I know you’re not supposed to call little girls princesses anymore, or even tell them they’re pretty or beautiful (lest they think they’re not smart). I know it’s not cool to overdo it where the color pink is concerned. It’s hip to be gender neutral. I get it.
Well, today’s post is a plea for femininity. This plea that has more far reaching consequences than you might think, especially where your health is concerned.
Having a little girl, with a second one on the way, I’ve become acutely aware of prejudices that exist in the world around gender stereotypes–particularly, the feminine ones.
I am a feminist. I’m also about as feminine as you can get.
I love a good lipstick, the color pink, dressing up, and gabbing with girlfriends. And I feel just as strongly about my right to be feminine in a masculine world and the power and strength present in feminine energy.
When I get into conversations with other parents about discouraging their daughters from being too girly, I have to ask, what’s wrong with being girly?
To me, the color pink represents compassion, love, and femininity.
Dressing up is an act of self-respect, honoring the body and interacting with the world in a way that feels good.
Gabbing with girlfriends, I believe, is one of the inherent talents that women possess to create community, seek emotional support, and form healthy relationships.
A good lipstick… well, let’s face it, is just plain fun. And isn’t that why we’re here? 😉
I understand the negative connotations that go with being a “princess” like entitlement or helplessness. But, are these the only definitions we have to describe something as wonderfully feminine as a princess?
What about Princess Diana, or Duchess Kate Middleton? These real women strike me as anything but entitled or helpless.
What about ultra-feminine icons like Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Dolly Parton, and Jackie Kennedy? These women created empires, brought into focus human suffering and compassion, made humanitarian efforts across the globe, and daring adjustments in the history of fashion liberating women for generations to come.
So, why are we hesitant to encourage little girls to exhibit behavior or tastes that are too feminine, like choosing pink or dressing up like princesses?
As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, one of my friends posted a photo of their little boy dressed top to bottom in complete superhero gear. I don’t think it occurred to anyone to comment that the costume was “too blue.” I don’t think anyone guffawed that this little boy was being ” too masculine.”
He’s just a little boy dressing up in something that makes him supremely happy, which was evident from the huge smile on his face.
From a women’s health perspective, what are the ramifications for women if they suppress their femininity?
World renowned Ob/Gyn, Dr. Christiane Northrup, speaks often of this phenomenon where a woman ignores her feminine nature to fit into a masculine world and as a result develops reproductive diseases:
“When a woman feels that her innermost emotional needs are in direct conﬂict with what the world is demanding of her, endometriosis is one of the ways in which her body tries to draw her attention to the problem. It is our bodies trying not to let us forget our feminine nature, our need for self nurturance, and our connection with other women.”
In Chinese medicine, there are feminine and masculine energies known as Yin and Yang. When either of these energies are out of balance, i.e. too much of one and not enough of the other, disease or disharmony develops in the body.
Dr. Libby Weaver calls it Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. You can watch her compelling TEDx talk here where she describes the modern woman taking on both masculine and feminine roles for the first time in human history, burning herself out and developing hormone imbalances, infertility issues, as well as other female dysfunctions.
And before you tell me you can’t stand the color pink (to each their own!), let me point out that there are as many ways to be feminine as there are women in the world. What does femininity mean to you?
As for me, I will encourage my daughters to relish in their own unique expression of femininity and let them know the powers they possess by doing so.
And, when given a choice, I will always proudly choose the color pink.