    What I always thought was tricky about femininity is that you are punished for not performing it and donning the feminine “get up” is a good way to keep conflict from coming your way. However, at the same time men, often the ones who would be cruel to you for failing to perform your gender role, will not take you seriously if you look all girly-girl. Respect seems to be earned by non-conforming, at least in my experience. This might partly explain why lesbians earn 6% more than straight women on average, imho (http://jezebel.com/5719826/whats-behind-the-lesbian-pay-gap).

    In every case, totally agreed on femininity being bullshit. Sheila Jeffreys said it’s the “social performance of submission” (iirc) and by performing it people will look at you and see someone who has accepted her role in life as an exploitable commodity, no matter what you personally might think about your glitzy glam earrings or ribbon bracelets. I know that a lot of women (including me) wear stuff like this because they think it’s cute and pretty and I get this, I really do, but this is not what others see: if you ever try to test your environment on their openmindedness concerning gender roles you will be disappointed.

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  5. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    and by performing it people will look at you and see someone who has accepted her role in life as an exploitable commodity

    Yeah. Totally.
    This WFD “event” is all about celebrating females’ subordinate status in society. A bit like if slaves started wearing jewellery shaped like shackles to celebrate “international slaves day”. In both cases, these “celebrations” do nothing to curb violence against each group, in fact, in the minds of those who subordinate, it gives them further justifications to keep on subordinating. Which is what this WFD crap is doing too. The parallels also with SlutWalk – it does not matter if females attempt to “reclaim slut” (a word that was not ours to begin with), with slogans like “I’m a slut, don’t rape me” – all it does in the minds of the rapist-onlookers is reinforce their idea that women are sluts, and therefore lesser, deserving of anything they get.

    With all these recent “events” and “activism”, it is like 2nd wave feminism never happened. They are all deliberately anti-feminist (and therefore doomed to failure). None of these “events” will improve the lot of women, or reduce the violence against women. Chances are it will increase it.

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  6. GallusMag

    Who’s sponsoring this turd? The Mormons, The Porn industry or the Tranz? Or all of them??? Enquiring minds want to know… Hot, Sexay, Pink Enquiring Minds of course- lololol.

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  7. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    Who’s sponsoring this turd?

    A rather interesting question actually. I find it hard to believe that a lone founder, a twenty-something burlesque teacher, could get a synchronised multi-country thing off the ground like this out of the blue. She/they must have other backing? The burlesque connection seems a strong one, and I could raise questions as to whether it is the front to something seedier. Again, it is hard to believe that a twenty-something can run a multi-country business without other backing from somewhere.
    http://www.worldfemininityday.com/about/index.html

    The Founder

    World Femininity Day was founded by Zoe Charles; Zoe is one of eight children; the oldest of her Mother’s five with three older stepsisters three younger sisters and one brother. Growing up surrounded by so many strong forward thinking women Zoe was given full permission to blossom into a proud and fully self- expressed woman herself.

    Now a Femininity coach and Cheek of It business owner Zoe trains over 600 women every year in various ways to express femininity and delight in who they are regardless of shape and size through the art of Burlesque. With classes across the UK, Serbia, Croatia, Spain and the USA, Zoe has helped women, from beginners to professionals, learn how to have fun and feel fabulous about who they are as feminine beings resulting in huge benefits across their lives in areas relating to self esteem, confidence, body image, career, and relationships with partners, friends and families.

    My fav’ bit of the above is “Zoe was given full permission” – note the language “given”. I am just bubbling over with empowerfulness reading that.

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  8. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    Oh, and, apparently “expressing femininity” means having you mouth wide open with bare shoulders. My advice is not to “express femininity” when sticking your head out of the sunroof of a moving vehicle. Unless “expressing femininity” doubles as bug-catching…

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  9. GallusMag

    “Zoe is one of eight children; the oldest of her Mother’s five with three older stepsisters three younger sisters and one brother.” So is that like Dad had three daughters, cashed in his wife for a younger model and kept popping out kids until he got a son?
    “Zoe” is a “writer” for The Lingerie Diet. What is The Lingerie Diet? Glad you asked. From their website:

    “WHAT IS THE LINGERIE DIET?

    Through her one-on-one personal shopping service and her exclusive online Circle Community site, The Lingerie Diet is Margaret’s revolutionary program where lingerie education meets empowerment and expert support. In the simplest terms: it’s a means of real transformation, a way for you to rediscover your innate sensuality, exceptional glamour and confident beauty. It’s teaches you to live the fine lingerie lifestyle…EVERYDAY, and having the high self-esteem to match. The Lingerie Diet takes you through Margaret’s version of the word “D-I-E-T”:

    D – Decide To Own Your Beauty

    I – Intend To Love Yourself Now

    E – Essential Self Care

    T – Together With Community

    WHO?

    The Lingerie Diet is the brainchild of Margaret Shrum. Margaret has been working in fashion, particularly “boudoir fashion,” for over two decades. Her unique combination of life coaching/lingerie consulting—what she calls The Lingerie Diet—has been transforming the lives of busy New Yorkers for the past few years. Now she’s bringing her means of transformation to women everywhere through her online community site called ‘The Circle’.

    Click Here To Join The Circle Community For Free [Someone log in and tell us what in the what! http://www.thelingeriegoddess.com/wp-login.php?action=register%5D

    HOW?

    Join the Circle Community and take the 30-Day Lingerie Diet Challenge, so that every woman, no matter where she lives, can discover her own glamorous sensuality. In addition, our Circle community site offers support, coaching, advice, community, and a wealth of regularly-updated news, profiles, and information about living life the way you were meant to: sensuously.

    WHY?

    Because here at The Lingerie Diet we feel every day should be about being in touch with your sensuality, about feeling confident, sexual and sensual, and about experiencing pleasure. We should always feel deeply sensuous in our own skin, even when we’re running to the store for milk. Especially while we’re running to the store for milk! Read more, including the five secrets of The Lingerie Diet.”

    “I was a courtesan at age 5” says founder Shrum.

    Serbia? Croatia? Is that some sex trafficking shit or what?

    Here’s “Zoe Charles'” phone# off her facebook- someone call her w/ questions! lol.
    07967931559

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  10. GallusMag

    “Oh, and, apparently “expressing femininity” means having you mouth wide open with bare shoulders.” Right? If femininity is so kool why are men beating it out of each other? Why don’t MEN wear a fucking flower in their hair? Or a “promise I won’t rape” sticker???? lmao.

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  11. GallusMag

    “We believe it is vitally important as women to be encouraged to feel powerful through our femininity as opposed to matching or competing with masculine ways of being to achieve power in our lives whether that be socially, in relationships, family or career.”
    This is the shit they used to tell butch women during their electroshock treatments. Seriously this is some Zombie shit. Stepford shit.

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  12. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    “I was a courtesan at age 5″ says founder Shrum.
    Serbia? Croatia? Is that some sex trafficking shit or what?

    It is highly suspicious, isn’t it? And, stating that one was a “courtesan at age 5”, sounds like some serious child sex trafficking going on as well as the ‘usual’ teen girl sex trafficking.

    I found it suspicious that Zoe headed this multi-country burlesque thing (particularly at her age), which points to her being the front for “something else” going on behind the scenes. At best it would be money laundering for pimps, at worse, a trafficking front.

    A while ago we investigated many of the online porn “activists”, and found they were all bdsmers, and most had bdsm business “interests”. I think most “erotica” supporters would be fairly horrified if they actually knew where the porn trail leads, thinking that the light end of the market is all very consensual adult stuff (libfems/funfems, take note). Then you have the Larry Flynts of the world, with their “business interests” in both porn and pimping.
    http://womononajourney.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/you-cant-escape-this-mans-enterprise/

    Scratch the surface of any of these ‘enterprises’ or ‘events’, and there will be dirt under your fingernails. WFD and Lingerie Diets included. Yeah, there are female fronts, but there will be a bunch of dudes in the shadows making money out of it somehow.

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  13. smash

    FABlibber, thank you for this post.

    “This WFD “event” is all about celebrating females’ subordinate status in society. A bit like if slaves started wearing jewellery shaped like shackles to celebrate “international slaves day”. ”

    You are so right.

    I recall that Undercover Punk has a whole series defending femininity (http://undercoverpunk.wordpress.com/defending-femininty/ ) and she points out that,
    “”femininity” is associated with women (forced upon us), and femininity continues to be a legitimate reason to malign, belittle, and/or dismiss women (even by other women, or maybe especially by them)”

    We all live in the P, and some of us use femininity to get along in it. But that doesn’t mean we should celebrate femininity! This event sounds to me just like the SlutWalk in that it’s all about pleasing the men. It is all about pleasing the men. Gyah!

    I have really recently stopped wearing makeup. Yes, makeup makes it easier to get along in the P. But it’s also a symbol of submissiveness and a marker of sex-classed-ness that I do not need in my life. It’s taken me so long to realize this, but I’m happy to be here.

    Excellent post. Thank you.

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  14. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    Hiya Smash, welcome!
    Yes, UCP and I disagree on the femininity thingy. Basically, whatever stuff you want to wear post-revolution is fine, but you are not helping matters by “embracing” it during the pre-revolution phase…

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  15. cherryblossomlife

    “Zoe is one of eight children; the oldest of her Mother’s five with three older stepsisters three younger sisters and one brother.””So is that like Dad had three daughters, cashed in his wife for a younger model and kept popping out kids until he got a son?

    That ratio of females to males is strange. Not unheard of, but a little skewed.
    I wouldn’t be suprised if Zoe used to be “Nigel”

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  16. cherryblossomlife

    Agree with you about femininity FAB.

    I have always maintained, as part of my radical feminism, that women’s *bodies* are not inferior–or that being a woman is not a second-rate man. And as such, I’ve never seen me having children being at odds with radical feminism (except for the fact it makes me vulnerable on a personal level, but that is all down to the P designing it like that).
    But femininity is different, because it is a *role*.
    I have been socially conditioned to be feminine and do present as such. BUt I’ll never forget Sheila Jeffreys saying something like.. ask yourself why you don’t give up femninity and if you answer honestly, you’ll find that the reason is because the rewards are too great within a patriarchy—and that fact itself should make you want to give it up forever.

    So, well, I’m trying. I’ve still go my long blonde hair, but I never wear make-up anymore. Not for work, not for going out. Ever.
    If you’d have seen me 10 years ago compared to now you’d be shocked. I’ve dumped anything with a heel and I’ve bought myself some baggy cargo pants that I wear absolutely everywhere, doing the school-run and everything. My gestures are becoming less feminine– I never cross my legs or make myself small anymore. I spread myself out when I’m sitting down, and take up space, just like men do.
    I keep having fantasies about buying a man’s suit and perhaps cutting my hair short and seeing whether people notice I’m a woman, or whether they take me for a teenage male.

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  17. KatieS

    ask yourself why you don’t give up femninity and if you answer honestly, you’ll find that the reason is because the rewards are too great within a patriarchy—and that fact itself should make you want to give it up forever.

    The other part of this is that it’s not only the “rewards” that go with it. It’s that women are punished if they stray from the feminine norm. I don’t have tv and so often miss what’s going on in popular culture altogether. But I finally watched a couple of videos of Susan Boyle. It is just crazy. When she first shows up on stage, you have the feeling that everyone is sneering on her, cruel, really. In this first appearance, everyone makes much of the fact that she doesn’t look like a Barbie doll but still can sing, like that is some huge deal. This is about how women are punished if they don’t have the “self-esteem” to “take care of their appearance.” The idea that “she could look better than she does” is also in there. People can be brutal about a woman who “doesn’t care” about looks. (In later videos, she looks more “feminine” with her dyed hairstyle and dress that is more “flattering.” It’s sad, really).

    Yet when the camera shots go from Boyle singing to the blonde woman judge, Amanda Holden, there is a shocking contrast. Boyle makes Holden, a “feminine” woman, look very plastic, shallow, and ungrounded. In addition to her remarkable talent, Susan looks like the woman down the block that you might like chat with over coffee, just hang out with. In thinking this over, I realized that another problem with the “feminine” look is that it is anti-bonding in some subtle way. For one thing, it conveys that the “feminine” woman has no depth. Then there is the idea of competition and jealousy. Things like that.

    So, while the opposite of “feminine” is “masculine,” there is another category and that is “unfeminine.” Women get “rewarded” for being feminine, and punished for falling into either of the other two categories.

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  18. parallelexistence

    The other part of this is that it’s not only the “rewards” that go with it. It’s that women are punished if they stray from the feminine norm.

    There are levels of punishment and rewards though. Most women of the world, they are very restricted. Most (non-religiously controlled) western women have relatively minor consequences, but the threat of awful consequences and special rewards, which don’t necesaarily materialise as promised.

    Some of these women do come to their senses with age, but many spend their lives running round in circles in a vain attempt to make themselves acceptable to men.

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  19. FAB Libber aka Dave the Squirrel Post author

    that women’s *bodies* are not inferior–or that being a woman is not a second-rate man

    Well, this is the *great reversal* of patriarchy – the default human is FEMALE and not male. During foetal development, they all start with a female configuration, the gonads in males descend to form testes, and males have nipples (there would be no reason for males to have nipples unless the default template was female). I will add that females generally live longer than males, yet more evidence that the default human is female. Males are the sub of the species.

    Some of these women do come to their senses with age, but many spend their lives running round in circles in a vain attempt to make themselves acceptable to men

    Patriarchy’s hamster wheel for women. It does not matter how much women comply with “femininity” or “beauty”, they will never be good enough. Most (or at least many) realise it around the age of 40, when no matter what they do, they don’t receive the male attention as they once did, and teh menz are off chasing 20 year olds anyway. The key to breaking the cycle is to make the young women aware of “the game”, so that they don’t waste their time trying to comply to impossible standards, or get trapped by marriage and pregnancy. Also getting them to realise that “beauty” costs big bucks to pursue, and why should they waste their 80 cents on the dollar when money is in much more limited supply for them?

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  20. cherryblossomlife

    KatieS, yes there is a subtle “anti-bonding” about femininity. Women aren’t threatened or bothered by beauty in other women. It is actually endearing and pleasant to come across beauty in women. But there is something about the made-up feminine woman that is antagonistic to female bonding.

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  21. anamnesian

    It’s true, women can enjoy the beauty of other women. But the artificial “beauty” that comes with the performance of “feminity” is very different and off-putting. Unfortunately, the ways in which women often bond are around putting on makeup, looking at clothes together, shopping for them, etc. I think that one reason that some women find it important is that it has been a way to claim female-only space, perhaps the only way for some. I really hate shopping of any kind as a social activity, though.

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  22. FAB Libber / Dave the Squirrel Post author

    Hi anamnesian, welcome!
    is that it has been a way to claim female-only space, perhaps the only way for some
    Yes indeed. Patriarchy makes it hard for women to get together by themselves – because if they did get together alone, there would soon be a bit of an uprising as they discover the commonality of their situations…

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  23. cherryblossomlife

    I wonder how much the internet has contributed to women leaving their husbands. I read that 70% of divorces are initiated by women, and of total separations (including non-married couples) the real percentage must be a lot higher.
    So.. how many women in the past 10 years or so have found out how to surf the net, before coming accross some random site about abusers, or just a general site about women being happier doing their own thing, and realized that they’re *not* weird– that women aren’t, generally, preoccupied with Getting And Keeping a Man, that there are loads of women who feel FREE after divorcing… If I was a man, I would be very very worried about women’s ability to communicate on a massive scale for the first time in history.
    That’s how the Saudi women have mobilized, I’m certain of it.

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