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Old 01-27-2011, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default Feeling Feminine

Growing up, the idea of femininity and feeling feminine was somewhat of a foreign concept to me. It was probably due to the ridiculous teen romances I used to read (Sweet Dreams, anyone??), where the girls were always thin and pretty and got the boys. They were always shorter than the boys, had small waists, and could easily be picked up. That was never me. I was among the tallest girls in the class, and was the heaviest, so I couldn't gel my self image with the ideal that I'd picked up from society and books. As part of rediscovering myself post-motherhood, I'm trying to look at ways I can capture this feeling.

This long ramble leads to my queries - what do you do to feel feminine?
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:11 AM   #2
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I was the tallest too and a crazy bmx bandit, I played soccer and was a life guard in another life. I don't know if I ever really feel feminine, or have for reals as an adult. Lol i wonder if its cos I was reading Dean Koontz and Irivine Welsh when I was young & not romances.
I am high, thinking a bit about this now and I just feel more masculine naturally. But then what does feminine feel like if you arent sure?
I even think sometimes how I'd like to be a gay man. Even just taking into account what I'm wearing kinda, navy blue faded mens singlet and a red hibiscus print sarong with a towel on my head, I dunno is it what you wear, how you proport yourself?
I suppose changing how you look to mirror your perceived ideals of femininty might help, interesting thinking, thank you
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:29 AM   #3
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I was also the tallest... (I see a pattern forming!) I always had short hair too, and was quite a tomboy (not remotely sporty, just... more interested in boyish things.) I just always sucked at things like doing hair, picking the right clothes, makeup (it didn't help that my mum was also similar to me, so I had no one to show me the ropes, so to speak.)

These days to feel girly I like painting my nails, using smellies (body lotions, creams etc,) and I'm moving into wearing more dresses/tunics (I was very much a jeans-and-tshirt sort of person for most of my life.) I still have short hair and hardly ever wear any makeup though. Seriously, I regularly got mistaken for a boy in my early-mid teens. And as a pre-teen, I just WANTED to be a boy. I even had a male name I called myself *LOL*

I actually wondered quite a lot if I might be gay growing up, because well, I've always been a bit butch, and I do find women attractive... In the end I figured out I find wome very aesthetically pleasing, and they're soft and smell nice and nice to cuddle etc but I'm not sexually attracted to them... It's more in the way you like, say, lying on satin sheets. Girls are lovely and tactile I never experimented though, all this was in my head

I bet that was a lot more than you wanted to know about me! *LOL*
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:11 AM   #4
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I grew up as a tom boy. I loved to play baseball, basketball, cowboys and indians and run around the neighbourhood playing all kinds of fantasy games with guys and gals. There were feminine parts of me as well playing dolls, cooking and baking and as a teen makeup and hair. But I have always been "one of the guys".
When I was feeling particularly down on myself because of this my elder a very wise woman suggested that I do these things just for me to make myself feel better and more feminine. So I bought silk sheets and laid in them naked feeling the soft fabric against my skin. Bought lingerie from matching bra and panty sets to slinky chemises and negligees so that felt the fabric against my skin. I get my nails done and play with makeup, hair colour and try clothing I had never worn before. I have bubble baths with bath bombs and scented bath lotion and slather lotion on my body afterwards to feel soft and smell good. Its about treating yourself to the little things you can do that make you feel more like a woman whatever that may be. Taking a little time for yourself to get together and go out with girlfriends or with your SO to listen to music, go to the movies, go for a walk or a picnic whatever you enjoy. But mostly it is surrounding yourself with people who see you fully and can remind you of what they see in you that you may not see in yourself. My friends are amazing and remind me of how strong I am when feeling down, the talents and abilities I have when feeling defeated and the beauty inside and out when I feel like I don't measure up to societies definition of beauty.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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I was a total tomboy. Still am. I was always told that long hair is feminine, so I guess my wigs are how I sometimes bring out my femininity. Other than that, I don't really know how I make myself feel feminine, if even at all. It's not something I tend to think about or worry about. But I'm sure pampering yourself will bring that out
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #6
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I love feeling feminine. I think that wearing floral helps a lot. Lol. Silly, I know. But just wearing perfumes that smell very floral, and wearing skirts a lot make me feel super girly. I'm 6'1, so I've always been awkward, and hated wearing heels for years, so I had to find other ways to make me feel like a girl, and not a basketball player. Painting your fingernails, and just being sweet and nurturing. I take everyone baked goods. It makes me feel like a mama bird.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:27 AM   #7
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I've felt that way too, Penguin. I was always tall and usually big, even if only in comparison to the other kids. I developed early, too, so I had boobs and obscenely-wide hips from about age 11 onward which just added to the feeling of physical alienation.

Fashion is my solution. Being into it. Enjoying the fun and fellowship it can provide. Learning how to dress for my body type and my coloring. Embracing cute, glamorous, and/or beautiful style icons in popular culture (not necessarily real people, but sometimes). Wearing period fashions and unique modern styles. Styling outfits, creating pieces when I have the time. Reinventing myself for fun whenever I can!

It's a hobby that I can enjoy that also helps me normalize my body.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:38 AM   #8
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Yeah, I was always the tallest or second tallest all the way up to high school, also. And yes, I was the classic tomboy.

Actually, I am still a tomboy. Two summers ago, at an outdoor wedding reception an impromptu game of touch football broke out. Yes, I tackled one of the groomsmen while wearing a knee-length strapless dress. When we were done, brushed the grass off of dress, let my hair back down, fixed my make-up, put back on my heels and behaved as though Emily Post herself weened me.

When I surround myself with the trappings of femininity, yeah, I feel more feminine/girlie. I will never be a frou-frou, pastel and lace lace type woman, that's just not who I am. However, zip me up in one of my leather corsets and skirts, thigh high boots, my hair and nails did? Trust me, even with a crop in my hands, I am totally feeling my femininity.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:57 AM   #9
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I was the tallest too...and big....I started playing golf at 8....and I was not a tomboy..hate getting dirty..liked wearing cute clothes and dresses but it didn't matter what I did in my teens or 20's I totally got treated like one of the guys. I still am dismissed as one of the of the guys if I am hanging out ...no matter how much cleavage or leg I show. I think some of it is I have a very strong personality? So, that might come across as a masculine trait. I have always had more male friends than female... Also, the vast majority of men don't find my body type attractive so they just treat me like....one of the guys..

So, I have embraced wearing pink and dressing for myself. I miss being able to get pedi's and mani's..that always makes one feel all gurly. I hope to find a job soon!
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by penguin View Post
Growing up, the idea of femininity and feeling feminine was somewhat of a foreign concept to me. It was probably due to the ridiculous teen romances I used to read (Sweet Dreams, anyone??), where the girls were always thin and pretty and got the boys. They were always shorter than the boys, had small waists, and could easily be picked up. That was never me. I was among the tallest girls in the class, and was the heaviest, so I couldn't gel my self image with the ideal that I'd picked up from society and books. As part of rediscovering myself post-motherhood, I'm trying to look at ways I can capture this feeling.

This long ramble leads to my queries - what do you do to feel feminine?
I love to doll up. I wear perfumes everyday because I love to smell sweet. I try to wear nice, form fitting clothes (not tight). I prefer the spring/summer seasons as I love to wear sandals and color my toenails. I never bought into the bullshit that only those thin/petite women are feminine, pfft!
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #11
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Thanks ladies! I was never a tomboy, but I've just found it hard to gel reality and silly ideals together here. My sister (who's of an average weight, but very tall), also had trouble with feeling feminine. I hope that once I start doing more of those girly things I'll be able to embrace that feminine feeling. I do appreciate your input
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:41 PM   #12
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Strangers used to think I was a boy, that's how feminine I was.

I remember one incident in a play park where a girl came up to my sister and said, "my friends fancies your brother, will he go out with her?" Yup, I got all the girls when I was little. And that's not the only time something like that happened.

I wasn't self-conscious of my femininity until I became a teenager and went into my asexual goth phase, but before that I just wore what was practical and comfortable: sportswear and short haircuts. Boy stuff. Like some other people here, I was a major tomboy, even playing with boys' toys. I was the only girl on the football and rugby teams, which I eventually got driven out of because the boys weren't allowed to tackle while I was there. I was twice the size of most of them, so like they could have done any damage anyway.

I think I said I wanted to be a boy at some stage too... my mum probably thought I was going to grow up lesbian, as gender identity as a kid can sometimes point to sexuality later on. I had a girlfriend for a while when I was 15... then I hit 16 and suddenly girl stuff was nice.

The end.
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:13 PM   #13
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i was always very feminine in a stereotypical way. that was just naturally me. it always pleased me personally before i even had any interest in or consciousness of boys whatsoever. its not even something my family instilled because they had little or no interest in whether i was feminine or not.

i was thinking, maybe a new definition of feminine altogether might help. as far as i'm concerned being frail or small is not part of the equation. its how you feel about yourself and being proud of your womanhood. for me that doesn't include any images i have to follow, no magazine i have to read or any mold i need to stamp myself out of. when i look in a mirror i recognize a woman and i think thats all i'll ever need to feel feminine.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:59 PM   #14
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I remember while I was growing up images of my mother in the bathroom putting on her make-up and her perfume and squeezing into her tight jean skirt or whatever happened to be fashionable at the time, before she went out of the house to do just about anything. Even when she was not dressed up and was say cleaning a bathroom, I thought that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Everywhere she was or had been had her unique smell for hours after she left. This was the image of what feminine should be that I grew up with. Not necessarily that you have to wear make-up and perfume and fashionable clothes to be feminine, just that pampering yourself and indulging in the fact that as a woman you have all these things to play with is feminine to me.
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:51 AM   #15
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I've always been an odd mixture of feminine and masculine. I love clothes and pretty hair. I always have my toe nails painted. I really don't like shopping but use it as therapy. I never felt overly girly. I to was always the tallest girl and fattest for that matter. My mom was/is a very practical person. She wore practical clothing and rarely wore make up or fussed with her hair.

I get along better, for the most part, with men. I enjoy a good burp among friends. I have very few girl friends. And those girl friends are bit on the boyish side as far as behavior goes too. i'm not into sports but just love hanging out with guys. I have a feeling it sort of comes from the fact that I've got 2 brothers.

When i want to feel extra feminine, i play with my hair. I curl it or straighten it and put a pretty clip or something in it. I also will put makeup on. I'm usually a naked face kinda girl. I am actually contemplating getting my eyelashes dyed so i don't have to bother with makeup so much. My normal every day wear is still jeans and a tee shirt but i have added more embellished shirts and a few dresses and skirts to be more girly.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:02 AM   #16
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I've always been what most would consider feminine. I like stereotypically feminine things.. I've always been genuinely interested in makeup, hair, clothes, etc.

I feel my most feminine (and attractive & confident) when I take a hot shower, shave my legs, lotion my entire body, do a full face of makeup, style my hair and pick out a cute outfit with matching shoes & jewelry. I do this (or a less time consuming version of it) at least a couple times a week.. almost all times I go out with my friends or I see my boyfriend. I also buy what I consider to be feminine clothes (including lots of lacy lingerie & cute undies), I paint my toes & hands at least once a week, I regularly get manis/pedis (when I can afford), hair cuts & colors, eyebrow waxes, etc. I also recently started tanning. All of these things make me feel feminine.. the more primping I do, the more feminine I feel. Maybe it's stupid, and maybe it's internalized crap from the media, but it makes me feel genuinely good. It makes me happy. (The key is that I don't hate myself or feel like crap if I don't have the time or don't feel like doing all this stuff on any given day.)
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:20 AM   #17
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I guess I interpret feeling feminine a little different. When I feel my girliest is when I feel weaker than someone, and I hate that.

I feel more "feminine" when I portray a weakness. Being sad, being afraid, being weak... I don't think of women as being weak, so please please please don't interpret this as that.

I don't like feeling different than anyone else. For me, I've always been "different" (hint: leading into life story)

I've always been big, I've always been tall, I've always been into getting dirty, working hard, and not letting gender stereotypes affect what I do. I've been riding horses with guys (and some girls) since I was six. I took the hardest horse to ride, jumped the hardest combinations, and just sought to prove that I am not different from the guy because I have estrogen. I still apply that today. I don't like to feel like there is a big difference between men and women - we're all the same, only some of us have cavities where others have protrusions.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:16 PM   #18
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It makes me sad when femininity is viewed as weak or inferior or 'less than'...whether internally or externally. I love the physical and emotional differences (and every variation of them) between the sexes. I'm sorry but it's a lot more than cavities and protrusions. That seems so disaffected and cold to me.

It's particularly sad when a woman thinks that she has to suppress herself or reject it outright in order to compete because it doesn't measure up. Measure up to what? Is the male the ideal? Supreme? Why can't we incorporate and embrace what we like about the 'other' gender into our own style without having to put down or dismiss our own?

I'm big, fat and bulky and have been so my entire life. I'm on the tall side. I'm not graceful by a long shot but I've always felt feminine even when I had very short haircuts and wore parkas in the winter and appeared to everyone like a boy and I still felt femme and girly and still do even though my appearance now is far more femme. I realize that not everyone is comfortable with it or doesn't feel like it and is fine with it but it saddens me when I hear people acting as if it's wrong or even beneath them. No one 'has' to be lady-like (a phrase I detest because it's so loaded with judgment) but being girly or femme or lady-like isn't a bad thing either.

Viva le difference.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CastingPearls View Post
Viva le difference.
I don't think I wrote my thoughts down correctly, I believe they got all caught up in diction and mumbles and hormones.

I guess I don't really like having to feel feminine because I'm a bigger girl? I don't like people assuming that I'm a girly girl. Yes, I wear makeup and skirts and heels... but I feel like people just assume I'm more feminine/lady like because of that?

When really, all I want to do is go for a hike, jump and scream around, wash off my makeup and not be stuck behind these societal ideals of what girls do and what girls wear and what girls are.

I admit, my views are very skewed... I'm stuck in a high school where the dance team and cheerleaders rule the school, the idolized girls dominate the hallways, and the girls like me get out of the way for the girls who think they're so important. I'd rather be portrayed as neutral in femininity than a girl who attempts to be ideal and fails miserably.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:57 AM   #20
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I think feeling feminine is my deafult setting and sometimes the masculine side of me takes over a bit more. Growing up I lived in a strange household, one filled with a very 'traditional' mother who didn't wear make up and was quite forward thinking in some of her views but others she wasn't. I have brothers than always made me feel like a Princess, even if I was riding through mud or going fishing with them.

I get so sick of hearing/seeing guys that talk about wanting a woman they can 'throw around' but I just put that down to them being scared of me being a better wrestler. Seriously though, my femininity is closely linked to my sexuality so I feel most like a woman when I'm wearing my boyfriend's shirt, a pair of lacy undies and I have the librarian (hair up and glasses on) look happening. Sure manis, pedis, facials and make up can do this too, but naturally me is what I attribute to femininity.

Also something floral, fresh (I know there's something in there about virginal purity) and lacy wins every time.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:33 AM   #21
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Stupidly, one of the things that makes me relluctant to reveal just how feminine I am is that some people - both men or women - dismiss it as shallow or superficial, as that's what some people interpret femininity to be: lack of intelligence, independence, strength, only caring about physicality instead of spirituality, etc. I know I shouldn't give a shit about that kind of prejudice, but I had a female friend at uni who constantly tried to compete with the rest of us. She had to be the most beautiful and sexually attractive to all men, but at the same time needed to reinforced she 'wasn't afraid of anything', was 'one of the lads', and 'not afraid to get dirty'. Like it was impossible to be both feminine and strong. She had to believe, for her own self-esteem, that no other female in the group was capable of the things she was. She liked to be feminine, but that was weak, so she was forever defining herself as some sort of Superwoman.

I remember being speechless once when she said to me, "men are threatened by me. I'm beautiful and girly, but at the same time strong and fearless. I've heard I intimiate them".

It's people like that who make gender stereotyping so shitty.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:02 PM   #22
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I get why some people super-fixate on certain physical and personal traits as badges of good and bad femininity/masculinity because I've done it myself and sometimes still do. It's basically an oversimplified method of settling the question of one's own attractiveness and acceptability, employed by people with shitty self-evaluation skills (like BDD) or inferiority issues. The main problem with the system is that it doesn't reflect reality, socially-constructed or otherwise. And, it basically involves trading one set of "flaws" for another (usually an appalling attitude, at the very least). Not that the initial problems, self-perceived or otherwise, ever actually go away.

Also, I think that the "one true ideal feminine identity" thing is a big myth. And I'm not talking in a "fight the power! expland the definitions!" sense, either - I mean in an everyday, obvious, social-construction sort of way.

Certainly there are many, many gender cues that most people are conditioned to identify with modern femininity, but you can present a package of traits, tastes, and behaviors that virtually everyone reads as "feminine" without folding in each and every girl-cue. Further, I think that a lot of the high-profile femininity cues actually contradict each other when taken as absolutes. Nobody can personify ALL "good" feminine traits at once as it's physically impossible and because it negates the fact that life is a process full of change and cycles and all that touchy-feely crap.

Small and dainty = feminine, but not necessarily on its own. Having big boobs and big hips is feminine too, but then you lose the exceptionally tiny angle. Having long, blonde hair can be feminine, but then again, it can also be manly-surfer-dude. It takes other cues in combination to create a socially, biologically, and personally satisfying feminine picture - stereotypical or otherwise. Further, you can be NOT small, not dainty, not blonde, not whatever, and still cultivate or display other traits that make you very stereotypically feminine, and attractive.

Oh and the contradictions - what about big, brown cow-eyes? You can't have those AND the teen romance novel-favorite sparkly bloos at the same time. Then there's the whole pretty and virtuous mom thing, which is compatible with the idea of literal female strength and assertiveness and stuff. I know that many mothers sometimes feel a crisis of attraction due to hormone fluctuations, preoccupation with their parental duties, &c., but that's not so much a crisis in overall femininity (after all, motherhood is thought to be an ultimate expression of femininity) as it is an issue within a particular aspect of femininity. Or of the feminine experience. Or whatever you want to call it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:17 PM   #23
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I like to take bubble baths and jam out to music with my friends. It's a lot of fun to dance! Really makes you feel girly :-)
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:48 PM   #24
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I agree with the ideas of pampering yourself to feel more feminine. Sometimes it's just as simple as doing something only I know about that makes me feel good for the day...like if I have on a pretty lacy bra and panties. Even though it's under my clothes and I'm the only one who even knows it's there, I feel pretty and girly and feminine all day.

But I also don't want to equate feeling feminine to being pretty and girly and wearing lacy, frilly things. Not to share too much, but I had my annual exam and pap smear at my Gynecologist's office on Tuesday. And we all know how that goes, ladies...you throw your legs up in stirrups and awkwardly let your legs fall open so that two people can insert random objects into you, scraping around inside your vagina. The experience is awful and unpleasant (although necessary for preventative healthcare). It's the closest most women get to actually feeling like a whore. After you're violated, the doctor tosses you a wet nap and a panty liner (in case he/she made you bleed), tells you to clean yourself up, put your clothes back on, and head back to the lobby. Think about it.

Anyway, my point is: being a woman is not all flowers and roses and and butterflies and nice-smelling things. I love being a woman, and I'm proud of it, but it can be quite gross and gruff and even painstaking at times. Those are some of the times when we're at our MOST feminine. It may not feel stereotypically feminine, but it's the types of things that only women go through-- uniquely feminine experiences.

So I try to remember that feminine is A LOT of things and not all of them are pleasant...they're all womanly but not all pleasant...if that makes any sense.

So whether I'm taking a hot bath, playing a game of impromptu football, or as gracefully as I can scooting naked down a table covered in tissue paper to have two strangers stare into my junk, I'm a woman, and, damn it, I feel feminine.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:47 PM   #25
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I had a friend several years back who I was complaining to about how I just didn't feel feminine, and how I felt inadequate because of it. Her response: "Who the hell decides what counts as feminine? The women I know in my life are strong, decisive, active, and engaged. So therefore, that strength is feminine." I've come back to her thought again and again. So I guess for me, though I do sometimes enjoy conventionally "girly" things, what I really do to "feel feminine" is usually just to allow myself and what I'm doing and how I'm acting to broaden the definition of what "feminine" means; and then I can feel feminine too.
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