Fascinating Womanhood and the ideal woman

Fascinating Womanhood and the ideal woman

Who or what is the ideal woman? Until recently I hadn't given that question a lot of thought. That is, until I was introduced to Helen Andelin's book Fascinating Womanhood in 2004. From then my life changed as I questioned the prevailing interpretation of gender and reclaimed my identity. No longer was femininity something to hide or repress—it's ok to be a feminine woman.

The message society conveys to girls and women today is that it would be better if women were more like men. Some people would probably find this idea laughable. But in pursuing equality I believe women have lost something special. Take our western cultural opinion of the ideal woman's body as an example. For decades now the desirable woman's shape has been to be ultra thin, broad shouldered and narrow hipped—to be less womanly and more masculine. The pressure on women and girls to conform to this genetically rare body shape has been unfair and has damaged the health of many young women. Likewise our clothing has changed to adapt to a more masculine ideal. Over the decades women have traded feminine apparel for trousers, jeans and suits cut in men's styles and masculine colors. Men though for the most part have not changed to feminine clothing. Comically, in order to appear more business-like and influential many women have also lowered the pitch of their voices to sound more like men. The message of our present culture seems clear—in order to be successful and admired you need to become more like a man. But I say what is wrong with being a woman?

Perhaps women have traded too much of their femininity for equality (although we can still have equality without losing femininity). Helen Adelin, author of Fascinating Womanhood argues that being a feminine woman is not something to hide but something to be proud of. Despite the criticism leveled against Fascinating Womanhood I consider Ms Andelin's ideas to be very liberating.

So who or what is the ideal woman? There should be no strict definition—this would be wrong for we are all different. Fascinating Womanhood isn't for everyone. Although I've embraced the principles wholeheartedly I do not agree with every idea taught by Ms Andelin and find some aspects of her teachings dated and out of touch with the realities of life in the 2000s. Nonetheless in the struggle for equal rights I believe we have lost much of our feminine mystique and as a result the world has lost something beautiful.

For women who have dismissed Fascinating Womanhood I would encourage to read the book for themselves. Like me you may be suprised to discover a yearning to return to your true feminine self.

Kelleigh

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Comments

Read Part of It

I've seen the book and I've seen a website with "lessons" based on it (forget the URL). I do not need a book to teach me how to be feminine. I can be feminine in a frilly dress (that no one wears anymore) and in a business suit too.

No one needs to teach me how to be feminine. It doesn't mean simpering, purring and cooing. That stuff is silly. And it doesn't mean staying at home, though for the most part I have stayed home.

Nor does it mean obeying a man. Btw, my husband doesn't WANT me to obey him, he wants a woman who is an independent thinker and will oppose him when necessary. Could we say I'm obeying him by not obeying? LOL

I don't know a whole lot of women who come off as masculine. A few who are transgendered to male or some lesbians (definitely not all!) appear masculine in their thoughts and actions to me but most women are clearly women, and that's feminine enough.

My life is just fine so I take it I am as feminine as I need to be.

"Pat"

Clothes

Speaking for myself, I don't wear trousers because I wish to be more masculine, but because I find them comfortable to wear, and more practical. I think both men and women look better in trousers than in skirts. It's nothing to do with gender but simply to do with comfort and convenience, not to mention warmth, a not unimportant consideration in our chilly English winters (dresses are draughty).

And although there may be more pressure on women to be thin nowadays, slimness has always been the ideal for women, you can see this in paintings from all ages, going right back to Ancient Egypt, where all the women portrayed are slim. Slender women have always been considered the most attractive. You don't have to try and live up to the ideal of course, but nevertheless the image of the slender woman has been prevelent through the ages.

Louise

Actually, no.

Actually, Louise, (by the way, I love all your posts. I'm quite a fan.) Slim has not always been the ideal for women at all. In fact, that is relatively modern. Roughly since the age of enlightenment, actually. (bit ironic, that). In Africa heavier women, (not fat, but thick waisted and hardy) is ideal, because it means they are strong, and well fed, which is important. All of the portraits of greek and roman and even renaissance women are all thick and curvy and larger because it showed you were healthy and could bear children. Being skinny in any age (for men as well) was a sign of ill-health, or barrenness in women (which it wasn't, but that's what they thought). And as to portraits in acient Egypt... well, there was a distinct artistic style. Shoulders, slim down to the hips, then legs. It was a style, not an accurate representation. Statues and and sculptures of Egyptian goddesses actually show that they were depicted as also as curvy, strong women. Or a fat smiling hippo, for childbirth.

I know this has nothing to do with the above article, I just wanted to correct your statement. I'm involved very much in women's studies, and try all I can to erase the all-to-common conception that women have been slender all through history.

Women in art

Well, I didn't actually mean that women have been slim throughout history, but that slender women have always been the ideal. Obviously most women don't mesure up to the artistic ideal. But nevertheless, in art throughout history you see women are routinely portrayed as slim. There seems to have been a vogue for fleshy women in art in the 17th/18th centuries, but the overwhelming impression I get is that women in art are portrayed as slim, though the degree of slimness may vary. I don't think this bears any relation to what women looked like in real life, any more than today's photographs of skinny models and actresses bears any relation to the way most women look. But the way slender women are portrayed in art suggests to me that it has always been considered an atrribute of female beauty in Western art.

All the statues of Egyptian goddesses I have ever seen portray them as slim (though probably they wouldn't be considered slim by the standards of today's ultra-thin models) apart from Tawaret the hippopotamus-headed goddess of childbirth, who usually seems to be quite fleshy. And women in Greek paintings are all slim, the ones I've seen anyway. Women in medieval art seem to be overwhelmingly on the slim side. I get the impression that slimness is something that has mostly been the artistic ideal, though not all women were expected to adhere to the ideal. I think today's ideal of slenderness has gone way too far, but I think it is only an exaggeration of what has generally been considered attractive. I don't know how many women in the past would have bothered to try and measure up to the perceived ideal, as opposed to the numbers who strive for it now, though I understand that there are documented cases of annorexia from the Elizabethan period.

Of course, in the Edwardian period you get very curvy women, but they mostly seem to have big bosoms and hips and tiny waists, and that must have been a difficult thing to achieve, I imagine women who wanted to measure up to that must have had themselves squeezed painfully tight to achieve those waists. and then there's Renoir's fleshy women, he certainly seems to have liked them well-covered. I do get a general impression though that for msot of history women in Western art have been shown as on the slim side.

Louise

General

Women appearing as men want them to look is always a problem in ensuring equality, particularly for those women (probably most) who aren't submissive and think takeninhand is a form of madness. So yes, as Autumn I think said above read the book if you're wanting to be takeninhand. It's nice to read things that vindicate and help you. But obviously it's rubbish if you're not into that kind of thing.

On weight women should try to be healthy. The African tribe that takes girls off at 12 to be "fed" and fattened excessively probably does them no favours healthwise and nor does the average British family stuffing their children with burgers.

I think most studies show men find sexually attractive women who are neither too skinny nor obese and with a defined waist and the evolutionary reason for that is those women are healthy and are best able to have children. The 10 inch difference between bust, waist and hips seems to be the fairly universal attractiveness characteristic. In times where slim meant ill and likely to die plumper women were preferred within reason. If she's too big even to get out of a chair I doubt there are many cultures where that gets men sexually excited except for that small category of men who like to keep and feed their women, I think known as "feeders" which is a separate and in my view unhealthy sexual perversion.

If you want to be takeninhand

Sorry, but I don't think Fascinating Womanhood has anything to do with being taken in hand. It's about being 'feminine', sweet, helpless, flattering the male ego and deferring to a man (except for limiting the amount of sex he can have with you). In short, it is about playing games of a kind that I am completely incapable of playing. It is not about takeninhand. It is about how to make a man love you by being the kind of woman he wants (Mrs Andelin takes it for granted that all men want exactly the same kind of woman). Be this kind of woman and the man you marry will worship and adore you and buy you lots of things (there is a strongly mercenary note running through the book, women reel of lists of objects they have been bought as a result of adopting the tactics recommended by the author).

Reading this book would not have done anything to make takeninhand seem more attractive to me, in fact if I had read it when I first discovered this site, and come to the conclusion that it was what Taken In Hand was all about, it would have totally put me off the whole thing, permanently.

Louise

Whoever said that "Fascinatin

Whoever said that "Fascinating Womanhood" is what taken in hand is all about??? Like with so many other things in life "Taken In Hand" means different things to different people. I`m sure every woman who loves her husband wants to be the kind of woman he wants and is happy with. It does not mean giving up her personality or playing games, it just means making both of their lifes more happier. I think there are lots of men (not all) who like a submissive woman but please don`t write comments now again like: "My husband likes a woman with a mind of her own." That`s not what submission is all about and it`s not what the book is all about. Of course if you take a sentence out of any book, leave the rest of the articel out and find some kind of fault about it, your gonna find it.
Autumn

Playing games

Well, someone commented that 'Fascinating Womanhood' was a good book to read if you were interested in being Taken In Hand. I merely said that it didn't strike me like that. It seems to me in many ways the antithesis of Taken In Hand, because it is about manipulating a man by behaving in the way he finds appealing. And that isn't really what I have ever wanted from a relationship.

A great deal of the behaviour recommended by 'Fascinating Womanhood' would seem like playing games if I tried it with my husband. The girlish behaviour the author tells us is irresitible to all men is beyond me. Whatever else you can say about Agnes Wickfield and Dora in 'David Copperfield' (and I could say a great deal about them), both of them were being THEMSELVES, and acting in the way that was natural to them. If I did it I'd be putting on an act, and in the case of Dora a very silly act at that. The whole point of Taken In Hand for me is that it is not about putting on an act or pretending to be something I am not. It's about being myself, and still managing to please my husband.

Louise

Acting it up

The purpose of Fascinating Womanhood is not to provide a set of rigid rules that define femininity but to provide inspiration. Trying to be or act like something you're not would make you appear false.

I work with a woman in an executive role. She is one of the most feminine women I know. She has a soft voice, very long blonde hair, wears feminine styles and she 'coo's and purrs'. That's right—she coo's and purrs at work! and we all love her! This behavior does not seem odd because it is so natural to her. Now if I were to try the same behavior I'm sure I would appear really stupid because this behavior is not natural for me. Although I do not coo and purr I am naturally girly, so the trait of childlikeness discussed in FW comes naturally to me and does not appear odd. My husband loves it when I am girlish, his face softens, his eyes glisten…he tells me how cute I am. But it's not for everyone...

Quoting from my blog,

No person can be put in a box and labeled with a certain temperament or personality type. Our individual natures are much more complex than that....to aid our understanding of temperament and personality, scientists have defined four temperament types and 16 personality types common to humanity. People are usually a mixture of the four temperament types rather than being of just one type. Commonly a person will be dominant in one or two of the temperament types....

The nature of a person (whether feminine or masculine) is composed of their character, temperament and personality. Character makes-up our moral nature and can be changed and developed. When discussing the feminine nature we are usually referring to temperament and personality types that are common to feminine women.

Scientists who study temperament and personality consider that temperament is inherited and therefore cannot be changed. Personality on the other hand, which is influenced by gender-socialization, culture, upbringing and so on, is amenable to change and development much like the character. Although our temperament type may be a constant feature of our personal makeup, it is believed that our strengths of temperament can be developed and weaknesses can be minimized. The adage “feed your strengths and starve your weaknesses” would apply here.

In order to understand the difference between the constructs of temperament and personality one commentator has described it this way,

Think of temperament as the canvas and personality as the painting. The temperament is the foundation, the personality the building. Taking your basic temperament, you add life experience, culture, education, and upbringing to form your personality. To illustrate the breadth of diversity of the feminine nature, I have constructed two hypothetical feminine temperaments and corresponding personality types that are quite different one from the other...

I spoke to a lady who took the Fascinating Womanhood Classes back in the 1960's. Her explanation provides a good context for interpreting FW:

If someone wants to really improve their lives...they will trust that many of the principles set forth in FW are very ancient, and were taught by our great grandmothers. Our generation recognized them as such, and that is why some of the things in the book rang true to us when the classes were first offered.

FW is somewhat dated yet "..the basic principles still hold as true today as saying 'please' and 'thank you'".

Remember The Total Woman

Let's not forget the one who spread the word the furthest and, I think, the best...Marabel Morgan and "The Total Woman." (See The Total Woman, by Marabel Morgan: a book review) Unlike "Fascinating Womanhood," which was meant as an answer to feminism, Marabel was not trying to answer or attack anyone. She had a sweetness that the others lacked. Her rule was very simple: adapt, accept, admire, appreciate. "Adapt" meant obey...but it only applied to your own husband. Outside the home, she said women could be as successful as, well, as SHE was herself! I found her suggestions to be very useful...partly because they WERE suggestions, not rules/

"Adapt" vs. "Obey"

Perhaps Marabel Morgan meant "obey" when she said "adapt" but I have a feeling it means something more like "adjust."

Years ago my parents (now deceased) went into couples therapy. My mother had a lot of complaints about my father. Truth to tell, he was an honest, hardworking husband but a most difficult and temperamental man.

The counselor told my Mom that she had to "adjust" to my father. This didn't mean obeying him but it meant she was supposed to get used to him doing things his way and not try to change him even if the things he did were objectionable to her.

I have a feeling that's closer to the "adapt" concept than out and out obedience to the husband.

"Pat"

To Hali,

What exactly do you want to know Hali? I`ve written many things about myself on this site, I don`t know what you have read about me and what you haven`t read.
Autumn

My view of myself

I think I`m intelligent enough to learn from my mistakes, brave enough to fight for my rights and definetely for my family if someone would want to do them any harm, talented enough to enjoy many hobbies like photography, writing and knitting. At times I have a tendency for perfection, but most of the time I`m satisfied with myself and the things that my husband and I have accomplished. I may be lazy and not in the best of moods at times and one of my biggest faults is that I worry to much, but if you ask my husband, no other woman could be as fascinating and interesting to him as me. He loves my sence of humour and my feistyness and he says that he never get`s tired or bored to talk to me. Most of the time I have a hard time making up my mind and I probably spend a lot more time than most people on trying to figure out what`s the right thing to do especialy when it comes to making important decisions, but whether or not I can get on peoples nerves because of this, I think it`s a rather positive part of my personality.
Autumn

Thank you Autumn

I must apologize for having bad intentions when I asked you for your expose and I am aware of making you to post something like confession was not gentle of me. Thank you once more, it was really interesting to read your post.

I read again your previous posts on this thread and tried to realize what provoked me. I think that it is the notion of femininity taken as something that can be managed. I think it cannot. You can only the femininity in yourself let free or you can keep it from exhibiting. But what if it is not in you? What if the described instructions urge you to lame yourself?

I know most men prefer feminine women but my experience is also that men appreciate me understanding them being able speak with the as peer. That is what I am. My mind is half way woman an man. I hate some women getting at me for being not enough feminine.

And if I followed the instructions (purring etc.) a would fake my husband.

And not to mistake, I crave for submission.

Hali

Thank you, Hali

You express beautifully and poetically what I feel myself "You can only the femininity in yourself let free". If it's not there you can't fake it, and trying could cripple youI have also, like you, found that men do appreciate women being able to have rational discussions with them.

I couldn't fake it with my husband either, he can always spot a fake anyway.

And I crave for submission as well, but I still can't purr like a pigeon!

Louise

Confession?

Halli, I had a feeling that you ask me that question not because you were interested in hearing about me and my life but because you had other intentions. Because if you would`ve really been interested, you would`ve ask me details about myself or you would`ve ask the boss to forward an e-mail to me. I gave you an answer anyhow, though I do not understand why you didn`t get right to the point in the first place??? My definition of myself is not a confession, I would tell this to any stranger in the street if they would ask me. Nobody on this site knows me personaly, so it does not matter if I write even more about myself, which I have in previous posts anyhow. So no harm done, I accept your apology. I believe though that you simply could`ve ask me questions like: "Do you believe feminity can be faked?", then the answer I would`ve giving you would`ve been a definete "NO". And than you could`ve asked: "Then how do you explain your pervious posts?" I would`ve giving you a straight forward answer. I guess there is one thing I forgot to mention about my definition of myself: I hate beating around the bush, I like getting right to the point. From previous experiences I`ve learned that getting to the point as quick as possible is a way to avoid missunderstandings.
I can`t remember ever writing anything like: Women should fake feminity or for that matter that they should fake anything else about themselves. I do believe though that if a woman is looking for a way to be more feminine, of course there is ways to improve it, just like anybody can improve anything else in their lifes that they are not satisfied with. If a person is naturally lazy but because they do not want to live in a dirty house or be without a job they clean the house and get up and go to work and leave the lazyness for the weekend. It does not mean they`re faking it. And if I`m looking for a way to be more feminine, I would wear dresses more often (which I do occasionally) and try to avoid swearing (which I do very seldom anyhow)ànd things like that. What I`m trying to say, even though I believe I`m feminine enough there is ways to improve it if I would want to improve it, just like there`s ways to improve beeing a mother or a good worker or a good sexual partner. If I don`t want to improve it, then never mind.
I hope I made myself clear now, but you could`ve had this answer from me before if you would`ve only ask. It`s my personal believe, yours may be different and by the way I don`t only crave submission, I`m living it. And part of the reason why it is easy for me to live happily in being submissive is because my husband and I are very honest to each other and have no problems talking about our deepest feelings. Not everbody is able to do that and that’s why lots of women only crave submission and lots of men only crave dominance without being able to live it out.
Autumn

Direct questions

Direct questions may block out deeper thoughts not precisely formulated.

I think now I am coming near to the core, your last post helped me in that. You say "improve" about being more feminine. You say "we have no problems talking about our deepest feelings" and you conclude not being able this some people (me and Louise) are not able to live submission. In the mentioned thread you accused Louise for being a bad housewife. In this thread you suggested that if a woman loves her man she tries to be the woman he wants. This made me to ask who you are. Are you any special? Are you happy he wants this speciality?

If the answer is yes, than you are happy, you are lucky.
If the answer is not (I don't believe), who for God's sake you are?

It is not wise to show off your luck. And other are not nocent for being other.
Hali

To Hali

I don’t know if you really read what I wrote. When did I ever accuse you and Louise of not being able to live your submission? I wrote exactly this: "I don’t only crave submission I live it". And that`s exactly what I meant by it, I did not mean that you and Louise are not able to live your submission. I do believe though that a lot of couples have problems of talking honestly with each other and that`s why they are not able to live out their submission. Whether you and Louise live it out as much as you want it, I don`t know and truthfully I don`t care.
I did have the impression of Louise being a bad housewife but only because Louise mentioned more than once that she hates cooking ,cleaning and that her kids get on her nerves a lot, that as a matter of fact they are filthy all the time. But after asking her about it, she explained how she ment it and said that she actually likes staying home with her kids and that they are doing good in school and are happy, so there`s is nothing more to say to that. I wouldn`t call it accusing, I was just wondering and so were other people by the way.
I have my opinion about things and you have yours. You ask, I gave you my answers. And yes I believe I`m special, I`m told many times by my husband and my children. I wouldn`t say I’m totally happy every minute of my life, but all together I`m quite happy and satisfied with myself and my family. Any more questions?

Autumn

Quotes

I forgot to mention this Hali, I love your quotes. By the way one of my favorite quotes is: "I get enough exercise pushing my luck" and my husband says it fits to me just perfect.
Autumn

feminine

Autumn made an excellent point about speaking honestly with each other. If a couple does not have that ability, honestly, what do they really have?
I have not always been able to do that myself, however, it took a very good man adept at expressions of feelings, etc. to help me overcome my inner hesitations. He is wonderful and he is mine!
And he loves a feminine woman, which I am.
I work in a high pressure career. At work, being feminine is not on my mind—producing is. In his presence, though, my natural femininity makes a statement BECAUSE he is so comfortable in his masculine skin, so to speak.
It works for us.
For those ladies who do not care so much about expressing the joy of their feminiity, I wonder how do you care much about fashion? Perfume? Lipstick? Not that adornments make you any more feminine, however, since these things are inherent to woman (or should be) I personally find great thrill in using them. I feel prettier, sexier, smarter.
Like your spunk Autumn. Keep standing up for your beliefs.
L

Feminine women

Speaking for myself, I don't care about fashion at all. My husband doesn't either, he prefers me to wear clothes that reveal as much of myself as possible, but fashion as such doesn't interest him at all. I don't wear makeup, and have never met a man who expressed any desire for me to do so. My mother used to wear a lot, and my father disliked it ("why do you always put all that claggy muck on your face?" he used to grumble at her). And I don't wear perfume because my husband has an extremely acute sense of smell and dislikes most perfumes intensely (when we're out he's always complaining that some woman or other smells really disgusting, I can never smell anything). However, I may not be 'feminine' as described by Mrs Andelin, but I seem to fascinate my husband as I am. I don't think behaving in the fashion recommended by Mrs Andelin is the only way to fascinate a man. For some women, I think it is possible to fascinate a man by just being yourself.

Louise

Re: feminine

Thank you L, you also made a very good point. I can not imagine not wearing make up, pafume or nice clothes. Though I know some women don`t care for it. I enjoy my femininity even more when I wear make up and get dressed up nice and it can also make me feel more submissive toward my husband. But don`t get me wrong, I don`t need that stuff everyday just to be feminine, I`m feminine wearing jogging pants and no make up, but sometimes I just need to feel more like a woman than at other times. I can not imagine being submissive without being feminine or a man being dominant without being masculine.
Autumn

Makeup, Perfume...

I don't wear pretty clothes all the time. I've tried to save us money by not being a fashionista. Anyhow I never was a fad follower so I can't bother myself about fashion, just what I like and feel comfortable in. I also rarely wear perfume. A lot of people have allergies so I have gotten out of the habit, for instance last year I worked in an office where perfume wasn't allowed anyway. I used to love the earthy scents like patchouli. Can't be bothered anymore if people are going to fall down around me hacking for breath!

The other night I put on some perfume and my husband didn't notice it at all. So there is surely no point in bothering.

I always hated makeup except when I was too young to be wearing it. Then it was daring to wear it to school and see if I would get caught. I wear lipstick sometimes for an occasion. That's it.

Femininity is what's inside my head, not on my body or on my face.

"Pat"

About fashion

I have made permanent makeup not to bother every day. Before that I rarely wore makeup, but it allways made me feel better (I first wrote "feminine", but it were not truth). Unfortunatelly my eyes are sensitive and always irritated after some time, and makeup went wrack.

I feel feminine when dancing with my husband. I feel feminine when he cares about my well being. I feel feminine when super alfa male met (hich is too rare).

Dresses I wear rarely because of less practicality. I go to work out of home and also do almost all the housework—trousers are more practical.

I like wearing dresses in sommer, it makes me feel free. But I don't like dresses fit tight, I find it too hard to behave in it not to look like streetwalker.

Parfumes I use sometimes, when I want to feel better. My husband appeciates smell of my everyday cosmetics.

Maybe I am afraid of impressing feminine out there in the world, I must guard myself since I am alone there. This does not apply to looking sexy which I prefer a little. Feminine is same as unarmed in my mind.

Hali

Craving submission

While I very much like feeling submissive, I don't feel that way all the time, the feeling tends to fluctuate in me, it is partly to do with how my husband behaves towards me (the more dominant he is, the more submissive I tend to feel) and it is partly hormonal. when I have PMT (as I do at the moment) the feeling tends to be at a very low ebb. I crave the submissive feeling, but it isn't a constant feeling with me.

Louise

Re: Craving submission

Louise, I agree with you and I think even the most submissive woman can`t feel that way all the time. With me it depends how my husband expresses his dominance, though I can also feel submissive toward him at other times. The feeling is not there always and I`m glad about that, because not always is the right time for it. Unfortunately a lot of women have to live with the craving and are not able to live it out or they crave it so much and find fault in their partner when actually they just don`t understand what it`s all about or have a problem of being totally honest to their man about their feelings.
Autumn

Hi Louise,I agree with yo

Hi Louise,

I agree with you about wearing pants,

"Speaking for myself, I don't wear trousers because I wish to be more masculine, but because I find them comfortable to wear, and more practical. I think both men and women look better in trousers than in skirts."

The right-cut of pants look great on women, sometimes better than skirts! However it is the widespread promotion of the 'masculine cut' I find objectionable.

Yes, slimness is feminine—however it is the genetically rare body type of tallness, broad shoulders and ultra skinniness that is over represented in the media that is not healthy.

Thanks for your comments!
Kelleigh

slimness, clothes

I disagree totally that women have always wanted to be slim. I think of Tolstoy's "War & Peace" where he goes on and on about an extremely plump fair young woman who was the most popular at a ball (and she was considered beautiful because of her plumpness); Rubens, of course, Bruegel, Rembrandt all celebrated beautiful plump women. All you have to do is see any 1800s-era magazines to see all the ads for products to increase a woman's weight. Bony women were thought to be consumptive.

Slimness

While the degree of slimness has certainly varied a lot over the centuries, the impression I get, from looking at art in Western Civilisation, is that slimness in women has mostly been considered the ideal.

And while most women probably didn't pursue slimness with the dedication that many do today, nevertheless, women always seem to have been prepared to go to great lengths to meet the impossible standars laid down by fashions in beauty, like squeezing themselves into corsets to produce the tiny waist that was fashionable for many years (somebody once told me that some women even used to have ribs removed so they could squeeze their waists smaller). And a lot of women have no qualms about crippling their feet by teetering around in high-heeled shoes. There's no end to the lengths women will go to in the pursuit of fashion.

Louise

Looks

Women who are submissive or want to be taken in hand certainly do better adapating to their dominant man. I agree with that. Men who are submissive are never going to like that however and any books suggesting one size fits all with all men and women are usually wrong. Some men like their women in charge and many couples want neither in charge.

If you are this way inclined and he likes a certain looks, clothes, weight even then if that's what you've accepted in the relationship then you try to please him by dressing how he prefers. I have found not surprising consistency amongst dominant men in liking skirts, nice underwear, high heels and most a reasonable amount of make up, i.e. effort for their benefit. Now that has an impact—they have to allow you the time to be like that. (Thinking here of my usual minus 5 minutes, already late stopping work, dealing with children and trying to look reasonable to see someone here....)

On weight apart from a few exceptions like the Tongans and that tribe in I think Kenya who send girls to be excessively fattened on cow's milk at age 11 in general men for evolutionary reasons prefer women who are a healthy weight. UK size 10 (US 6) or thereabouts. Very skinny is not attractive or sexy—she would not be able to bear children; very heavy you don't get the bust, waist, hip size contrast which most studies show leads to attractiveness. I think a 10 inch difference between bust and waist (and then out to hips) across most cultures is most attractive to men.

My bigger problem is dominant obese men my age who I'm afraid are not really very attractive. It's a very mutual thing. I don't want someone who can't walk up hills and is likely to die of heart failure before he's 60.

Sizes and shoes

I have always regarded a size 10 as being skinny, rather than 'a healthy weight'. I was only ever size 10 for a very brief period when I was a teenager and went on a diet. I was a size 12 most of the rest of my youth until I was in my early thirties when I began to put on weight and eventually stuck at a size 16, which I still am. Size 10 may be most attractive to men, but I know very few women who are that size, but nevertheless many of them seem to do all right at attracting men. I find men who are obsessed with what women wear or how much they weigh a bore, whether they are dominant or not. Any man who actually requires a woman to cripple herself by teetering around in high-heeled shoes is a man to be avoided, as far as I am concerned. I don't see that as evidence of dominance, just as a man having a shoe fetish. Just as I don't regard my husband's obsession with sexy underwear as being necessarily anything to do with him being dominant, I think it's just one of those things a lot of men are kinky about, whether they are dominant or not.

Louise

Well I love being female. Gl

Well I love being female. Glorious womanhood! How exciting! Putting on makeup, sexy clothes, feminine clothes, earings, necklaces, bracelets--how fun! I revel in it. Oh yeah---SHOES! Oh how I love shoes! All different kinds of them. This is who I am and love being.

I also am very into physical fitness and feel just as feminine roller blading, moon booting, riding bikes, lifting weights,.... No makeup or minimal. Long hair pulled back or down and sweaty,--who cares. I feel fabulous. Wrestling with and playing sports with the boys--bring it on. Fun! Sweat has never stopped me.

But then to do that and then also to bathe luxuriously and get all silky clean and contrast it with dresses, skirts, high heels--MAN I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN!

The perfume issue is a tricky one. I mostly stick to organic essential oils as I get headaches over strong perfumes/colognes. I find that spraying your perfume into the air and then walking into it works well. Goes on subtle--not to strong. I like my man to do this as well.

Sizes--I agree with Hera that those sizes she quoted seem preferable to most men but there are men who's taste contradict that thought. I am comfortable at a size 6(US) and if I start gaining I feel uncomfortable and stay on top of that. I was a 4 for many years and that was okay also. A woman should please herself and what makes her feel good about her. I do like wearing what pleases my man because it excites me to excite him but if I were uncomfortable in that roll I wouldn't waste time with it. I feel the same as Louise that men who try to hold women to a certain standard to be boring, but I, like Hera, look for health in a partner as he will need it to keep up with me.

size matters???

To say that a size 10 is a healthy weight for women does not take in account height and bone structure.
If I was a size 10 I would be medically under weight. The only time I have ever been a size 10 was when I was about 13.
One should go on BMI not dress size to be a healthy weight. By saying a size 10 is what most men want is just falling into the hands of the fashion weight trap.
The size one should be is the size one is most comfortable with. A larger woman can be attractive if she radiates confidence and joy. A skinny woman (size 10 in my eyes) can be unattractive if she is dull and listless.

It is the sparkle that makes someone attractive.

Sully

Sizes

Hera says in her comment that a UK size 10 (US size 6) is 'healthy'. If this is the case, then I was only 'healthy' for about a year when I was aged sixteen. Since then I have been very unhealthy, and likely to remain so, since I have a husband who is relentlessly determined to fatten me up.

Louise

FW

I agree with your last line, Kelleigh, those who have not read it should check it out. Yes, it is dated yet the basic principles still hold as true today as saying "please" and "thank you".

I've read numerous books on relationships and relating, but Fascinating Womanhood was the first one that really appealed to being a "woman". And I love the unselfish nature.

This book helped me to understand that the things that I thought were intolerable, were really just about men being men.

This book can make a woman feel very pretty.

Femininity ... a sign of the times?

There are a number of articles, comments and opinions expressed about a couple of books. Do we as women need advice on if, when or how to express our feminine graces? It seems to me that we have "evolved", with intuition, flexibility and instinct. We all, each and everyone of us know how to turn it on, or turn it off.
Times are changing, like a pendumlum on its way back. The masculine image that many woman chose to express served a purpose, opened doors and improved equality in the world of business. To learn "the" game, or perhaps "their" game it was a case of play by their rules. Both men and women had a difficult time adjusting to woman assuming responsible roles in business.
Now, with a foot firmly in the door woman are more comfortable putting their feminine foot forward, making changes to the way businesses are run, starting their own businesses and yes! dressing in bright colors, skirts, frills and spiky heels if they choose. There are of course those who prefer a pair of jeans, flat shoes and that too can look very sexy!
I sincerely believe that my daughter's challenges will be quite different from mine or my mother's, but like us she will know when to play the feminine, or not!

Man's World

The problem with women dressing in frills and spikes, is they are (still, in this age) not taken seriously. In many areas of commerce, it is still a man's world.

The answer is that for women

The answer is that for women who are looking for a way to be more feminine and try to lead their relationship into a taken in hand kind of way, reading the book is a very good idea. It can make a couple more happy and in some cases even safe a marriage.
As for wearing skirts and dresses. I asked my husband how he would feel about me wearing skirts and dresses all the time. He said that I look definetely more feminine in them and he would like it if I would wear them more often, but knowing that in Germany it can get quite cold he doesn`t mind me wearing jeans most of the time. I wear skirts and dresses when we go out and it does make me feel more feminine in a way.
Autumn

Fascinating Womanhood and The Fascinating Girl

I have read The Fascinating Girl, by Helen Andelin as well as Fascinating Womanhood and the Andelins' books are very accurate and thorough on the topic of cultivating femininity.

Although I very much appreciate her advice, I do not follow it to the letter. She basically offers the reader a set of techniques, along with some of her personal convictions. I can recommend learning to see the principles behind the book and also giving everything a try before you criticize it.

As long as you cultivate and express all the human and all the angelic qualities in some way. For example expressing femininity in your look can be done in a multitude of ways.
This dress is made from a delicate fabric; this one is adorably dainty;
Though the material is rather masculine, this coat has a darling childlike cut.

There is no need, even if following the book to the letter, to wear summer dresses in the snow, or chiffon to scrub floors. All the book says is to be the most feminine looking girl in every group. So instead of a grey pantsuit at wotk, you could wear a periwinkle skirtsuit, and be the girliest girl around. While skiing, a pink scarf and lipstick will do. For housework, a sturdy cotton dress can be made in a comfortable, yet feminine cut. Hyperfeminine, delicate and frilly dresses are advised only when every woman is dressing feminine, on parties, dates. Personally, I would say it is not even necessary to outgirl every girl all the time, as men each have their own types and preferences. Liking a rather feminine look may be near universal, but if a man likes cute chubby blondes, he will likely pass over a slinky brunette in a ruffled dress for the round blonde sweetheart in jeans and a floaty top. For the most part, as long as your clothes could not be worn by a man it is fine. The feminine look is only a small part of Helen Andelin's idea of the ideal woman, and a woman can have most of the other ideal qualities without looking feminine. Unfortunately, that makes it harder for a masculine man to find her, as most men are very visual.

There are one thousand ways to be a feminine, fascinating woman who accepts and admires her husband. The book is nowhere near the cookie cutter many see in it if you keep an open mind. Fascinating women range from Ma Ingalls to Morticia Adams, so that is a rather wide range.