Friday, August 17, 2012

Do Ultra Feminine Women Have Horrible Lives? Part I

I want to start off this post with testimonials from two different women about how their lives improved after they decided to embrace and express their femininity. These women changed their lives because they wanted to and this blog did not inspire their changes. The comments have been condensed a bit but you may follow the links to read the original content. Benefits of being more feminine have been highlighted in pink, negative consequences of being a "strong, independent Black woman" are in blue :)
Testimonial #1: I too used to be considered strong and independent. Even though I looked feminine, I was not treated as such because everyone just assumed I was tough because I'm black. I'm 5'5 and I weigh 110 so guys were initially attracted to me, unfortunately, after a couple months they would leave me. It took me a very long time to figure out where I was going wrong. One day I was at work and one of the girls asked me to lift something heavy, which wasn't a problem at the time because I was used to people asking me to do stuff they would normally ask a guy. That's when it clicked, it was like a light came on in my head. People were treating me as if I were a man. Men liked me but they did not stay with me because I didn't possessed a lot of feminine qualities. They would never buy me jewelry or flowers or take care of things for me. Some of them even expected me to go 50-50 on dates when the bill came. I used to get frustrated because I didn't understand why men treated me differently. My girlfriends were having way better luck than me and I just didn't get it until that moment where I was lifting that heavy box at work. I soon realised that real men didn't like strong independent women, especially strong independent black women.
I decided to put an end to it. I became more girly and feminine and I noticed right away that men were being nicer to me. I was shocked. All I did was acted more feminine and girly. What I would do was watch a bunch of movies (particularly Bollywood movies) where the women were ultra feminine, and I started to mirror their behaviour and mannerism. Suddenly men were buying me things, taking me on expensive trips and helping me with all sorts of things. I felt like they wanted to protect me. The more feminine I became the more men were nice to me.
That was two years ago, now I'm in a happy relationship with a really nice guy who gives me a lot of attention. He takes care of me, and I don't have to work as hard anymore, I just work three days a week because I wanted to keep working so that I can maintain some level of independence. But it's always nice knowing that I don't have to work because I look at my female co-workers and I can tell that they're all over worked and stressed because they are all 'strong independent' women who are single and miserable like I was two years ago. Maria :) (original post)
Testimonial #2: I grew up with my grandmother and she was one of those strong black woman who was forced to take care of 8 kids all by herself after her husband died. She would teach us to be independent because she was alone for so long she forgot what it was like to be a woman.
I use to describe myself as independent and strong but it obviously worked against me when it came to relationships. In my country there are a lot of Indian women who are so feminine and growing up I was teased for trying to be like them. I always admired these women because in my family there were no feminine women to look up to. Eventually I decided to ignore everyone and started being more feminine. Now men are much nicer to me and men of other races find me attractive. They admire my femininity and they want to protect me and take care of me. My quality of life improved a lot and I finally found a really nice guy who enjoys taking care of me and spoiling me. At work my co-workers are jealous of me because I have a wealthy fiance and they can't even get a date. I try to help them but they won't listen, well, at least not yet. But overall, I'm a much happier person. Anonymous (original post)
Everything highlighted in pink is very appealing to me and these are things that many women want. I really don't like experiencing the things highlighted in blue and some women feel the same way. Others seem to actually like the blue items though. But for me, those are very compelling testimonials about why enhancing and expressing femininity may be beneficial to women. But of course these are just two testimonials and I'm wondering if there are testimonials out there saying the exact opposite? I along with others are more convinced by scientific studies, surveys of what many men prefer, and the wisdom of marriage counselors, match makers, and dating experts (who have actually helped and interviewed many people in a systematic way). So, the only way I would be convinced that being more feminine is a bad thing is if these multiple sources say women who are more feminine lead worse lives than those who are more androgynous or masculine. Also, the contradictory evidence has to be more prevalent, unbiased, and credible.

I think that whenever someone feels forced to do something and they have no power to choose then they may be unhappy whether the pressure is to be more feminine or more masculine. It will be easy to point to women who are miserable because they were barred from their desired profession, forced to marry and have kids, or forced to do all housework and I would expect those women to be miserable. But it can be equally miserable if you are forced to do everything yourself, expected to not show emotions, ridiculed for wanting marriage and children, chastised for liking certain fashions, and ridiculed for trying to look good.

I tried to find articles stating women with more feminine traits are disadvantaged in some way but I couldn't find anything and gave up. There were articles that we are all familiar with about disadvantages in society experienced by women in general, but not specifically more feminine women. I did find articles (some with scientific references) that stated some advantages of being feminine and they are posted below. Some of the articles are about what men prefer in women and they are important because they reassure feminine women that their appearance and traits are desirable and can get them the men they want (i.e., unless you want to date and marry women don't listen to them when they tell you to look more masculine).

Of course there are certain traits (e.g., rational thinking, ambition, control over emotions etc.) that are often described as masculine and lead to more success in the workplace, but even feminine women can possess these traits in the workplace. But work is work and you should modify your behavior among family, friends, and potential partners. Certain feminine traits (e.g., openness, good communication skills, cooperation, caring) are also important to success too.  I know that being extremely passive, never taking risks, and being totally dependent can have negative consequences but so can the exact opposite! I do not believe that suddenly women will lose their rights to work, vote, and be treated like human beings if we all start wearing dresses and lipstick, stop swearing, and let men open doors. So unless I see really compelling evidence that looking and acting ultra-feminine (within reason, I mean I don't plan on walking around in a ball gown and tiara lol) will hurt me I will continue to feel secure in my femininity.

Related Articles:
Being flirtatious, not friendly, gets women better deals
You can be a charming woman
Men prefer women with make-up on
How to flirt like a Southern lady and be irresistible
How to be irresistible to men
Why men love feminine women
Do you wonder how to be more feminine?
Interesting article because it proposes that there are drawbacks to certain forms of femininity (i.e., appearing oversexed)- How American women lost their femininity

I had to post this because I found it interesting since I prefer cute/pretty boys lol -Why women don't want macho men (MUST READ seriously confirms everything I feel, it's almost eerie),  Men with feminine faces more likely to be a hit with womenWhy women now prefer Johnny Depp to Sean Connery, and Women prefer feminine men. I do prefer a narrow rather than round face and full lips but I do agree with the images they posted. Maybe my tastes aren't so strange after all lol! I wrote about this in my previous posts Maybe I have a sensitivity to masculinity and Prestigious males are very attractive to me.


  1. This is a great piece Ebw even though i don't agree with everything. The title ' strong independent black women' is seen as negative. I have read alot of articles stating this, but for me growing up that phrase had and has a different meaning. My aunt's, grandmother etc. were very feminine but exuded an aura of strength and beauty at the same time. It was awe inspiring. My mother is feminine but exemplifies the title. She has and haf no problem with allowing my dad to feel needed and loved. He stated that her strength, independence, and love is what drew him to her. My mom sheds tears, shows softness and affection when necessary. The media has made the that title negative. I have always been raised not to let outside influences, and others define anything for me. Being a strong, independent, woman does not negate my feminity, softness, and affection. I just wanted to give another spin on the phrase than the negative. I believed that attitude changes, and asking for help has nothing to do with the title and everything to do with the person. Keep writing I am loving it.

  2. LOVE this post! I want to also add that being feminine isn't just wearing skirts and having pretty makeup - it's the energy we give off. I had to re-learn that this week.

    Although I was the only one that consistently wore skirts and makeup at my workplace, I was still treated as masculine because I had this, "Oh, no - it's okay! I can do it!" attitude. Even my tone of voice and the way I said things were masculine (I always thought by forgoing my more melodic voice, I would be taken more seriously; instead I just sounded like a guy.)

    To this, I say : Ladies, if someone offers you help, LET THAT STRONG BLACK WOMAN GO, smile sweetly, and say, "Yes! Thank you!" no matter whether or not you can handle it yourself.

  3. Another great post,EBW, and I'm going to check out the links you've provided. KC also made a very good point, we should also be more feminine in the way we talk and act, not just by wearing dresses and makeup because men can also wear dresses and makeup yet retain all their masculinity
    Example 1

    Example 2

  4. Hi Anonymous and thanks for your comment. I am glad that you liked the post. I'm the type to believe that once a word has been tainted it should be abandoned. I don't believe in taking back the term "strong Black woman", the n-word, s-word, or b-word. Being a strong Black woman has become a punch line and a red flag to some people that they should leave these women alone.

    Instead, if one is strong and independent, they should just be that instead of going around saying they are because that may automatically bias people against them. Why give yourself a tainted label if you don't have to? But of course if it works for you and you haven't had any negative consequences then there isn't a problem. But when I hear people say they can't stand strong independent Black women I don't know why anyone would want to embrace the label?

    I know we can't please everyone and being fake is not the answer. I have done a lot of things for myself without support and I have persevered through the hard times (not as hard as many people though) but I don't not think I am strong or independent...I just did what I needed to do and coped the best way I could. I do not like being strong and independent so I won't call myself that. I'll leave the label to those who have overcome worse and actually enjoy being independent.

  5. Hi KC and Maria :)

    Yes I think we all know that being feminine isn't just wearing makeup and dresses. I make that point because there are some feminine things most people are not opposed to (e.g., being kind, caring, sweet, nurturing, having feelings etc). And as I mentioned in the post there are negative consequences to some feminine traits (e.g., being too passive and dependent, being too emotional at inappropriate times).

    But if you read certain things or talk to certain people they may have a very negative reaction to the simple things I mentioned. There are people who say women who wear makeup have low self-esteem and are puppets to male fantasies and the standard of beauty they created (i.e., makeup wearers are pathetic pawns who are setting women back. If men don't wear makeup women should not and we are too focused on beauty). Or they will say wearing dresses and skirts is conforming to historical forms of dress that were created to oppress women (e.g., women who wear dresses and skirts are supporting their own oppression and signaling to the world that they support patriarchy. If women want equality then they should not wear things men do not). For example, in many professions women had different uniforms from men but that was eliminated and everyone wears the same uniform now. Also in some professions women are discouraged from dressing in a feminine manner (e.g., long hair, make up) especially by other women.

    Some people are also opposed to finishing schools, learning good manners, and trying to act like ladies because they say "that's acting White" so Black women should not, it's too old fashioned and unnecessary, or all those behaviours were mandated by oppressors who wanted to limit women's behaviour so we should not behave in that way.

    So wearing makeup and dresses is not all there is to femininity but to certain people (e.g., some feminists) they are aspects of femininity they want eliminated because they see them as symbols of inequality and oppression and embracing them threatens the status of women.

  6. this is very true and I have experienced this myself and as a strong independent woman you are always stressed, have alot to live up to and its just too much, being feminine is much easier and you feel free being a woman and men treat you with much more respect.

  7. I had to come back to this post in case the ladies who wrote the testimonials come back and see my response.

    This was the first post I'd read on your blog and it really inspired me to ask myself if I was satisfied with the level of femininity I display... and the answer was no.

    I started watching Bollywood movies also, and at first I wrote them off as being formulaic and kinda corny. But the more I watched, the more I saw the contrast between the way women think in the West and how Indian women think (my Haitian family members think similarly).

    I'm looking for more in depth comparisons/analysis on the feminine qualities displayed in these movies, not just their appearance, but mannerisms, attributes etc. I've observed some already but know there are some that I'm missing.

    I know I'm at the beginning of my own journey of being more elegant, and I'm looking forward to it. Thank you ladies for your inspiration!! :-)

  8. Hi Anilia :)
    Thank you so much for your visit and your comment. I'm glad that the Bollywood movies are informative for you. I think that looking at highly feminine women, no matter what race, is useful because femininity is not bound by race anyway. Some Black women are just as feminine but we rarely see ourselves depicted that way in movies but it is so common in Bollywood.

  9. oh definitely Elegance... we just don't have a plethora of movies on hand to see the feminine qualities we're trying to adopt. I'm an introvert so I don't have a ton of friends (by choice), and if my relatives were feminine then I'd soak up their knowledge. So this is one way for me to skin a cat ;-)

  10. this is even better than "fascinating womanhood." i havent read the whole thing yet. give me a minute!

  11. different if you live in minangkabau people, men more respect you if you strong and independent woman its doesnt mean, that you dont need men, men still the leader of family, you still respect him, we minang women still feminine although we are strong and independent, matriarchat still elegant and gracefull but we are feminine and we are not easy to get by men, we are not cheap, we are very confident, high self esteem, but we are down to earth woman, we still need men as the leader of the family and make decision for the family, we are not weak, but we still need man and we still feminine