To quote Julia Serano:
Traditional sexism functions to make femaleness and femininity appear subordinate to maleness and masculinity... [F]emale and feminine attributes are regularly assigned negative connotations and meanings in our society. An example of this is the way that being in touch with and expressing one's emotions is regularly derided in our society...Sometimes, the article hits on those points:
[T]raditional sexism also creates the impression that certain aspects of feminity exist for the pleasure or benefit of men ... After all, feminine self-presentation tends to highly correlate with a more general desire to surround oneself with beautiful or aesthetically pleasing objects and materials - whether in decorating one's home or adorning one's body. (Whipping Girl, 326-328)
As a card-carrying "feminine-ist," I am here to tell you that feeling sexy is what helps me to be my most powerful and successful self, and being powerful and successful also helps me feel damn sexy! As "feminine-ists," we definitely don't need to make the choice between feminine or powerful and successful. We should and must try to embrace both choices simultaneously.But then it shames women who aren't feminine:
I see too many women these days rushing around trying to do it all, but meanwhile they're not being it all! They're not being their fullest, best feminine selves. Instead, they're being tougher than they'd like to be as well as more exhausted, strident and irritable, thereby feeling unattractive inside and out. All while suffering from guilt over the stuff they did not manage to squeeze into their over-booked schedules.And tries to center the women's movement around men:
With the word "feminism," it might have been embarrassing for a man to say he was a supporter because it might sound like he was admitting to supporting of a group of controlling, bitchy women. But with new pro-sexiness, pro-sweetness, pro-balance words like "feminine-ist" and "feminine-ism," what's not for a man to love?So, to re-cap: feminine is "best". Feminism is about "controlling, bitchy women" who are not sexy, sweet, or balanced. Advocacy for women's rights is only significant when it reinforces norms and caters to men.
Let's see.... what are we missing? Can't forget some good old transmisogyny:
True story: My friend David got mugged at a bank machine by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman.So, the writer devalues and dismisses and others folks on the trans feminine spectrum, and implicitly essentializes femininity as the sole domain of cis women. Oh, and some ungendering thrown in there for kicks. Awesome.
"Actually, it might have been a transvestite," David corrected himself.
"It's okay if you were mugged by a woman," I told him, smiling.
Now embarrassed, David said, "The more I think about it, the more I'm sure he was a transvestite."
I laughed but was also intrigued by why David would be so embarrassed to be mugged by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman, but not a man.
"Feminism" has a great deal of baggage and issues in too many areas to mention, and femininity is devalued. But, let's not center it around traditional femininity in an effort to shore up oppositional sexism and cissexism. Thanks, though.