Friday, February 22, 2008

In Defense of Femininity

So yesterday morning I woke up and felt great. It was the first night all week I'd gotten a decent amount of sleep, Danielle had gotten off to her morning class ok, and the sun was shining. So I took a long shower, spent time blowdrying and straightening my hair, wore a cute dress, did my makeup, and went to class feeling even better.

But then, in my gender and sexuality class, we started talking about femme lesbians (who basically separate femininity from heterosexuality by looking feminine in a sometimes exaggerated way), and the professor put the word femininity on the board and had us list all the things that we associate with the word, or what we think when we see a woman walking down the street wearing a dress and heels and all dolled-up: frivolity, weakness, self-hatred, passivity, needing male desire, constraint, objectification, confirming to the normative, not serious. Then she had the class list how the femme version of femininity is different; it's about choice, power, resignfying a certain look for their own means. And I'm sitting in the back, the only one in the room wearing a dress, thinking, "Ok, so just because I like men that means I'm not allowed to look feminine without being a bad feminist? That fucking sucks."

But I thought about it some more; I have just as much right as a femme woman to take pleasure in looking good, to take care of my body and put thought into how I present myself to the world. I don't feel good about myself when I roll out of bed, put my greasy hair in a ponytail, and go to class in sweats and an old t-shirt. If dressing a certain way makes me feel more confident in facing the world, then I have the right to dress that way without judgement. Ok?! Back off, Gender and Sexuality majors!

I had barely left the classroom when I thought, "I bet here's a blog post in this..." So in honor of ladies like Christina Aguilera and Dita Von Teese who probably take 3 hours to leave the house every morning (and there's nothing wrong with that!), a celebration of femininity.

Guys sometimes ask how we can wear such ridiculous high heels-- aren't they uncomfortable, how do you walk, why do you spend so much money on something that goes on your foot? The answer to all these questions can be answered by Chrisitian Louboutin:

Pleated Platform Pump, $875 at Bergdorf Goodman.

When Diana von Furstenberg first started selling her iconic wrap dresses, her credo was, "Feel like a woman. Wear a dress." And she later married a prince, so I'd say her advice is worth listening to.

All from Net a Porter:
Roberto Cavalli Ruched Satin Dress, $1,482.

Celine Ruched Bodice Dress, $1,575.

3.1 Phillip Lim Silk pleated Grecian dress, $795.

What what should you wear underneath your dress?
A corset, obviously!
Talma corset by Agent Provocateur, $315.

Danielle thought these flower purses were a little too much, but I love orchids so I'm posting it. Red Orchid purse, $85.

Do you guys wear perfume? I wish I could be one of those women who put it on every day and have a signature scent, so that years later she'll run into an old lover, and as he leans in to kiss her on the cheek he'll catch a whiff of scent and all those memories of slow dancing in jazz clubs and kissing in the rain will come flooding back, his eyes will mist up and she'll gently lay her hand upon his cheek and say, "Darling, it's alright. I was just too much woman for you," and then walk away without a single look back. Unfortunately, most mornings I forget to put perfume on. But when I do, it's Falling in Love by Philosophy, $40. Philosophy, which really likes it's touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo blurbs, says this fragrance was "created to give women a tool for helping balance their femininity with their sensuality." They also say, "you need this product if you like lacy lingerie but don't wear it-- now you can!" Philosophy expects so much of the people who use it's products, and I find it both annoying and endearing.

The next beauty must-have is a good lip balm. Now, I never wear lipstick since I'm bad at putting it on and I always accidentally lick it off (aka, I'm a child). But I think a little lip balm can make you feel just as feminine, especially if you're using Smith's Rosebud Salve, $6. This stuff is a huge cult favorite-- 9 out of 10 times I see a girl around my age pull some balm out of her bag and put it on, it's this stuff. It's colorless, lightly scented, not sticky, and comes in that sweet old-timey tin. Plus, it's light enough that when the back of my hands are super dry I can just dab a little on my skin and problem solved. It may work just as well as your drugstore Chapstick, but using it will make you fifty times more feminine.

I have one more beauty tip: curl your eyelashes. I know eyelash curlers look super medieval, and it's scary to put a metal tool so close to your eyes, but curling your eyelashes before leaving the house in the morning will make you legimately bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Also, true story: senior year of high school I went with Danielle and Garrett to Sephora to get prom makeup, and both of us girls got the justifiably famous Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler, $19. I tried it out in the car on the way home, and later that night the three of us went swimming (God, I miss Arizona). And even after jumping into the pool, my eyelashes were still curled! Shu Uemura is a master.

So that's my argument in defense of femininity. Still not convinced? Just look at Grace Kelly. Case closed.

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