Femininity is a dying quality. Women today seem to feel like they need to behave like men to survive, to survive. You see, women are in survival mode. They don’t have fathers or brothers or boyfriends looking out for them or protecting them or guarding them in any way. Women are having to be independent to survive.
I’m not going to say this is all men’s fault. The second wave feminist movement started this mess when they said women don’t need or want men and then convinced a whole slew of women that this was true. As these women got older, they realized it wasn’t true, but it created a generation of men who leave the women in their lives to their own devices. It’s a sort of the chicken and the egg dilemma.
The result, however, is still difficult for women. Women now feel like they have to be strong and independent to survive, because no man will step up to protect them (and when I say man, I don’t just mean a boyfriend or husband, but fathers and brothers, too). Then men wonder why women behave the way they do: they’re unfeminine. Women are serious, closed off, defensive. Some women have started to pride themselves in their ability to be one of the boys, while other women struggle being in survival mode just to make it through the work day. And there’s no off and on switch for this mode of living, especially if you’re unaware you’re doing it.
Working in a male-dominated field in the hard sciences, I see this with the women I work with. They carry themselves like men, talk like men, and the ones they end up treating the worst are other women. I have a manager who is very much the quintessential one of the boys. I’m very girly. I love presenting myself as a woman and not being sloppy. I’m only 4’11” (151cm) and 105ish lbs (46kg) and need help reaching things or lifting things. The response I often get from her for this is beratement. “We need to toughen you up,” “we need to work on those muscles,” and all these comments about how I should be more independent and, essentially, more masculine.
This bothers me. Why are women putting more pressure on other women to be this way? Why do women put this masculine expectation on other women? What is so wrong about a woman needing to ask for help and showing she is vulnerable and not completely independent? It doesn’t bother me to have to ask for help. Why does it bother her?
Growing up, I also received a lot of these types of comments from my dad. “I’m trying to toughen you up, make you stronger, make you more independent.” Why do I have to be independent? Why is relying on others so bad? Isn’t that what makes women women is their relationship with people? Yet it seems today women are more competitive with each other than men are–and worse, women are competitive with men! This is not how women fundamentally function. It’s been ingrained into their minds that this is the only way to “survive”. And most women are in survival mode right now. Is it self-inflicted? Partly. Is it a result of men not being masculine? Partly. At the end of the day, there’s no point in laying blame on anyone. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.
I think it needs to start with women. Stop putting other women down for being okay with their femininity and accepting themselves as women. Stop being competitive with women, and for your own sake, stop being competitive with men (men don’t like this). Learn to be vulnerable and accept help. Women in their heart of hearts want to be protected, but unless women learn to be vulnerable and show they need protection, no one will ever step up and say, “I’ll protect you!” But as long as women are going after other women for trying to return to their feminine core, this won’t happen. What I really can’t understand is why have women become woman’s greatest enemy ? Shouldn’t we be supporting each other?
Once women can learn to accept their own femininity and their own core as women, I think both men and women will be happier as individuals and in relationships. Once women start acting like women again, men can start acting like men again. At least, this is my hope.