Monday, January 14, 2013

The Anti-Ladette

I have to say, I have really grown in my femininity over the past few months. Truth be told, I just got sick of the strange but commonly accepted dislike, or even hatred, of "girly girls", feminine women, proper ladie, etc. get while tomboys, ladettes (am even more masculine version of the tomboy, badically), etc. get nothing but praise and respect. And as contrary as I am (I admit it!) this sort of made me want to be more feminine. Yes,  part of me really did want to embrace Biblical femininity, but an immature part of me wanted to "rebel" and spite what society says about femininity... which isn't very good.

Notice how poorly "girly" women are portrayed in movies (Mean Girls is an excellent example): always mean, shallow and selfish (like Regina George, the queen bee) or vapid and useless (like Karen Smith, the "sexy" but dumb one) or gossipy and insecure (needy sidekick Gretchen Weiners). Only when a female takes on traditionally masculine roles or hobbies is she seen as a role model or a strong heroine. How sad is that? The really scary part is that this is what modern feminists typically encourage women to be like- and in doing so, completely not seeing how ridiculously ANTI-WOMAN it is! It is saying "Hey, women are lame and men are great, so if you want to be treated with respect or admired, act like a guy. Being a woman isn't good enough."

The Plastics.

Scarlett O'Hara doing the classic catty face.

So, while it's OK to know how to fix a car, enjoy sports and the like, just don't do it rebelliously because you think you're too good to be feminine. Odd how it's typically the females who accuse their own gender of being "too catty" or "too dramatic" to get along with, yet that is exactly what they are doing- being too insecure and catty to get along with their own gender. Not to mention guys will often ignore catty behavior from a tomboy if she is fun to hang out with, or better yet, will sleep with him (which is sadly what they usually end up doing), or he might not even notice it. Women who can't get along with their own sex are the ones with the problem, not their whole sex, and it is a typical attitude for someone with issues to blame other people and be in denial of their own said issues.

This picture, a screenshot from Rosalind Wiseman's book Queen Bees and Wannabes (which Mean Girls was actually based on) pretty much sums up the common tomboy description for girls but also women:

As this is what many young girls and women are encouraged to be like, I have to say it's flat out wrong, in that it's ungodly and severely unwomanly. By implying men make better friends and are better to act like (in personality, interests, etc.) you are putting men on a pedestal and pretending they're sinless and perfect while women aren't good enough- maybe they even deserve condemnation, despite the fact that men are ALSO, if not even more, catty, jealous, and competitive (that's in their DNA after all) than females of all ages. I don't trust girls who say they don't trust girls. See why?

It's now frowned upon to like anything traditionally feminine or behave like a lady. Girly girls are boring, weak, helpless idiots and genteel ladies are stuffy, uptight, dull prudes, and both groups are annoying. I mean, marriage and shopping and crafts and nurturing are ICKY!

The Ladette trope is overrated. Massively overrated. And while being girly is slowly coming back in style (even self proclaimed feminists are started to boldly proclaim they can like knitting and taking care of their families while being a strong feminist), it's a start, but we need to reclaim Biblical femininity, not just society's idea of it.

Couldn't find the picture of uber-tomboy Vasquez from Aliens working out with the guys, so this'll have to do.
Me buying a lacy wallet and pastel-colored clothing, while awesome, is not enough. Too many people, especially thanks to Hollywood's influence with fembot, butt-kicking action heroines, still think femininity is equal to weakness, except, of course, when used to seduce men (apparently being sexual objects is being powerful and in control of men?). Too many women faint at the sight of pink (this is a jab at the common "I'm not girly- I don't faint at the sight of a broken nail/mouse/dirt/etc"), think tattoos and piercings make them tough, and putting down their own gender makes them strong. None of that empowers our gender or men- making anyone seem perfect is never good. It's sexist and misogynist, a fine example of how sin has warped our sex.

What can we do? Start slow- doing little "girly" things every day and adjustments in our attitude. Don't worry about wearing skirts or having tea parties- that doesn't make you feminine (though it certainly helps!). Try to be a lady in all situations. Don't be afraid to ask for God's help, because in this culture and many others, you're gonna need it. Some tips on being a godly lady:

1. Keep your temper. Jesus had it right (of course): love your enemies. Naturally, this is easier said then done. Much easier. But a lady does not lash out at people. Try to remind yourself when someone is being rude or nasty that they're probably unhappy themselves. A great quote from one of my favorite books ever, A Little Princess: 

“When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn't said afterward. There's nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in--that's stronger. It's a good thing not to answer your enemies.” 

2. Don't be a doormat. #1 being said, that doesn't mean you should let people walk all over you, something society seems to think girly-girls are all about (while seeing them simultaneously as being self-seeking, spoiled and demanding... huh, I do wonder how they manage that at once). Stand up for yourself and keep your cool. Learn to say no, respectfully. Never be exploited, and never let someone make you feel guilty if you can't help or know they wish you to help them do something you know is wrong or inappropriate.

3. Be generous. When she can, a lady devotes her time to helping others. Do extra chores around the house before others living there can get to them. Go out of your way to help a client (or co-worker) at work. In fact, go out of your way to anyone, especially someone who seems to really need it- that extra seat on the  bus, your umbrella, extra cash to get groceries, whatever you feel compelled to help with. Even little things like letting your friend who's had a bad day borrow the book you just bought before you even get a chance to read it, or taking someone who seems hungry for company out to get coffee. A lady puts others before herself when she can. Another ALP quote:

“If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that--warm things, kind things, sweet things--help and comfort and laughter--and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.” 

4. Don't be "one of the guys"- be FOR the guys. It's fine to be friends with guys, but don't look down on girls as not good enough to be your friend. You have no idea what awesome friendships you're missing out on! Girls and women can be there for you in ways men never can- would you feel comfortable telling you guy friend about girly problems like body image issues, shopping for bras or how your boyfriend has been trying to push you to go too far physically? Probably not. Not to mention, you probably don't need to worry about a girl trying to force your friendship into something more, or getting jealous of your date, or teasing you to impress her buddies and look macho. Of course, no one is a perfect friend, but girls as girl friends do tend to make the best ones. Also, do not compete with guys. You're not a guy, so why act like one? Not to mention, there are some areas you just might lose to them in and feel hurt about (guys are known to get carried away after a win OR lose). Focus on being there for them and giving them practical advice when they need it. Help them walk in purity, don't flirt with them.

5. Don't be a guy-chaser. Whether or not you choose to befriend guys, don't obsess over them, and definitely realize your worth with or without their approval. God didn't design you to be perfect when you received the admiration of men, He made you fine as you are. Your worth isn't defined by how many boyfriends you've had or how many guys checked you out. That's vain and insecure. Why waste time worrying about what guys think? Besides, they all have different opinions. You'd be 6 feet under before you managed to fit every ideal every guy has! Being single isn't synonymous with being weak. Realize you're strong enough to wait.

6. Pessimism is exhausting While very comfortable to do, feeling sorry for yourself doesn't make your problems go away. Have a good cry and self-pity, then get back on your feet and go on about your business. Optimism is healthier and frankly feels a whole lot better. If you make yourself believe everything is bad, everything will be bad for you. Always remember, there's people in worse situations than yours out there.

7. Elocution goes a long way. Slang can be funny (and goodness knows I know that) but a good vocabulary and proper way of speaking are better. Don't speak in an affected way to impress people. Swearing is ugly and sounds like a waste of an education (even if you're very angry, try not to do this). Try not to slouch as you speak or cross your arms too.
8. Girly hobbies are good for the soul. Invest your time in learning at least one hobby you consider girly- baking, crocheting, DIY projects, gardening, fashion designing, scrapbooking, decorating, etc. Many of these are quite practical, and who knows? You might end up loving it. "Manly" stuff like watching pro-wrestling or partaking in a burping contest are not impressive, classy, or cool.

9. Be quick to forgive. A lady forgives even wen forgiveness is not asked for. Again, this is easier said than done, but it's hugely important for your spiritual life and mental health. She also knows to ask for forgiveness and has the integrity to know when she's done something wrong. If you're worried this will make the opposing party feel conceited like they won and were in the right all along, don't think about it. Make it clear it doesn't matter who was right or wrong, and your apology is not a trophy for them to feel smug about. If that's all they feel when they receive an apology, don't bother getting into another argument with someone like that- they're not worth your time if apologies are just a pride issue to them.

10. Immodesty is overrated. This goes for attitude as well as dress. Conceit is an unflattering accessory on anyone, let alone as a staple in one's closet. Mystery never hurt anyone, and truthfully, if you have to try to be sexy with a tight shirt, stilettos, or short dress, you aren't. A humble outfit is much more attractive, as it says to people, "I am confident enough to not need to attract attention by dressing or acting promiscuously. I don't need boys ogle me to feel desirable or worthwhile." Of course, don't become so focused on how modest you are that it becomes a vanity!

I'm sure I'm missing many others, so perhaps I'll add onto this later. For now, these are some basics everyone needs to know anyway. 

Also, this was an EXCELLENT article on one of my recently discovered and favorite sites.
Zooey Deschanel's character on New Girl gets flack for being "girly" and "quirky" and she stood up for herself.
And let me add- I am NOT condemning you if you aren't hyper feminine. That's fine. You don't need to be passionate about girly stuff- you just need to be passionate enough God enough to want to be feminine in His  eyes. Even if you're a nonbeliever reading this, it still applies to you. One need not wear dresses every day and blog about fashion to be feminine. Hobbies and interests matter and say much about you, but true femininity is an attitude and lifestyle.  With all this being said, I hope greatly the proper ladies, girly girls, princesses, homemakers, and everyone else can reclaim femininity as the Anti-Ladettes.

Audrey Hepburn, the antithesis to the original Ladette, Kate Hepburn