Moof wrote a great post (and drawing) about Trans visibility day (Happy Trans Visibility day everyone!), and the gender bias against femininity. Moof also had a quote from a friend – that riled me up a little – about how this person thinks ‘women are a bit inferior’; and about how when a boy plays with girl toys it’s worse than when a girl plays with boys toys – Because for a boy it’s perceived by some as taking a step down.
Simultaneously in an alternate social network universe, someone who is usually sort of androgynously hot posted a femme-femme photo that suddenly got an flurry of ‘likes’ & comments. The social network validation currency jackpot.
Rather ironically, being the closet misogynist that I am, as soon as I saw it I mentally dismissed it as a typical “Lesbian-in-recovery” photo.
“Hey guys, look at me! See? I still look girly. You can still fancy me.
I’m non-threatening. I’m one of you. The dark side hasn’t consumed me entirely.
Don’t be frightened. There’s no big black strap-on here.”
( I’m such an asshole 🙂 )
A friend I was debating this with said I was being a hater especially since the photo was getting so much positive feedback but I must strongly dispute that.
While I certainly have that delicious nugget of internal tick-tocking rage that bubbles up now and then, I don’t think I’m being a hater when I merely notice how overwhelming the positive response is to super-femme photos, especially when the person in question isn’t usually so inclined to being femme.
Androgynous or tom-boys who post the occasionally high femme photo ALWAYS gets positive responses. Always. I assure you. And I include myself because I’ve seen it play out on my own feed too.
They, (the likers and commenters) want to validate the typical femme look. Not consciously of course, but they would prefer the world was made up of ‘girls who look like girls’ and ‘boys who look like boys’.
That’s the right way. The non-threatening way. Finally, you’re playing ball.
When people compliment me when I dress femme (At all other times I dress just to get by) there is a subtle undercurrent of
“Why don’t you aways dress like this?
Why don’t you always leave your hair open?
Why don’t you always dress to please even if it means you are uncomfortable?”
And the praise is very seductive. Who doesn’t want to be praised and validated and told they look nice? We all do.
On the rare occasions I have dressed femme – which the ex prefers – I always feel like I’m faking it. The tragedy is that with my boobs, no ass and round lollipop head, femme is all I’ll ever have.
Andro will never work on me and it BREAKS MY FUCKING HEART. All I want is to look like Tilda Swinton, that genderless, mystical, magical, glorious alien goddess that she is, or like that beautiful alien boy-god on Stargate.
So while it may seem contradictory that someone saying femininity is inferior annoys me, then simultaneously when someone dresses feminine I’m equally annoyed (and by my own admission I’m andro biased) but allow me the chance to explain.
Part of the stereotypical ‘feminine’ look seems founded on discomfort or being impractical:
Dresses and skirts do not fall into this category. They existed before trousers did, were uni-sex, are easier sew (being just a swathe of fabric fastened around), & are easy to wear (e.g. Kaftans, Lungees, Kilts & Kurtas for men).
However long hair, blow dries, perms, lipstick, make-up, high heels, eyelashes that stick on, nails that are glossed and elongated, epilated hair and bleached body parts, suitably tight clothing: None of these are easy to manage or comfortable to wear, which lends colour to my confirmed belief that being feminine means being comfortable with discomfort.
Maybe proving you are a masochist is the precursor to setting up your typical hetrosexual relationship. I don’t know.
I cannot believe girls who hobble around on heels who then insist
“Omg my heels are really comfortable, you guys they really are.
I mean, I totally agree with you – I hate uncomfortable heels too
(they always partially agree, and then…)
“But I wear these ones all the time. They just look high, but they soooooooo comfy. Omg.
Really guys. So comfy”
Oh Yeah? Are they as comfortable as flats? What are you comparing your heels to? Walking across a fucking board with nails??
Fucking nonsense. Comfortable my fucking ass.
No you wear heels because you think they make your legs look better, because Sex in the City has told you how essential they are to your beauty, your femininity, your sexual appeal, your independence. (I’m SUCH a Carrie! You must be a Charlotte. Holla!) and because all your friends tell you how nice you look in them.
So don’t fucking tell me how much you love heels and how comfy they are. You love the compliments about your heels. All perfectly fine. As mentioned earlier, who doesn’t love compliments?
But when I argue this point, girls (and my mother) will as a chorus, insist
“This is for me because I think it looks good and I feel good for me. I TOTALLY don’t care what people think.
I wear tight breast exposing tops, layers of make up and high heels that are crippling for me because because I’m an strong, independent, feminine woman who wears things just for me. It’s not for anyone OK? It’s for me.”
Really? If you were trapped on a deserted island you’d really be applying mascara and walking about in stilettos?
I’m willing to bet that without the regular shower of praise you’d be in slippers or in jungle boots in less than a week.
Even after you’ve been desperate to take a cab home after a night out because you just cannot bear to walk anymore, or when you get home you take them off to reveal red welts across your feet or after years of wear have developed corns on the balls of your feet, the pay off from all the compliments will still be enough to feed your desire to wear heels.
For example (personal example), I love depilating – not shaving – but depilating. Where the hair is removed at the root (like waxing) It’s mildly painful but afterwards I feel ‘clean’. The pain is the payment for the reward for cleanliness, inside and out.
This is a totally masochistic pursuit and I enjoy it but I also distinctly remember at 12/13 overhearing a conversation in school between a group of both male and female friends discussing with absolute revulsion this one girl’s dark hairy legs. The revulsion was so acute and infectious that I was immediately worried that they would think this about me. I started depilating not long afterwards.
So while I may NOW depilate, just for me (because I am a strong, independent, feminine woman who does this just for herself), I know the basis of this certainly didn’t begin without the outside influence of the fear of disgusting hairy girl legs.
You may feel good about your 6 inch stilettos and again, that’s totally fine, but I also think you can at least examine why you feel good about it. You don’t feel good about it because you just feel good about it. That is just perfectly ludicrous.
So to recap, when people put up photos or selfies that conform to accepted standards of femme they get more likes & comments & when they conform to what I perceive as stereotypical femininity (i.e discomfort / impractical) it also does annoy me.
I’m going to go look at photos of Tilda now. Her magical aura never fails to soothe me.
Coincidentally I finished this drawing a day before visibility day.