Can You Be Feminine and Still Be a Feminist?
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Can You Be Feminine and Still Be a Feminist?

If you’re expecting your loved one back from duty and want to have a special dinner ready him, do you ever feel that you’re falling into a kind of 1950’s wife and homemaker stereotype? Do you wonder if dressing up to welcome him home is something a modern woman should be contemplating? Or are these things just natural expressions of your love and how happy you are to see your partner again? However, if you feel strange about such things, understanding the difference can be something to consider.

Defining Feminism

The basic tenet of feminism is the belief that all humans are equal, and a woman should not be restricted or demeaned because of her gender in any aspect of her life. Without the suffrage and feminist movements of the 20th century, women would still be seen as second-class citizens, destined to fulfill caring roles and incapable or undeserving of the positions in society that men laid claim to. If you’ve grown up since equality between the sexes was made a requirement in law, it may be hard to appreciate how different your life would have been had there not been a recognition of women’s rights. It’s also true that there are still elements of life to this day that are overshadowed by sexism and inequality, and there is a way to go before true equity between the sexes is reached.

Defining femininity

What does it mean to be feminine? There have been numerous scholarly works published on these kinds of topics in recent years, and yet there is still debate about the true definition of femininity. To most people it means wearing make-up, having immaculate hair and nails and wearing a dress or a skirt with high heels. Liking pink, dreaming of a perfect white wedding and being interested in beauty, fashion and shopping are often classed as ‘femininity’ It may mean taking care in your appearance, but most importantly it is about being confident in your own skin. It may mean being happy to use a thinning hair solution to volumize your tresses, suffer the discomfort of a bikini wax to keep things neat and tidy, and banishing gray from your hair with coloring and highlights.

It would seem that these ideas of feminism and femininity are incompatible, and that to embrace one means rejecting the other, but is that really the case? You don’t have to be a Barbie doll to embrace your feminine side, and in fact over recent years Barbie herself has developed from her original persona into a positive female role model. Wearing make-up and dressing a certain way does not automatically define a person and defining someone by their appearance can be as unfounded as defining someone by their gender. If you it makes you happy dressing up and maybe treating your partner to a home-cooked meal, that makes you a loving human being and nothing more. The real point is that you have the freedom to choose, and that is what equality is truly about.

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