How to Reach Peak Feminine

I’m going to be honest, this is more of a rant/potential overreaction in response to a perceived injustice.

Perceived injustice in the form of something a friend/classmate said that I found both a) hurtful, b) thoughtless, and c) pretty damn problematic.
So definitely one of the lesser injustices in the world, but still something that raised a lot of feelings for me, which  am now going to get off of my chest.

The remark was something along the lines of stating that pregnancy= peak femininity. At know time in a woman’s life is she more truly a “woman” than when she is with child.

Ugh.

Okay, my problems with that statement first, and then a list of ways I think we can be EVEN MORE FEMININE.

  1. A lot of women cannot, in fact, get pregnant. A lot of women feel broken, less than, and incomplete because they can not give birth to the children they desire (or that society has conditioned them to see as the defining purpose of their lives). Many women feel like failures if they have infertility issues.
    I may be one of these women. For medical reasons, its quite possible that I won’t be fertile. I love children, and despite my fear of being a terrible mother and the pain of natural childbirth, having a baby is something  I would really love to be in my future (witness my obsession with baby names, children’s books, and all manner of miniature person paraphernalia).
    The takeaway here is- many women can’t have children and that doesn’t make them and less female.
  2. Defining the epitome of femininity as pregnancy- something kind of passive in that it is done to a woman by a man- is an issue for me.  It’s a really reductive view of what it means to be a woman- i.e. to be a baby-making machine, an oven for a bun, a brood mare, (your analogy here).  There is so much more to being a human woman than passing on your genes and prolonging the species.  And I’m not talking about boobs either.  It’s just such a dull view of what women can be. So biological, so without choice, so impersonal, so f*cking traditional and… medieval.
  3. Which brings me to I guess my last point, which is that society has conditioned women to see childbearing and motherhood as their final purpose, their definition, their ultimate test for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s 2018. The idea of womanhood and femininity really needs to expand beyond basic biological processes to include all of the different things that womanhood and/or femininity (because anyone can be feminine, not only women- it’s a gender rather than sex thing) has to offer.  There are so many different ways to be feminine. So many different life paths you can take.  Deciding not to have children, being unable to have children, having an unconventional pregnancy or path to motherhood does not mean you’re not feminine or not a woman.

So here are some suggestions on alternative ways to reach peak femininity, that don’t involve getting knocked up. Or a penis. Or subjecting your body to drastic changes. Or a huge life choice that may or may not be what you want for yourself.

  • Take female-specific multivitamins.
    I have never felt more feminine that when popping a One-A-Day Women’s. Not sponsored.
  • Watch a chickflick.
    Do you self-identify as a chick? Is this a film you like? Then it’s a chickflick. Get it, girl.

You know, I can’t even do this anymore. I was googling ‘how to be feminine for more ideas that I could subvert, but they’re also a irritating, contradictory, and offensive that I can’t even complete this list.

Here are some favorites though:

  • Speak softly/learn to be shy (but also cool and be outspoken)
    No lie these four are all on the same list.
  • Smell good.
    Not like a smelly man.
  • Don’t cut your hair.
    After multivitamins, looking like Samara from The Ring has always made me feel particularly ladylike and attractive.
  • Avoid arguments.
    Well, failed that one.
    But can we also just recognize that this disqualifies SO MANY AMAZING WOMEN WHO ARE KNOWN FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY’VE DONE AND THEIR OPINIONS AS OPPOSED TO THEIR LOOKS AND BREATHY VOICES?
    Yeah, bye Rosa Parks.
    And don’t even get me started on the angry black woman not fitting the ideal vision of femininity because I’m already going to explode.
  • BUT DON’T FORGET: BE YOU AND LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE
    Yes, this is on the same list. Excuse me while I go jump in a lake.

I just looked at another list thinking of continuing but there’s so much more and I’m getting keyed up. It’s 8:30 am on Sunday and I’m calling it quits.

It’s funny how when there are huge systemic problems involved you can never actually success in getting your frustration off your chest because there’s just more and more and more and more.

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Saturday Links (and an aside on pastry)

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I am indeed more sane today! It’s amazing what a Chipotle burrito can do to pull back together the resolute American spirit.

And as goes my stress- I had my favorite pastry and a beautiful pear for breakfast today, went to the pastel exhibit at Petit Palais that I was looking forward to, bought a few things that I’ve been searching for (for years), and have a classic financier tucked in my desk for breakfast tomorrow (with a persimmon and maybe some chocolate (?).
So what is a classic financier I hear you ask? The almond one. My bakery had a pistachio-chocolate one (half and half), the almond, and a cherry one.  How does one choose?
Well, I like fruit in pastry, but I usually have fresh fruit with my breakfast (I stole an excellent pear from my landlords today) and didn’t want to be outfruitied.  And then I was considering pistachio, but when I got there realized I wasn’t feeling chocolate.  It’s always best to start with the classic anyway.

So life is good.

Here are my links

Last Links of 2017

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Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!

This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.

Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.

Very Late Links

There’s a lot to say right now, the main thing being that, because of a random five-day weekend (!) I was in Milan until a few hours ago. So all blog posts were postponed (haha, let’s just pretend I’ve been keeping up with a regular posting schedule).  Also it looks like a yogurt in my fridge has gone missing.

So there will be future posts about Milan, but for now I have links crowding my bookshelf section, and it is my plan to dump those on you, as is my weekend ritual.

Friday Links 11/17

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I woke up too early for no reason so here’s a links post, on time for once!

Sorry for using up all of your free NYT articles!

Friday Links 11/3

Hey it’s November which means I should be changing my desktop background but I haven’t yet and besides I’m very into the one I have right now.

Other news: Halloween has come and gone- not a big thing in France, beyond being a theme for some parties.  But now that Halloween has gone and France doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously) does this mean I can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Little Drummer Boy?  I’m dipping my toe in today with Joyeux Noel, which is half war film and half holiday film.  I tried watching Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas earlier, which has all the hallmarks of being something I should love (Jim Henson muppets is the only hallmark you need, really) but I only got a few minutes in. Am I getting too old?