Tangled Up in Femininity
Some can barely walk in spiked heels that hurt. Some relentlessly guard against short skirts offering a quick flash. Some shift their weight around in corset-like contraptions. Others rearrange their faces, breasts and thighs under the knife.
Many squirm into a one-size-fits-all prescription that a husband and children will be 100% fulfilling.
- Dress sexy, but not slutty, or you’re asking for it. How do you know if you’ve crossed the line? Well, if any men act inappropriately toward you, you must have shown too much boob. Better luck next time!
- Buy yourself one drink right off the bat, so it looks like you’re an independent-minded woman who isn’t trying to get free shit in return for being pretty. I mean, you are doing that, but you don’t want to make it obvious. Men might be turned off if the gendered exchange were made explicit.
In other words, don’t be who you are, be as you are expected, and walk a fine line on top of egg shells.
It all reminds me of a scene from “Brave,” as Natalie Wilson over at Ms. describes it:
Brave also offers a funny take on gender as performance when the very prim and proper Elinor is transformed into a hulking bear with a decidedly non-feminine body. Despite her new furry form, Elinor still “performs” femininity, prancing and posing and doing her best to have “good manners” with her unwieldy claws as she eats berries and fish.
So many of us jam ourselves into straightjackets. But why?
This is the “patriarchal bargain” that Lisa Wade, over at Sociological Images, calls a choice to accept roles that disadvantage women in exchange for whatever power they can wrest from the system. They gain advantages but leave the system intact.
Don’t ever stop to question a system that tells women that trading on our appearance, faking interest in people, excluding friends from social outings because they might be annoying to random men you’ve never met, and being manipulative are all totally empowering and socially-acceptable ways to behave as long as ladies get a fairly low-cost item for free in return for our efforts.
Yes. Never question the system.
Because the free drinks are so worth it.
Posted on September 5, 2012, in body image, feminism, gender, objectification, psychology, sexism, women and tagged body image, feminism, gender, objectification, psychology, sexism, women. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.