Sunday, March 4, 2012

Girlify my love

I do not generally consider myself a girly girl, and I do not generally consider myself overly feminine.  My winter "uniform" is jeans, v-neck sweater over contrasting tank top, and ballet flats or Uggs.  No makeup.  Hair straight down and medium brown-blonde the way nature made it.

But this is really and issue of 1. Money and 2. it is fucking FREEZING in Boston in the winter.

But really-- my childhood bedroom may have been tricked out in pink and unicorns and white furniture when I was six, but somewhere along the way, I turned into a girl who hated pink, who refused to wear skirts or especially dresses, and who rejected things like cheerleading and flute for speech and debate and the trumpet.

Somehow, I came full circle.  Today I went out wearing a coral-orange dress that looks like it came out of Mad Men, awesome platform sandals, pearls, and giant white sunglasses. .. to go study at Starbucks.  I am somehow, unabashadly in love with feminity.  So, why is it that I love these things?  

1.  I like fitting into the sterotypically feminine role.

2. The aesthetic of the clothing flatters me (I think)

3.  It stands out among jeans and a tshirt (sadly, my more usual summer wear)

4.  I like the dichotomy of feeling all pretty because I choose it, but then getting down to doing serious brain work.

So.  Why do I like fitting the image of a girly chick, when my language and behavior, while "cute" according to my roomate and others, aren't really extremely girly?  I swear, I argue, I generally think I'm right.  (um, we all do, right?  right?)  Part of it is a form of performance-- I'm taking control of my image, of my appearance.  And, as much as we like to deny it or say it doesn't matter, people DO judge on appearance.  Looking feminine can cause people to... missevaluate you, underestimate you.  And, whether its good or bad, I've always found that being underestimated brings with it a special kind of satisfaction when you get to show people that no, you actually know what you're talking about.  But feminity also gets a strange kind of respect-- maybe its because of the effort.

I've heard the argument that choosing to be feminine reduces the battles that were fought by women breaking out of feminine roles.  But I think that argument reduces things too far.  I don't think anyone should be forced to fit into certain gender roles-- which means that I think choosing to fit some aspects of certain gender roles is not, in itself, bad.  When I wear skirts and dresses, I do so with the full knowledge that I am either sexualizing myself or "cute"ifying myself in the eyes of others.  But, its a respresentation of how I see myself as well-- someone who is comfortable iwth the fact that others can view those aspects of me, but still confident that my other qualities will come through as well

I think more of people than to assume that their full judgement of me will be based on my appearance-- but I still acknowledge that it does matter, especially in first impressions.
Still to come:  Why I wear highheels and how I reconcile their inherently crippling nature, why I like to bake, cook, and clean and feel comfortable doing so for those I care about, and why, most of the time, as much as I love to dress up, I'm found in jeans.

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