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Feminist and Feminine: You Can Be Both

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

If you’re the girl with the makeup obsession, the one who owns an unfathomable amount of pink, the one who has not the slightest interest in anything relating to sports—chances are, you’re probably afraid to admit that you are that girl. And if you’re not that girl, you’ve likely judged that girly-girl type, rolled your eyes and scoffed at Victoria Secret obsessions and obscene high heel collections. But why? Why are women afraid to be feminine? And more importantly, why are women ok with degrading staples of femininity?

I have felt personally victimized by this culture of feminine bashing each and every time I admit that I have zero interest in football, admit to a love of reality television shows, or talk about my love for my very long hair. Often I found myself compensating for my feminine qualities, by assuring others that I, too, had masculine qualities; I hated doing makeup, couldn’t walk in high heels, and had never owned more than one handbag at a time. But I must ask again, why did I constantly feel such an urge? Must we have one “masculine” characteristic for every three “feminine” characteristics?

There have been several instances where I have watched women pride themselves on the fact that they “acted like a guy” or were the “worst girl ever,” and it’s all rather strange to me. Since when have we become so ashamed of our femininity, that we only take the time to highlight our masculine qualities, all while we sweep our loves for romantic comedies and sugar-cookie-scented lotions under our metaphorical rugs? It is rather sad how often I have witnessed women apologizing for their interests in makeup, fashion, or hairstyling, simply because it didn’t conform to the culture of hegemonic masculinity they were surrounded by. I can assure you that loving your Naked pallet makes you no lesser, and being a loyal Patriots fan makes you no better. Interests are interests, and equally valid.

Though I am not here to slander the tomboys of the world, it is important to recognize that embracing your femininity is not a crime. We, as women, should not shy away from putting on pretty dresses and curling our hair, simply because society tells us that “girly-girls” are dumb bimbos. After all, isn’t it rather absurd that our female interests and hobbies are considered a reflection of our intelligence? Does putting on mascara blind me from the political issues of the world? If I spent my Monday nights watching The Bachelor, does that mean that on Tuesday night, I can’t complete my calculus homework? Despite popular belief, I am here to assure you that it is very possible for a woman to be an intellectual AND feminine. After all, when was the last time we critiqued a man for spending his weekends playing basketball, or retreating to his basement to test out the newest video game release? To my knowledge, society has never made men feel guilty, or less educated, for watching Monday night football. No one ever second-guesses masculine interests or deems them petty. Society, instead, places women in a position where they must fight to prove themselves, and their interests, worthy of respect.

We must all wake up from our patriarchal slumber, and realize that feminine interests are not bad interests. Paint your eyelids with gold glitter. Obsess over boy bands. Wear bright lipstick, and embrace your femininity. Be proud of being a woman. Be proud of being feminine. Be PROUD. 

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor