Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Feminism, Egalitarianism, and Humanitarianism

  • A doctrine or movement that advocates equal rights for women  
  • The doctrine — and the political movement based on it — that women should have the same economic, social, and political rights as men.
  • A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men.(source)
  • Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.
  • The doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality (source)
  • A belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs
  • A social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people (source)
  • Concern for human welfare, especially as manifested through philanthropy.
  • The belief that the sole moral obligation of humankind is the improvement of human welfare. (source)
Now, which of these ideologies seems, by definition, to be the very inclusive, not focusing on one group instead of another, and not focusing on just one aspect of human difference?

Which ideology, by definition, seems consistent with the beliefs of most people (regardless of gender, ethnicity, country of origin, ability, income level, etc.) when they say they believe that all people are equal and we should help those who are less fortunate? 

Which ideology, by definition, is named or defined in such a way that focuses on one group while ignoring all others and therefore does not sound totally inclusive and welcoming to all human beings? 

Individual egalitarians and humanitarians can focus their concern on women's issues, believe that women have the right to control their bodies, and also believe that they are not inferior to men. Women who believe in equality have choices about how they define themselves. No one has the right to dictate their membership and lifelong allegiance to a particular ideology just because they are women and don't believe they are inferior to men. 

No ideology is beyond scrutiny. If individual proponents of an ideology do/say things that people deem harmful or objectionable then people have the right to criticize that ideology, it's goals, and it's methods. People have the right to question well-known proponents/representatives of that ideology whether the actions/statements of specific individual members are consistent or inconsistent, supported or not supported by most people of that ideology. 

Unless well-known proponents/representatives condemn those individual actions/statements then outsiders will assume that those actions/statements are consistent and supported by most people of the same ideology. That's just the way it is. If self-identified people of a given ideology are repeatedly seen doing the same things, over and over, then don't be surprised if outsiders start thinking it is the norm for most people with the same beliefs. People are not going to assume that it is just a fringe element unless members of the group (especially the prominent ones) consistently say that it is a fringe element and condemn the statements/behaviour.

Think hard about the way that you label yourself because you will be taking on the reputation of those with the same label. You don't have to label yourself anything if you don't want to and you can reject any label others attempt to place on you. You can be an individual and decide who you are and what you believe.

This is totally unrelated...
Two articles by women I don't understand:
British politician and “Absolutely Fabulous” star advise women not to wear short skirts to avoid rape
What Lingerie Isn’t About: Why I Hate Compulsory Femininity

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Empathy, Kindness, Hostility, and Being Strong

I wonder about people sometimes. Actually I wonder about them all the time. Sometimes I wonder why in the world did I devote so much of my life, and choose a career that involves helping people, when sometimes I just hate people and wish they would fall off a cliff?

Then I think back to my values and the idea that taking and receiving throughout one's life and never giving back is selfish and it makes someone pretty much a parasite on the back of humanity. I think about my younger years when I thought that helping others was noble and that the ideal occupation is one where you help others to better their lives. I remember empathy, the Golden Rule, and the internalized value that I must treat others the way I would like to be treated:

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or morality that essentially states either of the following:
(Positive form of Golden Rule): One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
(Negative form of Golden Rule): One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.

1. the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings  
2. the attribution to an object, such as a work of art, of one's own emotional or intellectual feelings about it

In my opinion, I think about being empathetic a lot. I think about how the other person will react to what I am saying. I think about whether the person will feel disrespected. I don't assume that they are super strong or confident, and actually to be on the safe side I assume that they are not. That way I treat them more delicately than others might. This is because I concern myself with those who are more vulnerable since those who are strong can handle most things. 

What I wonder though is if there are enough people doing the same thing. I think there may be too many people, online especially, who are very "strong". By strong I mean hardened or cold by nature or perhaps due to being constantly treated without empathy. These people have always been able to take more than others or they developed a hard shell to protect them from the world's harshness. They are harder than most other people and expect others to be as strong as they are. If one can not handle the same levels of disrespect, criticism, abuse, neglect, insults, or ridicule then strong people may call you "weak, childish, useless, ignorant, immature" and other belittling comments. It's like someone who can easily lift 200 pounds ridiculing the average person who can not do so. The strong people do not realize that their level of tolerance is way higher than everyone else's and they should not be comparing themselves to most other people. 

How does this affect empathy? Well have you ever noticed that some people who grow up in nurturing and responsive environments tend to be more nurturing and responsive to others? Have you also noticed that those who grow up rough may treat other people roughly? They scoff when others are unable to tolerate the same living conditions and call those people "weak". I think these strong people need to check themselves and figure out if their capacity to empathize has been thrown off due to their unique nature or life experiences. What they believe is tolerable may actually be intolerable to the average person. When one's capacity to empathize is out of whack one can appear mean, cruel, disrespectful, insulting, hostile, aggressive, impatient, and really insensitive. 

These people do not consider that others can not tolerate what they can and instead insist that others simply tolerate more, sometimes instantly! They look down with supercilious disdain, contempt, and even disgust  for those of lower tolerance. They say, "get a tougher skin", "get some backbone", "toughen up", "you're too weak", "grow up" etc., sometimes with an implied kick while the person is already down. I wonder if they ever take a look in the mirror and wonder what happened to their empathy? How do they allow themselves to be so cruel and why do they take pleasure in that cruelty? Why are they unable to place themselves in someone else's shoes and say something kind and helpful? Do they ever take into account evidence that others are not as strong as they are by choosing to be less harsh? Or do they just insist that they are the ideal and there must be zero tolerance for anyone who is not as strong as they are? Are they completely unable to think of a time when they themselves were less strong and would have benefited from more kindness? 

It's kind of sad wondering what happened to these people to make them so hard and unable to be empathetic to those who are not as strong. Hardness and lack of empathy is especially unpleasant and unusual in women. I think that the way we treat those weaker than ourselves is an important indicator of one's good character and humanity. How you treat others says something about who you are on a deep level. I think the world would benefit from some more humanity. Please be kind to others even those different from yourself. Remember, the day may come when you too are down. It may be one of us, who have been there before, that will help to pick you back up :)

My Sex Life is None of Your Business!!! Or is it?

Social Norms and Sexual Norms

What women do with their privates is no one else’s business and it doesn’t harm anyone as long as the sex is consensual and safe right? I disagree. I think some people are oblivious to the fact that there are sexual norms (it’s intro social psychology and sociology). Sometimes these people even propose that basically anything sexual is normal as long as it’s consensual. They don’t realize that they are establishing the new sexual norm of ‘anything goes and everything is okay’ and that there is something ‘abnormal’ about you if you think otherwise.
“Social Norms are the expectations about how people should act. Usually social norms are created by having the same sort of certain behaviors among social group members. Also, there are usually negative consequences when someone violates a social norm…Norms do serve a purpose, as they allow people to expect the events that will occur in a particular setting. This allows people to prepare themselves for being in that situation. Uncertainty is a big source of psychological stress. Norms allow us to reduce the uncertainty that we might otherwise feel in a situation, or leading up to a situation if we knew nothing about how that situation would unfold.”(source; also see Wikipedia definition)
In other words, once a norm for promiscuity is set, both men and women will come to expect it and many will conform to it. In the past it was only men and promiscuous women saying sex was fun, it’s no big deal etc. and it was easier to say no because they advocated out of self-interest. You see, saying it’s okay to be promiscuous, women should not be judged or shamed, and that some women enjoy the activity with no ill effects is one thing. But when an ideological group, Third Wave feminists, state sleeping around is empowered, that it helps women figure out what they like in bed, or it shows they are not repressed by the patriarchy, then that’s a different story. It’s associating promiscuity with positive things that many women want because they want to be empowered, satisfied with sex, and not slaves to men. When Third Wave feminists (who some women identify with, respect, and trust are looking out for their best interests) imply that being promiscuous has these benefits, women may start questioning themselves and start sleeping around against their better judgement. Some women assume that feminists are not advocating sexual practices for ideological self-interest while disregarding the affect these practices have on individual women–they just want what’s best for you right?  ”"Feminism is not the freedom to act like a dickhead,”…”These women are individualists, not feminists” (source). They don’t care that hold outs may experience prude-shaming by women implying that they are repressed, frigid, too uptight, too old fashioned, insecure, not giving their bodies what they want, missing out, not free thinkers, something is wrong with them, or they won’t be able to keep a man (similar to the things men say to coerce women into having sex..hmmm).
For example, if most women sleep with men on the first date then that becomes the norm, and men will pressure other women to “be normal” and have sex on the the first date. This in turn will confirm and perpetuate the norm. Feminists supporting promiscuity makes it that much harder to hold out. Personally, I’m more concerned about protecting abstainers from pressure than about hurting the feelings (i.e., shaming or judging) of people who knew the risks, ignored the warnings, and went full steam ahead anyway. “Norms can be self-perpetuating, as once they are established they will often continue, even when those who established them have long since left the situation” (source). So if promiscuous women get married (maybe even by lying to their husbands about their sex number), get old, or stop dating, then other single women are left with the norm! Future generations will suffer because of other women’s actions and many young girls are already caving to the pressure.
The following articles, “Has the Price of Sex Bottomed Out” and Feminism Produced Price Drop for Sex, Price Hike for Commitment discuss the work of social psychologists who study the “sex economy”. What women do in the bedroom becomes known by other men and women and this effects the sex economy–what men and women have to do in order to get sex. In the past, men would have to commit to women in order to get sex. Now they don’t have to go on a date or even buy a lady a drink. This lowers men’s motivation to have monogamous relationships or marriage because they don’t need to do those things to get sex anymore. This is fine for women who want to be single but lousy for those who want relationships and marriage. People discuss their sex lives and people observe what others do and this affects the sex economy and sexual norms. Remember, every man you sleep with knows what you did so it’s not a secret! You can not dictate what the norms are and it doesn’t matter if they are right, wrong, fair, or unfair! A norm is established by having most people do something. The only way to change a norm is to change people’s behaviour or by convincing them that certain behaviours are not as common as they believe. Norms can be based on inaccurate estimations (e.g., maybe not as many people are hooking up as you think).

Male Identification

“Understanding where sexual norms come from, or more specifically, who drives them, often provides an explanation for why they are the way they are. Usually, social/cultural constructs are made by people in power, typically white, middle/upper class heterosexual men” (source). Makes you wonder why feminists are supporting the same promiscuity that is supported by many men for women they don’t plan to marry. Maybe these feminists are male identified?
Male identified:  aspects of society and personal attributes that are highly valued are associated with men, while devalued attributes and social activities are associated with women. There is a sense of threat to the social structure of patriarchies when these gendered associations are destabilized–and the response in patriarchy is to increase the level of control, often by exerting control over women (as well as groups who are devalued by virtue of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or class; source).”
 That’s confusing! Who is male identified really? The women who reject anything feminine and are always trying to do what men do, even when those behaviors are negative? If many men want promiscuous women (prior to finding someone non-promiscuous for marriage) then isn’t encouraging women to give in to that pressure actually supporting the patriarchy? How is encouraging women to use men for their bodies, the same way men use women for their bodies, not supporting the patriarchy? Are woman male identified if they support old fashioned behaviours that they think are beneficial or even protective to women? If a woman thinks being promiscuous is being like a man and wants to protect women from STDs, unwanted pregnancies, psychological damage, shaming etc. then is she supporting the patriarchy or against it? Due to feminism the latter women are called brainwashed tools of patriarchy while the former are supported as progressive, liberated, ideal modern women.

Raunch Culture and Feminism

I think this all boils down to opposition to raunch feminism. This is that part of modern Third Wave feminism that condones women wearing next to nothing, getting huge tattoos, going topless, porn, stripping, prostitution, drinking till you are black out drunk, smoking, doing drugs, cursing, fighting, and sleeping around because those things are personal choices and we are supposed to celebrate that women are free to make these choices. YAY! In their eyes women drinking, smoking, doing drugs, getting huge tattoos, and other things men used to do much more than women is somehow empowering and not male identification. Somehow they think women wearing next to nothing on the street, in magazines, in movies, and on TV is not giving men exactly what they want at the expense of women. Somehow their negating marriage and monogamous relationships, in favor of women providing men with sex on demand and raising babies alone, is not giving men what they want at the expense of women. All of us opposed to these behaviours are dismissed as religious zealots, right wing nut jobs who want women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, or sexually repressed, slut-shaming, mean girls.

Here’s a thought, if you think women are so great why don’t you encourage men to BE MORE LIKE WOMEN! Why are you not encouraging men to stop pressuring starlets to pose half naked in the videos and magazines they create? Why not tell men they should be drinking, doing drugs, and smoking less since women do it less and we live longer due to fewer health problems? Why not encourage men to commit less crime and get into fewer fights because women don’t do these things so they are less likely to go to jail? Why not tell men to value relationships over promiscuity, see women as more than sex objects, and look forward to marriage the way women do? Of course there will be a push back from men (e.g., Men’s Rights groups) who don’t want to change but there are also men who are pushing back against raunch culture! These behaviours have negative consequences for women AND men so why not discourage them in everyone if you want equality and care about women AND men. Or are you so male identified that you can find no wrong with men’s behaviour and will only love yourself if you are exactly like the stereotypical male?


Do I think sex norms can change? Yes I do. People tried to change it with chastity ring programs. Also, schools in the U.S. encouraged abstinence (I think they should have taught safer sex too). There are also religious groups and people who will never support raunch culture. I think that studies like the ones reported on Hooking Up Smart will also help in correcting false beliefs about the prevalence of raunchy behaviours and promiscuity. It will be a hard fight but there will always be people opposed to this sort of thing, there just seems to be fewer right now. It is also a big problem with the media that seems to support raunch culture. Having sex immediately after a first kiss, no matter the location, especially while drunk, is also becoming the norm in movies and on TV. It is condoned and normalized and this influences people. Plus, people lie! Women lie about how many partners they have had to men and other women, even though they say they are not ashamed of sleeping around and there is nothing wrong with it. Men lie about what other women have done with them in bed and how quickly women slept with them in order to convince new women to do what they want.
Also, a final word about men because we can’t blame women for something without also blaming men now can we? (sarcasm). If men would stop caring about how many sex partners women have then this whole problem would be decreased! If men considered  women with 50 partners, former porn stars, or former prostitutes to be girlfriend/wife material and no difference from women with 10 partners or less, then this problem would be reduced. Then, women who want to be girlfriends/wives would not worry about the affect sex would have on their chances for long-term relationships or marriage. If high quality men don’t mind marrying women who they know are promiscuous then the sex norm against marrying promiscuous women would change. So I suggest that instead of feminists supporting promiscuity they should focus on convincing men that promiscuous women make good wives and girlfriends and that there is something wrong with men if they are uncomfortable with that. Make them think that they are repressed and insecure instead of the women who don’t like casual sex. Unfortunately, this will not entirely eliminate the problem because there would still be women who are uncomfortable having sex with men they don’t know well, men who don’t care about them, or when they don’t have a monogamous relationship.
What other women do in bed is your business if the men you meet are holding these women up as examples of what is “normal” and pressuring you to be normal. I also think feminists are misusing their power. They should stick to the idea that all women should be respected and protected instead of holding up promiscuous women, strippers, porn stars, and prostitutes as examples of empowered women who are accepting and celebrating their sexual freedom in a healthy way. These women are the new sexual role models competing with the old fashioned feminine role model. These women have influence and even if they don’t know it, even if they don’t want it, they are influencing the sex norms in society.

Related Articles:

Based on a Center for Disease Control 2007 study of 6,237 adults, aged 20 to 59, American men have an average of 7 sex partners in their lifetime and women have an average of 4! 29% of men and 9% of women report having more than 15 partners. 46% of Black men and 13% of Black women had 15 or more partners in a lifetime which is more than other groups. However, this is based on data collected more than a decade ago from 1999 to 2002, and this is the most recent data I could find. (source)
EXCELLENT Hooking up smart articles: (many are based on research)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Black Women, Are You Feminine Enough?

On Beyond Black & White a few people commented that being feminine wasn't mainly about looks. This is true. But it easier to show others how to look feminine rather than how to be feminine (how do you show a character trait?). It is also easier to change your looks and in fact, this can be completed in only one day. You have probably seen it done on makeover shows on TV. So this is the easiest first step towards becoming more feminine. By looking more feminine, feeling better about yourself, and getting positive feedback from others, this can motivate you to embrace feminine character traits as a next step.

It takes more time and practice before expressing positive feminine traits becomes natural. You will be improving  and recreating yourself as a highly feminine woman. Below I have provided a new video that lists numerous positive feminine traits. These traits are also positive in men. Men will still be masculine if they have none of these traits, but they will be mean, uncaring, and really unpleasant to be around. However, if men express too much of these traits they will appear feminine or androgynous. I hope you enjoy the video :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What is Feminine?

Cross posted at Beyond black & White

What I Specifically Mean When I Say "Feminine"

Any time a discussion about femininity arises someone asks the question, "What is feminine and what is femininity?" Well I looked into it a bit. According to Wikipedia (I know it isn't an academic source):
Femininity (also called womanliness or womanhood) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Femininity is made up of both socially defined and biologically created factors. This makes it distinct from the simple definition of the biological female sex, as women, men, and transgender people can all exhibit feminine traits...Behavioral traits generally considered feminine include gentleness, empathy, and sensitivity. (source: Wikipedia)
So, you being a woman does not automatically make you feminine. Anything that a woman does is not automatically feminine. I don't rely much on modern definitions. Why? Because in the past masculine and feminine was clearly delineated and there was no androgyny or ambiguity like there is today. It was simple so it was also easy to understand. This also doesn't have to be a scientific thing because femininity predates gender studies. You just know it when you see it. It may help to look at works of art depicting women. You might not like this, but realistic paintings like those of the Renaissance and French Impressionists (e.g., Manet, DegasRenoir) really captured femininity, although all the women were White (please just imagine they were Black). I read an African American art book once and almost all of the paintings were depicting suffering or something edgy so they were not the same. Wouldn't it be great if Black artists depicted us in a highly feminine manner? can only dream. See the P.S. below for more tips :)

The femininity I focus on is old fashioned/vintage femininity, specifically femininity in Western countries dating from maybe 1900-1960. However Western women looked and acted back then is what I consider "feminine". I'm focusing on Western femininity because that's where I live. No need to be ridged about that image though (i.e., you do not need white skin, white features, or straight blonde hair to be feminine). What stands out about this look is that women's clothing looked different from men's and it was soft, flowing, and delicate with nothing androgynous. Hair was medium length to long. Other aspects include painted or well manicured medium length nails, especially in red. Subtle makeup was worn to look natural and to enhance natural features and clear skin. Feminine shoes, dresses, skirts, and modest jewelry was the norm. Basically Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll, Marylin Monroe, Dita Von Teese, and Zoe Deschanel stand out to me for having old fashioned femininity. Stores like ModCloth, Shabby Apple, and vintage/thrift stores sell clothing that I recommend to get this look. So nothing hard, edgy, or masculine in terms of dress. Back then everyone knew what feminine and masculine meant and there was no ambiguity. Some women may prefer a modern feminine look that includes masculine items like pants, androgynous styles, or edgy styles but that doesn't appeal to me and that isn't old fashioned feminine.

Feminine Traits

Today in research, questionnaires are often used to assess someone's masculine and feminine traits. I searched the interwebs and had no luck finding long lists of traits! But I found one, the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; 1974) that might still be used today. The BSRI lists masculine and feminine traits that you can read below:

Masculine Traits: acts as a leader, aggressive, ambitious, analytical, assertive, athletic, competitive, defends own beliefs, dominant, forceful, has leadership abilities, independent, individualistic, makes decisions easily, masculine, self-reliant, self-sufficient, strong personality, willing to take a stand, willing to take risks.

Feminine Traits: affectionate, cheerful, childlike, compassionate, does not use harsh language, eager to soothe hurt feelings, feminine, flatterable, gentle, gullible, loves children, loyal, sensitive to the needs of others, shy, soft spoken, sympathetic, tender, understanding, warm, yielding.

Based on the BSRI it's no wonder many think the "Strong Independent Black Woman" role and title is too masculine, that's because it is from an old fashioned viewpoint! I actually believe that Black women would benefit from adopting an old fashioned feminine look as well as some old fashioned feminine traits. I do not consider occupations when I discuss femininity so whatever you have to do at work is not an issue. I am not concerned about hobbies either or what you are good at doing around the house (i.e., gender roles). This is about feminine traits not activities or jobs so I do have some modern ideas about femininity lol! Traits that need to be turned off outside of work include being aggressive, defending own beliefs too much, dominant, forceful, too independent, too individualistic, masculine, too self-reliant, too self-sufficient, strong personality, too willing to take a stand, and too willing to take risks. These traits make people in general difficult to get along with and they bother people even more when expressed by women. Yes that's not fair I know.

From what I've read and heard from men, they are turned off by women who are more masculine than feminine. They are more interested in women who they do not confuse with men. So if you want to attract a high quality masculine man for a relationship then maybe getting in touch with your femininity will be helpful. I also think that some women may look better in feminine clothing. I used to wear jeans, hoodies, and runners all the time like everyone else. That was until I cut my hair after going natural and felt uncomfortable. I felt that I looked too masculine and I didn't like it. So I started to wear more jewelry and decided to wear more dresses and skirts that I purchased from a thrift store. I found out that the clothing was actually quite comfortable and looked great! I would not have known had I not tried! I have changed styles many times and this was a change that I really liked.

So if you don't like being thought of as masculine then why not try to be more feminine? It seems as though, once again, for a Black women to be considered as feminine as the average White or Asian woman then she has to appear more feminine than average. Old fashioned/vintage feminine women appear more feminine than average to me. I don't mind looking more feminine because I think it makes me look better. I don't mind acting more feminine or like a lady either because I think that it makes me pleasant to be around and that's a good thing. Being liked is helpful and being disliked is not. Fortunately for me it is also compatible with personality so it's not so much of a stretch. If you are used to dressing in a more masculine, androgynous, or edgy manner I would suggest you start with small changes such as wearing a plain black skirt, ballet flats,heels, or a feminine top and see how you feel. Then you can add more items as you become more comfortable.

Reasons to Become More Feminine

I am not of the mindset that you can only do things for certain reasons and that there is a "right" or "wrong" reason for doing something (outside of ethical issues and laws). I do not look at being feminine from a moral standpoint. I look at it from a behaviourist operant conditioning perspective and any choice that brings your rewards, avoids punishments, and doesn't hurt others is a valid choice. You can decide to be and look more feminine for any reason you want. If it makes you happy, gets you what you want, and doesn't hurt anyone then that reason is valid.  People do things for many reasons they are not even conscious of and how you present yourself is no exception. Other people choose their behaviour and styles for many different reasons and the choice to be feminine is no different. Here are some reasons why you might want to become more feminine or embrace your femininity (some may think that only reasons 1 and 2 are valid reasons but I don't):

  1. You think looking and acting more feminine is true to who you are as an individual. This will be expressing who you really are and being your best self. You think that feminine traits are great and very attractive. You are naturally feminine.
  2. You feel that society convinced you that being feminine was wrong or inferior so now you want to give it a chance and try something different. You had negative opinions about femininity but now you think differently. You realized that many people looked down on femininity so you rejected everything feminine. 
  3. You think that being feminine is more attractive to men. You want to attract men or keep your man attracted to you. You think it will make you more attractive than masculine women including women of other races who choose to be more masculine. You think it will make you more attractive than you already are so it will be an improvement. You believe this will put you ahead of the competition. 
  4. After seeing ultra feminine fashion you have begun to like it. You think looking feminine is beautiful, cute, pretty, sweet, and very attractive. You want to try this new style and have a makeover. You just feel like changing your style and trying something new. I made a video about how to look feminine, previously posted on BB&W, that may help
  5. After hearing about feminine traits you decided that you want to have these traits. You think that feminine traits are very positive, pleasant, attractive, useful, and good traits to have. You think that having and expressing these traits will make you a better person. This video describes some of the positive traits that I like. 
  6. You think that becoming more feminine will make you more likable and acceptable to people. You are being mistreated by others and think that being more feminine may help. You think it may help you with making friends, attracting a man, and getting along with coworkers. Strangers may be nicer to you, treat you with more respect, act chivalrous, and treat you with care. People may not expect you to be angry, strong, or independent so they will not treat you like a pack mule. 
  7. You want to emulate a feminine role model. You like everything about this role model and want to be like them. You think your role model's style is perfect, she presents herself perfectly, and she is a great person. You feel that this will be an improvement over the way you already are (e.g., Michelle Obama). I made a video of 52 feminine Black women that you might like as role models. 
  8. You admire women of the past so you want to look and be like them. You believe that they had admirable traits that are not as common today. You would rather be an old fashioned feminine woman than a modern woman (e.g., Claire Huxtable or Dorothy Dandridge). I made a video of old fashioned feminine Black women that you may find helpful.
  9. You want society to think Black women are just as good as other women. You are tired of the criticisms about the way Black women look. You believe that Black women would be viewed more positively if they were more feminine. You are doing this due to respectability politics so your behaviour and appearance is a political statement.  
  10. You are caving to the pressure to be more feminine. Wait a minute....While this is your choice I encourage you NOT to change for this reason. This post is not meant to control or force you to do anything. It was meant to present an option that I and others have chosen and enjoy. Don't do this if you hate it and don't want to. But if you do change for this reason do not be ashamed, it's just clothing and feminine traits are actually pretty positive. Even feminine women have some masculine traits, especially at work so you don't have to become a completely different person. If your clothing style is linked to your soul then don't change (it's superficial, relax) and if you are a tomboy and think you will die if you show a feminine trait then don't change. No one wants to see you miserable, that wouldn't be feminine anyway :)

P.S. This video of women in gowns may help you to visualize ultra feminine Black women. My Tumblr site also has many images and the more you see them the easier it will be for you to notice femininity. Focus especially on the way the women are presenting themselves (e.g., posture, smiles, expressions). Look at the images and use adjectives to describe what is feminine about the women. The most common adjective will probably be "soft" in appearance, expression, clothing, and personality (as in being open, pleasant, kind, affectionate, cooperative, friendly and the opposite of hard, inflexible, unapproachable, scary, threatening, or mean). A smile softens you and is a universal expression of softness that says 'I am a friend and I am not a threat'.

Related Articles:
What does it mean to be feminine?
What is femininity
What is femininity to today's women? "In today’s Western culture, a suggestion that women need to get in touch with their femininity is often met with disbelief and can lead to accusations of attempting to encourage women to return to the way they were back in the 1950s." LOL
The essence of femininity: Good
How American women lost their femininity
How to be feminine

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why do some Black Women Reject Self-Improvement?

Well I have been kindly asked to do guest posts on the Beyond Black and White blog! I have been a reader of the blog for quite a while because it presents good articles about Black women. The articles are well written compared to some other sites, there is variety, and the comments are WAY better than the ones on most sites and  most are legible! It does support interracial relationships but even if that isn't your cup of tea, there are great articles that aren't even about that. Who you date is your choice. I just finished my first post there and we will see how it goes :) Here is the link

Hopefully it will generate some positive discussion but I'm going to refrain from arguing for no reason. I won't feed the trolls and I hope they don't come over here but they might. Since I have no tolerance for that stuff their comments will be deleted here :) I tend to not respond to comments right away (as you may have noticed on this blog) because I think it's better to take the time to think out my responses. From experience I've found that things can be said and taken the wrong way and can cause arguments if posted immediately. Plus, keeping up with comments can be overwhelming and I'm trying to be low stress. I'll have to remember this on BBW :)


I'll warn you right now that this will sound harsh but I hope that you can hear the caring message I'm trying to send. I think Black women can do better and be better because we are much better than the world and many of us believe! We need to stop having low standards for ourselves, settling for being mediocre, and refusing to improve ourselves. If we want better lives then we have to do better. Please focus on the issues raised instead of throwing personal attacks thanks.  :) Now on to the post.  :)

Over and over again I hear women state, "Don't change yourself, just wait to find someone who likes you for you. You are perfect just the way you are". Well what if you are rude, lazy, slovenly, highly unattractive, and really unpleasant to be around? What if your spouse, friends, coworkers, and family don't like to be around you because you are so unpleasant? What if you can't get a date because men say you are not attractive and your attitude turns them off? Should people with these traits not try to improve themselves? Shouldn't they try to do better and be better?

Being polite, hard working, neat, attractive, and pleasant are virtues that many people strive for because they make them more desirable and tolerable. People learn and change everyday, and many choose to improve themselves while others stubbornly refuse. You will hate me for saying this but, don't you know that the, "Don't change yourself, just wait to find someone who likes you for you. You are perfect just the way you are," thing was said to make unattractive people with no hope feel good about themselves? Unless you look like the Elephant Man then that pleasantry wasn't meant for you sweetie.

Some people want to be desirable and tolerable while others do not seem to care. This of course is your prerogative and if you never want to improve or change then this article is not for you.  :) It gets tiring (and boring) hearing some Black women complain that others are not finding them attractive when they have been given advice, over and over, about how to become more attractive! It is also tiring when many non-Black women do things to make themselves more attractive, but some Black women refuse to do the same things and are shocked or outraged when they are not found to be attractive. Well if you want things to change then you have to change something! If you want people to find you attractive, then make yourself as attractive as possible! Doesn't that make sense? Some of you will quibble about what makes someone attractive and say that if it's subjective then how can you choose what to do to become attractive. Well I'll leave that to future post. Also, if you are already highly attractive or doing your best (within reason, nothing dangerous) then I'm definitely not talking about you. But my main point is this, if Black women want the mainstream, Black people, and the world to find them more attractive then they will just have to become more attractive!

Some women may state that they should not have to change for any reason or for anyone. Instead they insist that others should change their ideas about beauty in order to include them. Everyone else should change but they should do absolutely nothing to improve themselves!? Yes, people who find beautiful, kind, and pleasant women attractive should stop doing that and find slovenly, mean, and crude women attractive too. They must somehow suppress their automatic positive mental reaction to attractive women and reprogram their brains to find the opposite attractive. Yes, that will surely work! Actually it would only work if unattractive women were the only women left on earth and men had to settle. Unfortunately, men have plenty of attractive women to choose from so they won't have to change their standards. So while some of you wait to have that miracle happen the rest of us will just improve ourselves and enjoy the benefits.

Some people believe in self-improvement and that only those who are lazy, unmotivated, stubborn, antisocial, rebellious, or lacking self-esteem would settle for not becoming the best they can be. This article will be easily accepted by these women. These women don't want to settle for who they are now because they want to be better and know that they can be the best! Some may say that a woman who is willing to change herself has low self-esteem and lacks self-love. I say that I love myself and believe in myself so much I will succeed in becoming highly attractive, feminine, and virtuous. Wearing pretty makeup and clothes and maintaining an attractive weight will show my self-love. Let me use a metaphor, you can tell if someone loves and respects their house if they care for it, clean it and keep it neat, make it attractive, and protect it, instead of letting it get run down and filthy like houses on Hoarders. So are you keeping up your body/house or is it in need of a major overhaul?

In conclusion, I'd like to ask the, "Don't change yourself, just wait to find someone who likes you for you. You're prefect just the way you are" crowd, are you doing anything that visually shows you love yourself? Or are you doing nothing and calling that self-love? Why are you rejecting self-improvement? Are you being your best right now or could you be even better? Why are you settling for mediocrity?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Alternative to the Angry, Strong, Independent Black Woman?

This video was a long time coming. When I began this journey to become feminine I had some of the same goals and ideas I have now. But I have gotten to know myself better and I can really describe the type of woman I want to be. I had to weed through the pop culture and feminist notions and figure out that I wanted to be a modern feminine Black woman. This is basically an EBW and she embraces a modern lifestyle in some ways but in other ways she is quite old fashioned.

This is who I am. This is being liberal and conservative. This is being an individual who is different from many modern women yet the same as many traditional women and women of the past. I don't reject or accept everything from the past because the past was not perfect. I don't reject or accept everything modern because modern ideas and values are not perfect either and they have yet to be proven beneficial in the long term. I feel happy and more secure in my choice to become a modern feminine woman. I have learned so much that I am not as easily swayed about my choices as I once was. I do not feel that my values, goals, and choices are mistakes that I will regret later. I have decided who I want to be and I'm happy with the progress I have made towards becoming that person.

The video below may be controversial to some but it is honest. This is who I want to be and these are my beliefs. Basically if anyone objects to anything they are free to use Ezvid to express their own views, free media is awesome!!!  :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Respectability Politics

Every time a new Black show comes out there is a discussion about respectability politics. It is endorsed whenever someone states, "This reality show will not present a positive image of Black people. There needs to be more positive images instead of these negative stereotypes". It was happening when people were wary of President Obama associating with Beyonce and (c)rapper Jay-Z. It happened with the show Scandal because people did not like that Olivia Pope was having an affair with a married man. I happened when Halle Berry starred in the Oscar Winning film Monster's Ball where she appeared nude in a graphic love scene. It also happened with the movies Precious, the Help, big Momma's House, and Norbit. It's the reason behind my disdain for (c)rap music (among other complaints). You are endorsing respectability politics whenever you worry that other Black people will present an image to the public that is not "respectable" and believe it will make the world think Black people are not respectable in general.

I obviously believe in respectability politics. It's basically positive marketing, spin, and impression management (e.g., My Example Post). I think these things are very important if you are from a group facing many negative stereotypes, many social ills, and a history of oppression. I think that Black people still need to engage in respectability politics. Other groups like the Irish, Jewish people, and Asian people have become "respectable" because they disproved stereotypes, embraced mainstream life and goals, and took advantage of any privileges they achieved while still having Irish, Jewish, and Asian identities. Black people have not been able to do this enough, or else I would have no reason to even be writing about this. The Irish, Jewish people, and Asians can be thought of as "model minorities" but Black people have not achieved that positive designation. One would think this would have happened already but it has not in many places. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks believed in respectability politics. They dressed in suits and respectable clothing so that they would look dignified and peaceful compared to the barbaric actions of their attackers. They wanted to appear more civilized and respectable than their oppressors and I respect their approach.

If there are negative rumors and stereotypes going around then I would rather disprove those stereotypes with my behaviour instead of just being angry and hostile about it. I would rather behave in a respectable manner than purposefully be difficult and confirm every stereotype. It just makes sense to me, if you want to be respected then be respectable! If you want people to think you are feminine then be feminine. If you want people to think you are nice then be nice. If you want people to think you are smart then don't do dumb things. I don't understand people who choose to act the opposite of how they want to be perceived and act shocked, disappointed, or outraged when people perceive them negatively! Some people would rather complain that the standards are too high for them to achieve instead of making any effort whatsoever to improve. Instead of telling people to "try your best" they would rather tell them "you are already the best so don't bother trying to do anything".

I don't expect people to see past my overt behaviour, demeanor, and appearance and somehow see something else. Maybe with time they will see something else, but that will only happen with close relationships. It may not happen with your boss, coworkers, teachers, police officers, store clerks, loan officers etc. who you do not want to perceive you negatively. I think that if you want people to think of you in a certain way then you must make the choice and effort to exemplify that idealized person. What's wrong with being respectable anyway? I thought being respected was a good thing!

Well, according to this article called "No Disrespect", her problem is that someone decides what "respectable" is and this hurts the feelings of people who do not meet the respectable standard. These people are looked down upon for not being the ideal. Well...this may seem cold but really, I'm not concerned about that whatsoever. This is that whole, "let's give everyone a medal so that no one feels bad" sort of thinking. But I'm sorry, in life some people are more intelligent, beautiful, successful, creative, funny, talented, hard working, impressive etc., than others. People who have been blessed with these qualities often benefit from them in life so others strive to achieve the same standards. In many instances life demands the best and mediocre or low performance is undesirable. There are no awards for mediocrity!

Yes, it's a shame that people feel bad when they are not viewed as positively as others, but this is what's necessary to motivate people to be excellent. If everyone gets a medal and does not compete to be the best then people don't try their best. For Black people especially, given how negatively society still views us, it would be crazy to not try our best, encourage competition, and loudly applaud those who exemplify excellence. This will motivate others to do better and show the world how great we are! When Black people grow up with no successful or positive role models then they think excellence and a better life will never happen for them. This is a serious problem because then people give up trying and settle for low standards. This is not the path to success! If we face reality, instead of getting wrapped up in fairy tale land, then one can realize that society rewards the best and arguing against respectability politics is never going to achieve anything useful for Black people. It will just keep us at the bottom by making every behaviour, no matter how lazy, unintelligent, dangerous, useless, unwise, and low achieving...respectable. Lowering standards will not improve our lives or our status in the world, it will just keep people at the bottom.

Related Articles:
No disrespect: (I hate the title of this magazine!!!)"Respectability politics work to counter negative views of blackness by aggressively adopting the manners and morality that the dominant culture deems “respectable.” The approach emerged in reaction to white racism that labeled blackness as “other”—degenerate and substandard—with roots in an assimilationist narrative that prevailed in the late-19th-century United States. Black activists and allies believed that acceptance and respect for African-Americans would come by showing the majority culture “we are just like you.”

Black women in particular had their own set of stereotypes to battle, as they had long been labeled by white society as lascivious Jezebels, animalistic beasts of burden, and disreputable antiwomen. According to Dr. Sarah Jackson, a race and media studies scholar at Boston’s Northeastern University, to counter these stereotypes newly freed African-American women were forced to adhere to the sexist strictures of the Cult of True Womanhood, which positioned white women as inherently chaste, pious, childlike, submissive, and (as Sojourner Truth famously said in her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech) in need of being “helped over mud puddles.” In other words: respectable."

Respectability politics: Michelle Obama vs. Nikki Minaj
Beyonce, Obama and the politics of respectability
The onus of Black respectability
Are you choosing your circumstances or are you a victim of them?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to Look Feminine Video

Well this is a simple video about things women can do if they want to look more feminine. It is only about looking feminine not about behaviours or inner qualities. The annotations took forever!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two More New EBW Videos

I really enjoyed making these two videos. It's actually a lot of fun. I enjoy watching them because they really show how feminine and beautiful Black women can be and the femininity of Black women of the past. I've watched both several times while making them and after adding all the labels. The more I watch the more I can see how to be an Elegant Black Woman. Notice the way they smile, pose, and have pleasant (non angry) facial expressions. I can also see that many of the women are wearing shaping garments like corsets. I love these images!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New EBW YouTube Videos :)

I just made some videos for YouTube. These are just image videos because enough of my thoughts are already on this blog. I think I'll turn all of my photo posts into videos. It wasn't hard at all. I used a free program called Ezvid and then added annotations using YouTube. I think that the difference between these women and the women we see in the media will be very striking. These women look highly desirable, approachable, friendly, kind, and like high quality women. These are my fashion and beauty role models.  I hope you enjoy these :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Feminine Black Women in Music Videos

Today I thought it would be nice to just show some music videos where the women are being very feminine, flirty, girly, soft, and romantic in my opinion. It's easier to pick out femininity when you see it in action I think. Notice the wardrobe, soft hair, flowing movements, feminine and cutesy dancing, fluttering eyelashes, and pleasant facial expressions. These women are singing about romantic relationships and love mostly.

This is Sandcastle Disco by Solange Knowles. I like Solange's retro sound and I think I like her more than Beyonce. I think she is adorable in this video! I really like the song too. Notice the lyrics and the feminine message or vulnerability and needing to be treated with care.

This is another interesting video from Solange. I remember this song from the L'Oreal hair colour commercials. Notice the wardrobe in the 1960s and how it becomes increasingly more masculine and hard during the futuristic scene. I of course prefer the 1960s outfits the most because they are the most feminine.

I am really liking Corinne Bailey Rae! She is the queen of the innocent, breathless, baby voice lol! I love this song as well as Put Your Records On.

I am so mesmerized by Corinne's hair! She has been one of my hair inspirations for a while but it looks even better in motion! Gorgeous!

This is Inna Modja. I have collected many images of her on Tumblr because of her hair, smile, and feminine demeanor. Most of the song is in French but the chorus is in English. I like it :)

Ah Sade, this is one of the most feminine videos ever! Look at the way she moves, her facial expression, and listen to the lyrics. She is soooo feminine it's unbelievable.

P.S. Hey have you noticed that women in country music tend to be very feminine and not very masculine, hard, and overly sexual like the women in pop and hip hop?  They are also overwhelmingly White. I wish I didn't hate twang. fiddles, and banjos so much otherwise I would like it! I'm allergic to twang :) Plus, a lot of them sing about love and relationships and that's my favorite subject for music, since I love ballads. There is also that part of me that really notices that country music is overwhelmingly White and wonders if this isn't because of racism, just as the U.S. Republican party is also very White (I reference the U.S. because that's where most country music comes from). Maybe it's the conservative thing? I'll post a video below of popular country music.

You tell me, do they appear more feminine and less like loose women when compared to pop musicians? Well except for Gretchen Wilson who seems pretty hard. Some of the photos are sexy but not as over the top as the pop or hip hop ones. Maybe it's the facial expressions and feminine clothing? Maybe I'm so used to seeing "Black women appreciation videos" that use photos from men's magazines so the country video looks very tame. Lol, notice how feminist some of the lyrics are though! Some are not about romance and are about having masculine traits or getting revenge on a man! All the songs except three were about men. I have the feeling that Christian and gospel musicians would be more reserved and feminine too but I don't do religion or religious music.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Prude-shaming, Love-shaming, Marriage-shaming, and Tradition-shaming

Based on my readings of feminist blogs, women's blogs, media messages, and conversations with certain people I think that there is such thing as "prude-shaming", "love-shaming", "marriage-shaming", and "tradition-shaming". What all four of these acts have in common is that they shame people for doing something that was once considered the norm in the recent past (10-15 years ago). People are being shamed for things that were the norm when I was growing up. A lot of this shaming is based on the theoretical ideas of certain intellectuals or activist groups. Unfortunately what these people are endorsing has not been tested enough in Western societies or many other societies for them to say that they are "good for society" and will not cause problems in the future. There is a big difference between theory and practice and sometimes ideas that sound good on paper are disasterous in real life. Of course traditional viewpoints and lifestyles are not perfect either but at least we can compare times in the past to the present and see the problems that have arisen since non-traditional lifestyles and beliefs have become more popular.

Prude-shaming: This done to shame someone who is uncomfortable with or disgusted by a certain level of sexual activity. It may be used when someone is against sex before marriage, promiscuity, pornography, strippers, prostitution, open relationships or specific sex acts that they think are disgusting. The prude is told "don't judge" something to be disgusting or undesirable when that is exactly how they feel. Prudes are people with a lower threshold for disgust and prude-shamers have a higher threshold. Therefore, a prude could be disgusted by a specific behaviour while a prude-shamer would have a neutral or positive reaction. The prude-shamer then judges him- or herself as "correct", "enlightened", "open-minded" or in some way "better" than the prude and this is used to justify their shaming of the prude. If the prude tries to shame the prude-shamer or people who engage in a given sexual practice then they are called a "slut-shamer" or "sex-shamer" (e.g., Jenna Marbles incident).

The problem with prude-shaming is that people are made to question their disgusted feelings and values and pressured to condone things that they actually don't like. In the worst case, people will engage in behaviours they don't like because everyone else says those behaviours are acceptable and they are "abnormal" if they don't agree (the basis for peer/media pressure).

Love-shaming: This is done to shame someone who believes in love, is looking for love, or who spends a lot of time pursuing and thinking about romantic relationships. This is done to men and women who make any effort to find a romantic partner (e.g., flirting, going out to meet people, approaching people, online dating, matchmakers, reading dating books etc.). These people may be ridiculed and told love doesn't exist, relationships are for suckers, it's better to be single, you are so desperate, you must have low self-esteem if you need someone so bad, all you need is yourself, etc. They are discouraged from looking for love and told that there is something wrong with them that needs to be fixed (e.g., judging them by saying they have low self-esteem, daddy issues, no life, desperate, no goals, no career focus, etc.). They are told that love is just something in books and movies and  they are judged to be being foolish, naive, silly, immature for caring so much about it. Women who appear to be very concerned with relationships are ridiculed for not having any depth (e.g., Taylor Swift is ridiculed for singing so much about relationships). Love-shaming is often done by people who have never experienced love, those who have loved and lost, and those who prefer relationships without love (e.g., casual sex relationships). 

In the worst case, people will give up on finding love, settle for whatever relationship they can get, or allow others to dictate the terms of relationships (e.g., I will use your body but I will not love you, and you will accept this because that's a normal relationship and love doesn't exist).

Marriage-shaming: This is done to shame someone who wants to get married, thinks highly of marriage, or thinks more people should get married. These people are told statistics about how many marriages end in divorce and about couples and singe people who are very happy without being married. They are told that marriage is an oppressive and antiquated practice based on the patriarchal ownership of women and has nothing to do with real love. Marriage-shaming often takes the form of warning people not to get married (especially men) and that marriage ruins relationships. Marriage-shamers love to tell people that they grew up in or know people who grew up in single-parent households who turned out fine so there is no need to get married. Marriage-shaming is frequently done when someone criticizes others for not getting married before having children or blames the decline of marriage for any problem in society. Marriage-shamers often uphold non-traditional relationships (i.e., relationships that are not marriages between 1 man and 1 woman) as being just as acceptable to society, healthy, fulfilling, common, and beneficial to children.

In the worst case, people will not ask for marriage when that is what they really want. Or they will stay with partners who refuse to marry them (because the partner doesn't really want to commit and gives normalized reasons why marriage is unnecessary). These people will feel disappointed and that they were not good enough to marry (e.g., thinking they will never get married because they are Black women :( ). People will not feel the need to get married, marriage rates will further decline, and being unmarried will become the norm. 

Tradition-shaming: Prude-shaming, love-shaming, and marriage-shaming can also be considered types of tradition-shaming. Tradition-shaming occurs when someone is shamed for a belief or lifestyle that is traditional and has been acceptable for a long time. Disgust with promiscuity and certain sex acts is traditional and present in many religions. Belief in love and having romantic relationships is also traditionally accepted (but in some places arranged marriages are just as/even more acceptable). Belief in marriage is of course very traditional all around the world and in many religions. Tradition-shaming also occurs when anyone is shamed for endorsing and embracing a traditional feminine appearance, traditional feminine activities (e.g., cooking, sewing), or gender roles. Tradition-shaming is often applied to people who try to maintain their cultural roots or those who are religious. Tradition-shamers judge that there is something wrong with those who uphold tradition and call those people old-fashioned, brainwashed, non-thinking, closed-minded, afraid of change, sexist, zealots etc. because they are not following newer trends or beliefs. Tradition-shamers believe in modern beliefs and lifestyles and judge them to be superior to those of the past.

In the worst case, people will abandon their beliefs and traditions in favor of modern lifestyles that have no track record of being better for most people or beneficial to society . Instead of doing or asking for what they want people will suppress these desires and do/accept whatever other people say is "the new normal" (e.g., Many men and women are settling for just "hooking up" when they really want relationships because the media keeps saying traditional dating is dead. Women will settle for not getting married because the media says marriage is becoming rare. Women will accept open relationships if the media says open relationships can be healthy and satisfying. Women will put up with being "baby mamas" if everyone says it's acceptable and fathers are unnecessary).

The purpose of this post was to show that shaming goes both ways. Progressive people shame and judge conservative and traditional people for their views. This shaming and judging has become very prominent with the media, intellectuals, and activism groups (e.g., feminists) who become outraged when traditional people shame and judge them back. They make up terms like "slut-shaming" and "fat-shaming" when someone states their being promiscuous or very overweight is unattractive for them or romantic partners they are seeking. People are shamed for having opinions that are not super liberal and modern. Just as these modern thinkers call traditional people closed-minded, small thinking, or brainwashed, traditional people call modern thinkers irresponsible, unrealistic, lacking self-control, and brainwashed by the media and activists!

Who is the real free-thinker with strong beliefs that will not be swayed by the opinions of others? Is it the modern person who follows every trend and thinks we should just accept and adapt to whatever other people choose to do? Or is it the traditional person who compares the past to the present, thinks some things in the past were better, and fights against the loud voices of those who want to abandon everything we have learned in the past? Traditional people have their books and theories and modern/progressive people have their books and theories. Both groups JUDGE their views to be better than the other group and they both SHAME the other group for their views.

I think it is abnormal to not have any opinions or values and people who say "I never judge" and "I accept everything and everyone" are lacking self-awareness. They are unaware of their biases and preferences but you can pick these things out by looking at the way they live and the choices they make for themselves. Beware of people who say they support lifestyles that they have never engaged in and have NO DESIRE to engage in. Ask them why because that will reveal their biases and preferences. This is a big red flag! For example, some feminists say they will support any woman (including a friend's) sexual lifestyle even though they have never engaged in that lifestyle, and have no desire to do so. If they have no desire to engage in the lifestyle under any circumstance then they do not really approve of that lifestyle! If they can not list reasons why they think that lifestyle is valuable, good, justified etc. then they do not approve of that lifestyle! If under different circumstances they would not engage in that lifestyle (e.g., no one would find out, no danger, trusted people, nothing to lose), then they do not approve. I liken this to you asking someone if doing A is a good idea, they say sure, you then ask them to do A with you and they say "No way I'm not crazy!" These people will NEVER give you honest and good advice about important life choices because they will nod their heads and support ANYTHING! Should I quit school? Sure! Should I be a stripper? Sure! Should I join the circus? Sure! Should I sleep with the entire football team? Sure! Do you see how useless and potentially destructive that is? They either don't think or they don't care to protect you from harm. True friends and family members would never do this. They would talk to you about your decision, make sure you were informed about the pros and cons, and discuss alternatives. Don't bother seeking approval for people with no standards, you may as well talk to a brick wall.