“You must walk feminine/Talk feminine…”
Well, this explains everything. Or almost everything. I’ve been trying to understand this business of femininity ever since I discovered that I was a girl, which was when they threw me out of the men’s section in shul at eight years old.
I know it’s tied to the color pink, to shrieking/squealing, and involves a spiritual connection to department stores. It would then follow, in my mind, that squealing in delight at a pink sweater in Macys should be the ultimate in femininity, but another well-documented characteristic of femininity is its unpredictable lack of adherence to logic.
Impracticality, I know, is part of femininity. We wear skirts that aren’t meant to be walked in, bathing suits that aren’t meant to be swam in, and shoes that kill the feet that wear them – first degree murder at that – and we’re supposed to be happy because it’s pretty. And we don’t have any pockets.
Pockets were eliminated from women’s clothing so that designers can sell more handbags. They could double their market by taking the pockets off of men’s clothing, but men are not yet ready to walk around with little bags dangling off their wrists. They would storm the bastions of style and tar and feather the designers and ride them on a rail to Harajuku to get their pockets back. Which is why they still have them. Women just squeal in excitement at the opportunity to accessorize and rush off to the nearest department store.
That just about sums up my knowledge, and as you can see, walking and talking feminine aren’t addressed.
“Smile feminine/beguile feminine.”
Beguile feminine – this I understand. It involves flattering the male ego, mostly.
Classic example: Scarlett O’Hara saying, “Oh, I never can make up my mind which of you two’s handsomer. I was awake all last night trying to figure it out.” to the twins Brent and Stew. (Hey wait – is that odd use of emphasis feminine talking? We’re making progress.)
“Complement his masculinity…”
Another classic: Many a woman who would sensibly take a shoe to a cockroach while home alone, will shriek and hop up on a chair when her husband is around to rescue her. It’s the clasped-hands-‘my hero’ thing that both men and women seem to love. Hey, the damsel in distress theme has lasted so long for a reason. Women feel special when they’re rescued, while men feel strong and virile when they’re rescuing. Think about what happens when Bambi first sees Falene – speaking of which, there’s a doe who knows how to smile feminine. You know – head tipped slightly down, looking up through the eyelashes, coy smile. If you don’t look like a Disney heroine (Ariel preferred), better practice in the mirror first. That probably also takes care of “Glance feminine.”
“Be radiant but delicate…Be demure, sweet and pure.”
I think this is where the average career woman trips over her corporate pumps – but there’s hope. A year or so ago the BBC ran an article on a woman who wrote a book suggesting that marriages would be happier if modern women abandoned their power suits at the door and went back to the 1950s housewife charade – soft, helpless at everything not traditionally feminine, great at dressing well and cooking meat and potatoes and saying ‘whatever you prefer dear’ a lot. The response was huge, and the comments ranged from “Yes! Women need to remember that their place is in kitchen, and they should stay there!” to “If my wife ever stops trying to get the last word in an argument, I’m divorcing her.”
Every pot has a lid.
But just in case, practice glancing through your eyelashes.
(Thanks O for the idea)