By Samantha Holland
Think an international the place oppressive, over-feminized media pictures of ladies have re-armed themselves with military boots, physique transformations, and flamboyant hair. is that this simply one other fairy story, and if that is so, why can't or not it's a fact? Holland unpacks the parable of version womanhood and considers how a gaggle of genuine girls outline and perform "femininity." How does getting older have an effect on notions of femininity? What do girls take into consideration model, gender, and visual appeal as they get older and no more seen in our media ruled society? Do they decide to tone down or remain "out there," and what motivates their selection? substitute Femininities provides voice to a formerly silent staff of girls who fight to withstand sexist gender stereotypes, but age with variety, individuality and creativity. by means of taking a look at how actual ladies negotiate self-perception in an more and more image-conscious society, Holland presents a corrective to different debts of gender and femininity missing in genuine data.
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Additional resources for Alternative Femininities: Body, Age and Identity (Dress, Body, Culture)
This, the first empirical chapter, examines how the participants talked about traditional femininity and their relationships to it, and the many contradictions highlighted by their discussion. This is established by asking: how the women in this study defined femininity; whom they named as being traditionally feminine; what they used which they considered to be typically feminine; and how they felt this ‘placed’ them within a continuum of femininity. The central focus of this chapter is on the way the participants have constructed an ‘alternative’ feminine identity through their appearance, at the same time as demonstrating a great deal of commitment to a variety of disciplined and time-consuming, traditionally ‘feminine’ pursuits to maintain this appearance: what Craik calls ‘the tension between techniques of being female and techniques of femininity’ (1994: 61).
I asked participants what they used or liked that they saw as particularly feminine. The reason for this was to find out if claiming to resist traditional femininity meant it was also possible, indeed desirable, to entirely jettison what my interviewee Jody described as ‘feminine trappings’ and what Delano calls the ‘tools’, the ‘lived practices of female embodiment’ (2000: 5). Smith argues that trying to define femininity is like ‘assembling a miscellaneous collection of instances apparently lacking coherence … Its descriptive use relies on our background and ordinary knowledge of everyday practices, which are the source and original of these instances’ (1988: 36).
Ussher points out that resisting need not involve discarding all that is involved in being ‘woman’: managing one’s body and appearance, having children, being in relationships with men are not necessarily resisted3 (although they might be, as some of the participants of this study illustrate). Within this type of resistance are women whose sense of themselves as ‘feminine’ is not traditional: they dress ‘down’ and avoid ‘girly’ clothes and adornment. Women who resist ‘girl’ ‘take pleasure in their appearance and are fully able to engage in many of the rituals of feminine beauty.