Returning to Femininity, on your Terms
By Rebekah Buege
The in-crowd, the popular table, the “cool kids”...it’s nice to feel included. Outside the lunchroom, into adulthood, the fear of being on the outside follows us around. A normal response to feeling excluded is rejecting the idea altogether.
I did this in most areas of my life. No call back? It was a stupid play anyway. No second date? I guess I didn’t like him that much. The pattern of denial continued as I eventually “gave up” on everything categorized as feminine because I felt a slight sting of rejection.
Beauty and femininity seemed so rigid.
Pink cheeks, blonde hair, glittery high heels. Like if that was the only way to be beautiful and feminine, I guess I didn’t belong.
I was fully prepared to smash the patriarchy, never wear a bra again, and let my body hair grow wild. How freeing that idea felt when I first rejected femininity. Who needs your expectations? I do what I want. But slowly I realized, that’s not a solution either, because I still felt excluded...but now with the added weight of denial. It felt unfair, like someone was excluding me from a game I was designed to play and enjoy.
As I tip-toed back into the idea of femininity, I realized I was still confined by my new set of “rejection” rules. Do you feel this? The truth is, denying myself something because I’m expected to want it is just as confining as wanting something solely because I’m expected to have it.
Revisiting my own expectations of femininity.
Something seemed off. Any features we naturally have as women should, by definition, be feminine. So the issue couldn’t be with how we define femininity, but in how we expect it to look.
There can’t be rigid rules with creativity, we need freedom of expression. True freedom means being able to choose, at any given moment. It’s not swapping out one set of rules for another. Applying that to how I express my personal style meant the only rules I had to follow were set by my intuition guiding me.
Where do you feel you have “rules” around your style?
The only reason we expect pink and glitter when we think “feminine” is because that’s what culture shows us femininity looks like. It’s our conditioning. But what if we feel like creating something else? What if in our moods and feelings, we want to express something dark or bold? That’s also femininity.
Practice free expression, not forced expression.
I felt like in order to be feminine I had to smell like a flower, wear high heels and pink lipstick. I felt like blondes were the most feminine because their hair was bright. My dark hair, lower voice, and flat chest didn’t feel feminine, I felt like the cards were stacked against me...but I knew that wasn’t true.
It got me thinking, if I weren’t influenced by ideas of femininity or masculinity, how would I express myself each day?
What if all women started asking themselves that, instead of asking what people might think?
We are creative beings by nature. Our femininity shouldn’t be fixed or confined to even our own expectations. Maybe you’ve had your personal style for years and you love it - so what’s the harm in trying something totally new? You can always go back to how it was, but if you’re not experimenting we stop growing.
Femininity asks to not resign to rules, but to keep experimenting with them. At any age and any time in your life! Creative expression is what’s feminine, the way it comes out is completely up to you. Not for the approval or enjoyment of others, but for the sake of creation itself.
I’m inviting you to experiment, express, and create beauty for yourself. That’s what gave me freedom to explore, create, and rediscover my own femininity.
How to explore your femininity
The best way I’ve found to celebrate existing as a woman is to create, however that feels most natural to me, on any given day. It’s the freedom in letting go of needing my beauty to be approved and validated by someone else and bringing joy back into femininity and expression back to beauty.
Ask yourself these questions,
If I weren’t influenced by ideas of femininity or masculinity, how would I express myself each day?
What’s something I’m telling myself I “can’t” or “shouldn’t” wear? Try wearing it and see how you actually feel, then decide for yourself if that’s part of how you feel feminine.
With love + social distancing,