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Femininity 2

January 4, 2010

Femininity is the way-of-being imposed on female human beings by males.  It is enforced inferiority, deference, and sexual availability.  It is what males need to believe is inherent to femaleness, in order to feel as though there is competence and nobility in parasitism.  Femininity is the consequence of male supremacy on our psyches.  And, so, heterosexism confers privilege on those women who adopt the male image of femaleness, and punishes those who reject it.  It is both a result and perpetuation of the oppression of the female.

Why, then, any lesbian, or any feminist claiming to oppose heterosexism, for that matter, would celebrate femininity as natural, fun, and sexually titillating is beyond me.  Willingness to conform to the standard set by males is anything but a natural state; it’s anti-female.  Further, the expectation that femininity should garner the same rewards that it wins in the heterosexist world – admiration, the center of sexual attention, visibility in print and on tv – in lesbian relationships and communities is anti-lesbian.   When heterosexual norms hold sway in lesbian communities, it is a dilution of lesbianism.  As well, when lesbians have always been targeted for their rejection of femininity, feminine lesbians put those who have rejected femininity at increased risk, while still expecting group membership and acceptance.  If all lesbians rejected femininity, it would add to the numbers of visibly lesbian women and improve the safety of lesbians who have always rejected it, since they were little girls.

19 Comments
  1. joankelly6000 permalink
    January 5, 2010 5:49 pm

    am still sick and crabby and catching up at work – just wanted to say I appreciated this post and will comment when I’m less challenged on the coherent-thought front.

  2. atheistwoman permalink
    January 5, 2010 8:29 pm

    Yes, and femininity is something I really need to work on (doing less of). You rejected femininity as a little girl? That’s incredible.

  3. January 6, 2010 2:04 am

    No, I didn’t reject it as a little girl, but plenty of girls do, and they’re oppressed by those of us who don’t.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      January 6, 2010 4:51 am

      Well yes.

  4. January 6, 2010 1:04 pm

    Completely agree. This reminded me of when I was little, how I outright refused to wear a dress and the battles that were fought over my refusal to wear a dress. Dresses are ridiculous and impractical. You can sit properly, play, run, climb trees, or do any serious playing in a frilly dress (that has to be kept clean, too). Femininity was very much forced and imposed upon me (as it is upon all girls), and I find it hard to see it in any other way than as an imposition, and as a form of control.

    I feel like I do a lot of femininity work these days, but actually the only thing I really do is try to get rid of my facial hair, which I feel I don’t have any choice about doing. No one, but no one, accepts women with lots of facial hair – aka beards. It takes up a fair bit of time, which is why I feel that I do a lot of beauty work – and I resent it hugely.

  5. dierdriu permalink
    January 6, 2010 10:32 pm

    I’ve had to ponder this one for a while. Because I think there are a lot of very valid points here, but I want to be a bit of a spoiler and also disagree slightly. I may have a different experience than others because my mom was a Feminist but when I was being raised, we were taught, as girls, that there were lots of different ways to be feminine. My sister was a rough and tumble kid, didn’t like wearing dresses, was a FABULOUS tree-climber and an amazing swimmer. She didn’t play with dolls much except maybe to write on their faces and did NOT like to sit still or hang around the house. I was a quieter, bookish child, who was scared to do most of the stuff my little sister did, read the dictionary and kept my dolls in impeccably tidy fashion. My parents never told either of us that we weren’t girlish. Other people might have called my sister a tomboy, but my Mom shut them down pretty fast and reminded them she was just as much a girl as anyone. The same seemed to apply to my girl cousins on both sides of my family, we were all finding out in our own unique way what feminine meant for us.

    Consequently, I have a pretty wide range of what is feminine. I have been blessed with many lesbian friends over the years and they have expressed femininity in their own ways, but have never seemed “un-feminine” to me. Even my dear friend who wears nothing but jeans and hockey shirts, worships the Toronto Maple Leafs and has no interest in anything remotely domestic (except being the best aunt ever to her nieces and nephews) still seems feminine to me. Some might call her butch, i think that’s up to her to decide. She’s still womanly to me!

    So I guess my point is this, rather than saying we have to reject femininity, maybe we should reject the definition forced on us by people who have no right to define us! No man gets to define what feminine is! Only the members of a group can define the parameters of that group. My feminine includes my Hockey fan friend, my little sister; now a mom to two boys, my gay teenage daughter who likes to wear layer upon layer of black petticoats with her army boots, and my twentysomething friends who make me laugh by doing my hair before we go out dancing. It includes my Mom, a retired nurse and union activist who started my feminist journey early by telling the hospital my Dad would be present at my birth, policy or not, and then breastfed me despite everyone’s shock and disdain. And it includes me, a woman often called bitch because she speaks her mind and yet also called “Mommy I love you”, a woman who loves six-inch heels and heavy duty winter boots, a woman who is better at taping drywall than her husband but also likes to wear frilly aprons on occasion. All of us a woman, all of us feminine, all of us beautiful and valid and in need of celebration!

    • January 7, 2010 3:22 am

      Dierdriu, your response makes it seem as if you think “unfeminine” is an insult; that’s the only reason I can think of for insisting that activities and preferences denied to female people can/should be considered feminine too. It also seems you think that femininity and femaleness are inherently linked. Why else should a woman have to be feminine in order to be considered womanly in the first place?

      I’m not interested in re-purposing femininity. I’m only interested in freeing women from its oppression. I understand that your sister wasn’t made to feel un-female for not being traditionally feminine, but that’s a very uncommon experience. In the wider world, unfeminine girls are oppressed by males, feminine women, and feminine girls, who are all privileged at their expense. Instead of attempting to broaden the scope of femininity so that less traditionally feminine girls can get in on the privilege of being seen as “real” girls (which denies that privilege is only ever gotten at someone else’s expense), it’s best to dismantle femininity altogether; then only our femaleness determines the legitimacy of our girlhood.

  6. joankelly6000 permalink
    January 7, 2010 3:20 am

    So I think it’s not just the being-sick-and-crabby part that has made it hard for me to comment more on this. Here comes a jumble of stuff, because much of this feels jumbled up in my brain:

    “It is what males need to believe is inherent to femaleness, in order to feel as though there is competence and nobility in parasitism.”

    This is probably my favorite definition of the gender hierarchy that I have ever come across.

    then there’s the part I really do not have language for, although I know you and I have talked about this before and you certainly always had coherent language on the subject. 🙂

    But so there’s like the idea of gender essentialism, which in my understanding is just another word for the system of gender hierarchy (enforced ideas of what is “woman/feminine” and what is “man/masculine” where woman is created to serve man). But it gets mis-used to mean “sex essentialism,” which confusingly does *not* get used by people to mean “the system of sex hierarchy,” although there is one of those as well – instead it gets used to mean “you talked out loud about your feeling that there are biological differences between female and male bodied people, and that some of those differences, in your view, have implications socially, not just at the doctor’s office, and therefore you are trying to force every person into two small boxes, male or female, because of your bigoted binary beliefs.”

    What I feel tongue-tied about is that – fuck, I am so uncomfortable talking about it – it’s that there are things that get classed as gendered female behavior (and by classed I mean enforced on female bodied people and then called “natural woman-ness”) that are so clearly artificial as to be self-evident in how and *why* they are generated and enforced. Things like sexual submissiveness, housecleaning, cooking, wearing dresses and high heels. Every one of those gendered-female traits is obviously beneficial to male people, when successfully brain washed into hetero or hetero-acting female people.

    but then there is my confusion around why, exactly, I mostly feel different around female people than I do around male people, in ways I can sometimes articulate and sometimes not.

    Is the fact that I mainly feel [insert word that means something that is not “softer” but that I personally do not have another word for yet and “softer” is the closest thing that pops into my head, sorry] with women and around women solely a result of female people being conditioned from birth to be soft for everybody? Is it really just the absence of how shitty it feels to be around many male people so that not-male doesn’t necessarily indicate this-is-what-female-is so much as this-is-what-is-NOT-present-when-you-are-not-around-males?

    Things like shaving, wearing makeup, wearing dresses, being sexually subservient to men – while I would certainly like to have the chance to find out some day, until such time as white male supremacy has left the building, there’s no way to know (and zero reason to believe) that female people would come to those traits/practices just for the hell of it out of the blue.

    So I’m trying to sort out – aside from things that obviously go against nature (ex., your face looks how it looks – changing it with make up is unnatural in the sense that it does not spring up in nature, not saying it’s an abomination against baby jesus and Mary Daly’s dead body whenever a woman wears makeup), how is it possible to tell what is enforced femininity vs something that feels to me like it’s pretty much specific to female people? I mean how is my even *feeling* that different from some people’s beliefs that girls naturally prefer dolls to toy cars?

    Because whatever I feel about/around most female people did in fact spring up in this person, me, under white male supremacy. There’s no part of me that’s untouched by it, that would have perceptions and experiences outside of it. how the fuck is it possible to know what’s what? my head’s going to explode from thinking about this and not even understanding what I’m trying to say or ask. ugh.

    AND, all of this doesn’t even feel relevant to really the point of your post! Sorry about that. But it’s what I -also- thought about when reading it. Just the idea and practice and origin of femininity itself. As you do talk about in this post, the celebration of femininity is something I am very uncomfortable with. I don’t know how any female person could mistake the predation behind any praise of “you are so feminine, I love how soft you are,” types of femininity celebration. And I don’t know how it could ever be possible to self-celebrate those things in a way that does not inherently make it harder for women who don’t.

    Because I think if it *were* possible, we would not be having this discussion in the first place – there would be no problem to point to, no harm to object to, we’d all just be going on our merry ways doing whatever the fuck. Blindness to that is what bothers me, not the physicality of someone’s willing foot in a high heel or lipstick on a face.

  7. dierdriu permalink
    January 7, 2010 4:15 am

    Margaret,

    I think that you are right. I do have a different conception of what the word feminine means, that is pretty much equivalent to female. Basically, I see things done by females as feminine. This is very different from the strict criteria imposed from outside that says “feminine means xyz” Since feminine is basically an adjective that means pertaining to females, I honestly think there are as many kinds of feminine as there are women. I don’t think that a woman has to be “feminine” to be a woman, rather i think that if she is a woman, whatever way she wishes to be, IS feminine, authentic femininity. I would hate for my friend to have to wear a dress to feel feminine, but she doesn’t. I think she is just as feminine in her jeans as another woman would be in pink taffeta and pearls. My Grandmother flyfished and she was feminine in her hip-waders. I reject utterly any definition of femininity that doesn’t include that.

    I also think Joan has a good point about how we need to consider whether our preferences might be different if we hadn’t been raised to see “feminine” as that very limited set of criteria. To be honest Margaret, I think we are basically saying similar things but in a different way. We both want women to be the definers of their identity and lives, NOT a strict definition that excludes women from expressing their authentic selves. I don’t want women who don’t find joy in any of those things to be considered “unfeminine” and I don’t want women who do like them to be considered “unfeminist” I believe that telling women that they can’t ever choose those stereotypically “feminine” attributes is confining women and allowing male definitions to determine our lives just as strongly but in a negative sense. I am reminded of the “cool” phenomenon in High School. The Alternative crowd would specifically avoid anything the “cool” crowd did, or wore, or listened to as if it was the plague. They thus became the mirror image of “cool” and in a way, just as ruled by convention as the slaves to “cool” were. That isn’t freedom to me. I’d rather ditch the rules and choose for myself, whether something is “cool” or not. Because really, isn’t being authentic the only REAL cool?

  8. joankelly6000 permalink
    January 7, 2010 4:39 am

    Ah, see, dierdriu, I don’t think you’re saying the same thing. Margie will you delete this comment please if it’s presumptuous of me to say this – I’m not meaning to speak for you or what you wrote, just to my perceptions of what I’m reading and my understanding of what you wrote, but again, if it comes off as obnoxious please feel free to delete:

    Femininity, as such, is not “just” limiting, and critiquing what it *is*, is not calling any given woman bad or unfeminist even. Saying it’s unfeminist to *celebrate* femininity is not an attack on persons either, whether any other person agrees with that view of celebrating femininity or not.

    I think what I’m seeing here is the difference between basically what I and others call “choice” feminism and what I and others think of as radical feminism. Choice feminism is about “having the freedom to be who I really am, whether it’s in high heels or combat boots, and it’s the lack of both options that causes harm.” Radical feminism, as I believe in it, is about freeing female people from male domination, period. A feminist analysis and condemnation of the system of gender, of which femininity itself is a constructed and necessary piece, is about freeing female people from male supremacy. Those who do not have that same goal in their feminism are not so much “not really feminist” as “not the same kind of feminist as each other” with regard to radical feminists.

  9. January 7, 2010 5:03 am

    Exactly, Joan. Dierdriu and I are saying different things. Femininity is a male construct, the only purpose of which is to exaggerate the distinction between males and females, so that females can be more easily subjected to male demands. The *only* reason for female people to wear high heels is for the titillation of male sexuality. The (highly encouraged) option to wear them, then, is so politically different from the (highly discouraged) option to wear comfortable shoes that to frame them as being similar does a disservice to females as a people and to our freedom as a cause. They are not equivalent. And I maintain that willfully choosing to conform to male demands is actively participating in the oppression of girls and women who choose not to and are punished for it.

    Joan, I’ll respond to your other comment later 🙂

    • joankelly6000 permalink
      January 7, 2010 8:49 pm

      Thanks, Margie, and that articulates something that felt slippery to me – the substantive difference between the options themselves, not just the fact that having both options more “freely” wouldn’t solve anything.

      And even as I tend to see it the way you do, it’s still hard for *me* to hear/be conscious of, the part about willfully choosing to conform to male demands being an actively oppressive choice for a female person to make. I think the impulse to want to think “but if I’m doing it to survive…or if I’m doing some things that don’t personally bother me and I’m resisting in other ways that matter and also make me vulnerable…etc. etc….” is really strong. I also think it’s where some take it in as “well you’re calling me a horrible person, and that doesn’t square with my reality, so you’re mean and wrong and if this is feminism then count me out!”

      Which is to say – if I ever get this urge, I’m pretty sure it’s possible that others do: if it’s understood that all of us do enjoy some kind of *something* at the expense of another who can’t or won’t make the same concessions or choices that we do, well why do we ever have to look directly at my particular choices/concessions? why not just say “we all do and it sucks and let’s try to be aware and move it along!”

      for my part, I don’t understand how any other choices, or refusals to concede, *can* ever become possible if no one’s ever supposed to look directly at, or talk about, them so as to not-make me uncomfortable.

      And it continues to bug the shit out of me that such critical looks at specific choices under male supremacy get likened TO male supremacy all the fucking time. A mean radical feminist’s meanness does not lobotomize, burn, rape, molest, fire from jobs, punch to unconsciousness, murder the children of – any female person. “Mean” thoughts and analysis are not violence. It is a huge erasure – which I DO consider violent – to liken opinions-you-don’t-agree-with-or-that-you-think-are-mean to what male supremacy has always done and continues to do to female people, one male-enforcer at a time.

  10. Mary Sunshine permalink
    January 7, 2010 9:01 am

    This thread is making my day(s).

    😀

    Thanks to all of you.

  11. January 7, 2010 4:16 pm

    Joan, I really liked your comment and have many of the same questions as you. I too feel ‘softer’ around other women, but I think it is because I feel safer (I am safer), and not on the defensive. I am more generous to other women, even if I dislike them. I try to like them! And there is more humour too, amongst women. You know, when there are no men around, women laugh, dance, sing, tell stories and poems to one another – the first time I met my best friend, we sang songs to each other that we had written ourselves and never shared before. There can be more emotional freedom amongst women.

    I don’t know if it’s natural, but I suspect probably not. Part of it is having been trained to be ‘nice’ and to consider others (a trait which is easily abused and used against us), but I think part of it is rebellion – honesty is powerful and transformative, finding out that others have the same fears/thoughts/experiences. And part of it is necessity – being true to ourselves in a way that we can’t be when men are in the picture.

    One of the things about femininity is that it tries to ensure that men are *always* in the picture, so that even when it is a group of women together, they have to display to one another how much they are committed to serving men. And then it is used as a way to compare and punish each other. Women who ‘let themselves go’ are often excluded from all-female company. I think that implicit in femininity is a policing of other women, or at the very least, a comparison. Part of the point of femininity is not just to be recognisably feminine, but to be *more* feminine than other women. It is a competition. So those who choose to be feminine are doing so very much at the expense of those women who choose not to, or who are unable to, be feminine.

    • joankelly6000 permalink
      January 7, 2010 8:35 pm

      well, TBL, I hope this does not make you regret your friendly reaction to my comment, but I actually don’t have this experience of being around women:

      “And there is more humour too, amongst women. You know, when there are no men around, women laugh, dance, sing, tell stories and poems to one another – the first time I met my best friend, we sang songs to each other that we had written ourselves and never shared before. There can be more emotional freedom amongst women.”

      That’s partly why it is so hard for me to talk about what I *do* experience of femaleness, which I think at this point is for sure a different subject than this post anyway. It’s not really the type of communing-with-each-other that you describe, that I feel with women. It’s more like, bah why am I even trying…it’s something like, the feeling you do describe, that I share, is about the freedom to be ways around each other that we can not advisedly be around male people, maybe it’s solely that, that makes me feel more of an orientation towards other female people, no matter if I even like an individual’s personality that much.

      Although, yeah I don’t know how to explain this either, but I do seem to like a lot more women’s personalities than men’s. I think it’s that I don’t know how to make sense of, let alone put words to, the fact that I do NOT have an essentialist experience of other women – “women are this way, it feels like this to be with women, etc.” while at the same time I notice that I have certain feelings more with, and for, women than with men. So is my involuntary reactions to people essentialist no matter what my mind thinks about the situation? who fucking knows.

  12. dierdriu permalink
    January 8, 2010 2:56 am

    Wow, such great thoughts. I’m really enjoying this opportunity to thrash stuff out too. And no, I don’t take it as an indictment of myself on a deep level such that I would need to get all egoistic and defend myself against that we can have different perspectives on this. I think it’s a very worthwhile and valuable discussion and I cherish any opportunity to reconsider the validity of my assumptions.

    There’s two things I wish to respond to here and I’m going to do them out of order to how they were posted so forgive my tendency to be slightly less than organised in thought.

    TBL and Joan were talking about experiences of “communion” with other women and I think it actually illustrates the void that Margaret describes which can exist between women who have questioned patriarchy and those who have not. I have to agree with Joan that dealing with women who have spent all their time trying to conform to rigid gender roles can be immensely frustrating. So I have also not automatically felt “softer” or “safer” or freer around women. In fact, I have most often, especially as a child felt more attacked by girls and women than by men. As a young single Mom, I witnessed all the married older Moms circling the wagons anytime they saw me coming and going into full-blown “seek and destroy” mode if I ever exchanged two words about the weather with their husbands. As a child who was hyper-intelligent (but not allowed into the gifted program because that was for boy math whizzes only) and also extremely emotionally sensitive and shy I was literally attacked on a daily basis by the other girls who thought it was fun to see who could make me cry first or who could smack me the fastest for raising my hand to answer the teacher. I hated most of the other girls in high school because I was concerned with the Cold War and Nuclear Disarmament and they just wanted to fuck the captain of the hockey team. However, whenever I have met a girl or woman who was a little smarter and a little more critical, a little more analytical than the “average bear” I always felt such an instant jolt of joy, of connection, of “You are SO cool!” that was so much more powerful than the connection I would feel when I met a boy or Man that I liked. When I analyse this though, it’s not because I felt safer around them, it’s because of my own sexuality. I’m straight. So generally if I thought a boy or man was intellectually stimulating, I would also tend to have a physical response to him that would complicate things and make me aware of myself in an uncomfortable way. It’s not that I would try harder to dress “pretty” for a man, because I often got way more enjoyment out of that kind of self-expression from my female friends. Men really don’t care about how cool your outfit is. Women do. It has always been women who notice the shoes or the lipgloss or the haircolour.

    And that brings me back to the second point I wanted to discuss, which we can distill to the heels versus comfortable shoes debate. Obviously, this can apply to many other things beside shoes. It is the distinction between the barely practical and the purely decorative and the shades of grey that lie between those extremes. Margaret suggests that the “only” reason for a woman to choose heels over comfortable shoes is to please a male concept of sexual desire. I see her point partially, and agree that some women choose suffering unneccesarily for that purpose. This is what we need to confront. This is the difference, to my mind, between what Joan calls “choice” Feminism and Radical Feminism. But I don’t agree that the one precludes the other. Rather I would suggest that the consequence of removing all the male oppression is to allow that freer expression of choice. We just have to make sure that we don’t confuse the window dressing of greater choice on small details only while leaving the opressive structure intact, with the true choice allowed by the removal of the problem at the root. I guess it’s kind of like this. If we don’t confront the root, then it’s like being allowed to hang curtains in our jail cell. But if we bust out of prison, then whether we hang curtains or not in our own homes is totally up to us and causes no trouble.

    We need to confront the assumption that curtains are sufficient, because they aren’t. ONLY freedom from prison is enough. Anyone who thinks the solution lies in tinkering with small choices while leaving the basic oppressive structure intact, thinks we should all stay in prison and put our efforts into making the nicest curtains possible. THAT kind of assumption is wrong and should be confronted. However, if someone wants curtains in their cell and is still pulling their work detail in the tunnel under the walls, still ditching their share of dirt in the yard, and not telling anyone else that they “should” have curtains, I disagree that their choice of curtain is problemmatic.

    So, yes, I like to wear fierce six inch heels. But NO, I do not only wear them to please men. In fact, most of the people that I wear them for are women, primarily myself. They aren’t a uniform. I wear flats most of the time. I also find heels that are comfy enough that I can walk great distances in them. And strangely enough, I find myself less interested in a man’s gaze when wearing them. I find myself feeling self-sufficient and powerful. I realise it’s frivolous and silly. I don’t fault anyone for not choosing them, just like I don’t care if anyone else wants to hang out with me when I blast italian opera and weep like a fool. It’s just a silly little thing that pleases me despite being a total waste of time. Like curtains in a jail cell.

  13. joankelly6000 permalink
    January 8, 2010 3:27 am

    oy. Dierdriu. I don’t have a lot of time right now so please forgive my abruptness and lack of finesse in this.

    I am having trouble understanding how someone who has read very much of this blog at all would leave your latest comment. There are places online (and off) where the theory that fierce six inch heels can be and are for oneself and/or other women alone – where such beliefs are welcome and happily discussed. And I personally, being girl crazy as I am (as I’ve written about at my blog), have no quarrel with such places or discussions, despite having a different view myself. This place, though? I don’t think anyone who really has read much here would ever mistake it for such a space.

    The reason why I think this, is – my understanding of discussions I’ve had with Margie and Kitty is that they view it basically the same way I do. Which is that high heels would not have come into existence in the first place outside of a gender hierarchy in which they are specific tools of that hierarchy.

    and if you don’t think this is true, then the only explanation for the fun and prettiness of wearing them NOT having cropped up as a wide spread male preference as well – hey if they’re fun for their own sake, wouldn’t they be fun for any/every type of human? – is that there must be something inherent to femaleness itself that finds high heels fun and pretty, for their own pleasure.

    Which, I’m sorry for stating the obvious, but that is not any different technically than someone, who *has something to gain by convincing women to wear them,* believing that it is inherent to femaleness itself.

    I would love to live in a world some day where male supremacy no longer exists. I can conceive of the idea that all kinds of things would be enjoyable for me that may be enjoyable to me now. I mean in a fantasy world, what the fuck, anything’s possible, right? As things stand, I just don’t believe it’s possible to ever pronounce anything women have been trained into as something that could exist in us outside of that context of training. Could be true, yes. But there’s a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise, and none to prove it is.

    lastly, off topic of the above, but this is why I fumble so much when trying to talk about my feelings for women:

    I have always loved other women and girls, I generally always do to this day, it is the rare female person who I don’t develop affection for, even and especially if everybody else mostly finds them crabby or unsociable or outright “mean.” I can count the number of fights I got in during my entire schooling with girls on one hand, and none were physical. Boys and men, however, have always been people that I often like or love, but from whose violence I have never felt, or been, safe.

    and I always think it’s worth noting – I don’t think there is something “feminist” about my feelings for girls and women, I think it is a fluke and largely specific to me (not that I’m “special,” but that I can’t help myself and so it’s not that other women *could* all feel this way but just aren’t as “loving” as me). And puts me at odds, experientially, with probably MOST other women, radical feminist and otherwise.

  14. dierdriu permalink
    January 16, 2010 1:34 am

    I didn’t find your response to be lacking in finesse or abrupt, so please don’t feel that you need to apologise to me.

    I just want to add one small piece of info, that doesn’t necessarily contradict what you are saying but that causes me to be somewhat confused. I have been told that high heels were originally invented by men, for men to wear, in the french court. They were something similar to epaulettes, a way to express masculine power through an increase in physical size, in the case of epaulettes, making shoulders wider and for heels making the wearer taller. I don’t know exactly how or when women came to begin wearing them, so I can’t speak to how they came to be part of our wardrobe, but it doesn’t seem that they can be thought of as something created simply to please men if they were originally worn only by men. Whether they were an item co-opted by us trying to possess power by copying men might be something worth bemoaning or not, not sure.

    • January 16, 2010 4:58 am

      Males are extremely homoerotic/homosexual. The fact that they found themselves to be more aesthetically appealing while wearing them does not mean at all that it wasn’t sexual from the very beginning.

      Also, though, it is a mistake to presume that a current phenomenon can be explained, or that its cause can be found, in its previous existence. Current, feminine dictates to wear high heels are sexual, period, regardless of whatever meaning they may have held in the past. Their past usage is a separate phenomenon altogether than their current one, and attempting to justify current usage by turning to anachronistic occurrences is a bastardization of sociological science. It is ahistorical.

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