Being a woman is the most AWESOME brilliant lotto win in the universe… am I right?
I LOVE being a woman. I love what women stand for. I love what women accomplish. I love our differences from men. I am SO grateful I get to be a woman in this lifetime.
And it’s because I celebrate women that I don’t want to see ANYTHING used to keep us playing small.
That’s why I worry when I see women being told they’re not “feminine enough.”
If you are a woman, you ALREADY embody everything that makes women so absolutely amazing.
You don’t need to DO more. You just need to realize it!
I’m here to celebrate everything YOU do as a woman that you take for granted. You may not realize how incredible your body is, how incredible your heart is, the incredible power you possess simply by being a woman.
It FAR outstrips the paltry gifts of fake femininity.
What is Fake Femininity?
The internet is FULL of advice on how to be a more feminine woman.
You should sit back and let him chase you. You should express your physicality and sensuality. You should be receptive and surrender. You should be soft and gentle. You should take long baths and wear flowing gowns. You should take care with your appearance. You should be playful but never compete with him. You should always make sure he knows he’s the man.
Now, you COULD do all of those things…
But let’s be clear about what you’re doing.
You’re performing femininity for the purpose of getting a guy.
You’re molding yourself to a certain stereotype because you’ve been told that’s what men want.
This is what I call “fake femininity.”
It’s a performance. It’s a means to an end.
It can be a very effective strategy to catch men’s attention, but it only gives you power over men.
It does not make you strong.
It does not unleash your gifts.
And it pales in comparison to the power you have a woman.
Step into Your True Feminine Power
TRUE femininity is different.
Although, to be honest, I’m only using that word because it’s the word that pops up when I do a search. 😉
So let’s not use the word femininity. Let’s find something else that has a little less baggage. How about this?
REAL womanhood is different.
Real womanhood is when you fully embody who you are as a woman in every respect.
As a woman, you are powerful. You are a miracle. You use what’s inside of you to lift up the world.
Here are 3 more ways real womanhood compares to fake femininity.
#1. FAKE femininity is power over men.
REAL womanhood is the power to help and heal.
The incredible storyteller Annette Simmons recently released her 5th book, Drinking from a Different Well: How Women’s Stories Change What Power Means in Action.
She collected stories that men and women tell about power. Then she compared them to see if there were any differences between how men see power and how women see power.
She found that men tend to see power in competitive terms. They spoke about winning, beating the competition, and coming out on top. More power for others meant less power for themselves.
Women are more likely to see power in collaborative terms. They discussed the way they used their power (or discovered their power) to help others, protect the vulnerable, and build community.
I was reminded of one of my old college texts, Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice.
Gilligan was one of the first to suggest that women make moral decisions in a different way to men. Women tend to look at how relationships are affected by their decisions, rather than relying on abstract moral principles.
This “ethics of care” is characteristic of us women. We tend to feel concerned about the way people, communities, and our world will be affected, not just the bottom line.
(Now, none of this is to say that individual men never feel that way, too! We’re talking about gender here in VERY broad brush strokes.)
But if you care a lot about people and you think about how our actions today affect the world we live in, you may have never realized that THIS is one of your superpowers as a woman.
Every time you see someone who’s struggling … every time you speak up for someone who can’t speak for themselves … every time you introduce ethical concerns into the decision-making process … you are standing in your TRUE feminine strength.
#2. FAKE femininity is how you look.
REAL womanhood is the miracle of your body.
So much advice for women focuses on our appearance.
If we want to be feminine, we should wear dresses. We should put on heels. We should wear makeup. We should get a blowout. We should show some cleavage. Or some legs. Never both.
Women’s bodies have been policed enough!
Your essence as a woman does NOT lie in your looks.
It resides in this extraordinary body you’ve been given the gift of inhabiting for a lifetime.
Let’s just take one example. Boobs.
Cleavage is a very clear sign of femininity. The bigger the better. If you want to be a feminine woman, you’d better play those babies up!
But the point of boobs is NOT to turn on men. That’s not why we have them.
The point of boobs is to feed babies.
For me? That’s a lot more incredible than how the girls look in a bra.
The fact that your lady lumps can create milk that changes in consistency based on a baby’s needs is just mind-blowing.
Your body CAN DO THAT. It’s built with these miraculous powers that men can’t even dream of.
The fact that a guy can look at your body and feel turned on? That’s small change.
#3. FAKE femininity is having all eyes on you.
REAL womanhood is the actions you take and impact you make.
Back in college, I did a project on drag kings. I learned that masculinity is a lot harder to perform than femininity.
Drag queens are masters at performing femininity. They’re more feminine than most women! They get dressed up, they put on high heels, they put on sparkly makeup, and they sashay down the street like everyone is watching—because they are.
Performing masculinity is more difficult, because the very same artifice that feminizes the drag queen makes the drag king camp. Masculinity should look natural. So a drag king who wants to pass learns to be understated. Less is more.
Doing the project made me think about the ways I perform femininity.
I feel expected to dress up whenever I go out. I put on earrings and lipstick and a bright coat. I don’t just throw a sweatshirt on over my leggings.
Do I really think that I’m letting people down if I don’t walk out of my house looking put together?
I know where I got that idea.
I grew up in a time where there was still this idea that you always put on nice underwear when you went out in case you got into a car accident. It’s this idea that people have the right to look at you and judge you and decide whether you measure up as a woman.
Guys just get to BE. Girls have to perform for the camera.
It was wonderful when I finally got to the stage in my life when I had been so many places and done so many things that I knew I was so much more than what people saw. I had worlds inside me.
Now I know that the only thing left after we leave this world is the way we affected others. It’s the memories they have of us, the stories they tell of us, and the impact we made on their lives.
So let’s keep our focus on what matters.
Let’s do what women do best.
Let’s get out there and make a difference in the world. Let’s celebrate this gift we’ve been given. Let’s live bold and proud.
Because all those people telling you to be more feminine and wear more dresses and smile and be polite? They want you in a box—the same box they’ve chosen to live in—and it doesn’t fit you anymore.
Stay strong. Stay proud. Stay brilliant.