Forget femininity!

I have never really understood what “feminine” means, though after reading Mrs Andelin's book I have the impression that “feminine” means “idiot”. I'm not sure why a man would prefer a woman to behave like an idiot, but it's something that I feel no woman should have to fake in order to get the attention of a man. In any case, I feel that “feminine” whatever it is, must be compatible with behaving like a rational human being, surely a woman does not have to check her brains in at the door in order to be considered feminine.

It is my personal and deeply held belief that there is nothing a woman can do to attract a man other than be herself. This is based on my own personal experience and that of other women I have known. I am convinced that a man will either like you as you are, or he won't like you at all. Putting on some strange act in order to attract him, whether it's beating on his chest with your fists, stamping your foot, pouting, rationing the amount of sex he can have with you (a very un-takeninhand policy, that one, judging by what I've read on here), simply isn't going to work. If you don't naturally feel inclined to do these things, it's no good. I don't believe you can teach someone how to be feminine or masculine or anything else. Either you feel a natural inclination to behave in a certain way, or you don't.

And does anyone really want to be with a person who is forever worrying about how feminine or how masculine they are? Isn't it better to just get on with life and let your degree of femininity or masculinity take care of itself?

Louise C

Taken In Hand Tour start | next



I think it's just part of my sexual kink though... as a feminist to be made to wear high heels, a tight skirt or whatever to please a man is slightly humiliating and therefore arousing so it's fun. The fact it often pleases a man too is a bonus.

I don't agree women just attract men by being themselves. They attract men because they look pretty, dress well AND are nice. I also prefer good looking fit well-dressed men so I'm quite egalitarian about this.


Being pretty may help to attract men, but I don't think clothes matter all that much, I've never really bothered with them much and seemed to attract men anyway. But then I never cared about attracting a well-dressed man, I always prefered men casually dressed, and when I was young most of the men I met were dressed in historical costume, so it was impossible to tell what they looked like in civvies.

About twelve years ago, a friend of mine was at a meeting of a re-enactment society she belonged to. She was loading up her car, and she said she looked terrible, she was overweight at the time (and she's never been exactly skinny), her hair was greasy and unwashed, pulled back in a pony tail, no make-up (she doesn't wear it much anyway) and she was wearing old dungarees and a sweater with a hole in it. And this man saw her across the crowded car park, and fell for her hook line and sinker. He knew that she was the one for him in an instant. He swept her off her feet with the ardour of his suit, and a year later they were married.

And that's been my personal experience also, I have always tended to attract men when I wasn't thinking about attracting them, or bothering about it. My personal advice to any woman who wants a man would be to stop thinking about it so much and just get on with being yourself and pursuing your own interests, men are more likely to like you if you are interested in something else besides them. Men who are worth having like interesting women. Of course, if dressing up and wearing makeup etc is your thing anyway, that's an entirely different matter, and if you want to attract a dressy man you are probably more likely to do so if you are a dressy woman. I just don't believe that these things are sure-fire way of attracting men. You can attract men without doing any of that stuff, as I have observed from my own life and the lives of other women I have known. If you like dressing up etc then do so, but I think it's something you should do for your own pleasure, rather than with the aim of attracting, because if a man's got his eye on you, it won't matter what you wear.


Joy is more attractive than carefully-maintained 'femininity'

Here is another exemple for you, Louise: There was a time in my life when I had the chance to practice my favourite sport—inline skating—to an excess. I did more than 200 kms every week skating along "Donauinsel" (Danube Island) of Vienna several times a week. I felt radiant with the exercise, full of happiness and inner laughter. I felt so light I could have drifted off in the sky any time.
Well, men seemed to just LOVE my state of mind! They accompanied me skating along the island, asking for a date or at least for my number, and even in my "normal" life in the City men were attracted to me as never before (and never afterwards ;). And all this in spite of my shabby clothing—I had little money at that time, and anyway I prefer to keep my sport clothing Spartan -, my hair was usually drawn back in a bun, secured with some carelessly thrust-in hairpins, which I kept losing, so I must have looked like some witch most of the time, I was sweaty with no makeup at all. And still men kept rotating around me! It must have been my obvious physical happiness which they liked and wanted to partake of, not some carefully-maintained "femininity".

Saskia Weisser

I love being feminine

State of mind and confidence in who you are as a person is what it is all about.

If a woman finds it silly to put on makeup, do her hair and nails, and wear feminine clothing then she simply should not do it!

I personally have never felt silly doing these things. I love it! I feel very much like a woman when I am all put together so to speak. I have never found this to be hard to do but more of a reflection of an aspect of me. Men have always found approval with the way that I look and dress and I also prefer men who take a certain amount of pride in the way that they look as well.

I do however, feel very comfortable relaxed in jeans and a tank with flip flop shoes or gym clothes with hair pulled back and no makeup. It is all about how you feel about yourself that matters.

I am comfortable in my sexuality and love having sex appeal and I do not need some book telling me what that is because I am in touch with who I am and with that being said I am also just as comfortable being laid back and relaxed if that is my mood.

I would not be comfortable with no effort at all though! Not on my part or the part of my man.

I agree completely Precious B

I agree completely Precious Baby. It's not that I find make up and heels silly. I've seen a great number of women look absolutely beautiful dressed up with 'just so' make up. When I attempt make up and fancy clothes I still feel a little like a child playing dress up. I feel uncomfortable in that clothing and cannot wear it with confidence. It's just not who I am. I am blue jeans and an over sized sweater. If I MUST dress up, I am slacks and a nicer over sized sweater. I learned a long time ago that you can't make a silk purse from a sows ear, and I refuse to keep trying.

being yourself

Hera said

"I don't agree women just attract men by being themselves."

I don't understand this at all. How else can one attract somone who is going to love them for who they are if they pretend to be something they are not? If I had attracted my huband by pretending to be very feminine and worrying about my nails, clothing make up etc... he would have soon been disappointed in me. Being like that is not something I can or wish to sustain.

You have to be yourself or you will attract someone who is not interested in who you really are but in the person you are pretending to be. Obviously in the early stages of the relationship one is on best behaviour but that should not stop the core of one's being from coming out.


We know it when we see it

Having never read her books, I know nothing about Mrs. Andelin's concept of femininity. If it is as absurd as you describe it is, then I agree, it is idiotic. Although I agree that femininity is an innate quality, its full expression can be suppressed by society's standards. After many years of staying home with the kids, my wife now works professionally. To survive and thrive in that environment she finds she has to be assertive and masculine. She is able to "turn on" those qualities at work becasue she needs to do so in order to do her job. She enjoys her work and finds it satisfying, yet when she returns home she wants to relax into her femininity. She feels it is a truer expression of herself. She can cast off that hard exterior because she feels safe with me. Consequently this allows her to freely express her softer, more feminine nature. It may be difficult to precisely define what is feminine and what is masculine these days, but both my wife and I, know it when we see it. I, for one, am glad that I have a feminine woman as my wife. BTW she looks far better in a dress, lipstick, and diamond earrings than I do!!

Louise, I couldn't agree with

Louise, I couldn't agree with you more. I resent being told what is and what isn't feminine when I am a woman and darn well know what feminine is by my nature. I do so love the contrived polished nails, high heels and tight sweater though. But not the Mrs. Andelin advice.


femininity and confidence are linked I think

I don't know if this is a contradiction, but wearing high heels, make-up, etc. doesn't necessarily make me feel feminine. However, when my hair is a mess and I'm dressed in sweats, I think I could say that I do feel unfeminine. As related to clothing and appearance, feelings of femininity arise most when my husband expresses that what I'm wearing is a turn-on and that I look really good in them (read sexy). These comments could relate to a beautiful new dress that fits just right as well as a cute pair of p.j.'s in a color he loves me in.

I remember early on when we were dating, we spent some time with his friends and their girlfriends. The girls were all blond, giggly, airhead types, dressed in the latest fashions and hair just so. I'm much more conservative and felt like a school librarian next to them. I specifically remember feeling very unfeminine. However, those feelings quickly subsided when my now husband cracked some jokes to me about them and made sure I knew that I was the girl for him. All feelings of femininity were restored. I suppose back then the issue was being young and sometimes lacking confidence in myself. So as I've matured so has my own personal sense of femininity.


The Librarian And The Wallflower

I find these types to be very feminine. On the outside they are
very reserved and seem very straight-laced. But on the inside, where
no one sees, is a raging inferno of fiery desire and passion. This is
very feminine and very sexy.

Mike Starre

Learning femininity

To let my femininity free I must do it knowingly. I must even learn what this my part is. And that it is my part I see from that I feel good doing it.

But this doesn't apply to "beating on his chest ...". This I find comical. This is not a part of mine.


Naturally feminine women are admirable and brave


I like women who are naturally feminine and like to show it; the kind of woman who will negotiate icy steps or wet cobble stone in stiletto heels and a pencil skirt with elegance and grace and openly enjoy the stares she is attracting; the kind of woman who is proud of—and confident about her femininity.

I do not think women who do not feel good in feminine clothes should necessarily wear them. It is not going to look natural. I have nothing against women who prefer jeans and practical shoes. They just do not speak to me sexually, and this is no big deal since I am well spoken for already ;-)

But I do think that many women would like to be more feminine but dare not break out of the practical role that they have assumed over time out of fear of how people may react. Perhaps they fear that other women will think of them as airheads or putting on an act. The truth is that they are putting on an act every minute of their lives in pretending that they have no need to be feminine.


Feminine women

Stiletto heels and pencil skirts are surely clothes for when you're going out on the town or something, you don't wear those when you're doing the housework or running around after the kids. Dressing so that you can't move without difficulty is surely a luxury for special occasions; most women have to be able to move with more ease while they're engaged in doing what has to be done. If my husband got me a nanny to look after the children and a cleaner to do the housework then I'd dress in pencil skirts and stiletto heels if he wanted me to!(what I'd looklike in them is anothre matter) Men who are attracted to women based on the clothes they wear seem to me a rather strange species, surely what's under the clothes matters more than the clothes themselves? Or maybe not. Personally I agree totally with what Katherine Hepburn said on this subject: "If I thought a man cared how I looked, I would have thought he was a fool, I would really." a red-blooded male, in my experience, wants to get clothes off you rather than onto you.

Anyway, the whole 'feminine' racket seems to me to be about much more than clothes; 'feminine' as defined by some people (like Mrs Andelin for example) seems to be about behaving like a total airhead, and I question whether it is necessary to behave so in order to be considered feminine. Surely even a woman in stiletto heels and a pencil skirt can exhibit signs of intelligence without being considered unfeminine. I understand that 'feminine' is considered to emcompass certain modes of behaviour, but I question whether those modes need include imbecility. To behave in a 'feminine' manner seems to mean to some people like behaving like a slightly mentally retarded child. This definition of 'feminine' seems totally bizarre to me.

I've never actually met a man who used the word 'feminine' to me, and I don't know what I would have made of it if he did. I've been called pretty, beautiful, sexy, intelligent, interesting, annoying, insolent, infuriating, and bloody bone idle, but I've never had a man either call me feminine, or express a desire that I should be more feminine. I suppose I simply wouldn't attract the sort of men who were hung up on 'feminine' behaviour.

Personally, I think I agree with Florence King, who in 'Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady' used the archaic word 'malkin' to describe the girls she was at college with in the 1950s. Having tried to work out what it was she hated about them so much, she came to to conclusion that it was their constant fear of deviating from the 'feminine' norm. "A malkin is a woman who worries about her femininity" she wrote. if you ARE feminine, whatever that is, then that's all well and good. But the constant fear that you might be doing, or being something that is 'unfeminine' just strikes me as somewhat ridiculous. The clothes seem to me to be less important tha what goes on in your head.


Egghead said "I do think

Egghead said

I do think that many women would like to be more feminine but dare not break out of the practical role that they have assumed over time out of fear of how people may react. Perhaps they fear that other women will think of them as airheads or putting on an act. The truth is that they are putting on an act every minute of their lives in pretending that they have no need to be feminine.

I am wondering why you think this.

I am not what I would consider to be feminine and am very happy the way I am. I have no wish whatsoever to be tottering over wet cobblestones in stiletto shoes or negotiating icy steps.

I would much rather be having fun sliding along the ice in a pair of flat comfortable leather hush puppies.

I don't think feminine women have much fun, they seem far too concerned with how they look.

Give me fun and laughter over tottering and perfect nails any day.


High heeled shoes

This morning we had an earthquake here. The house shook, and if I'd been wearing high-heeled shoes at the time I'd have fallen flat on my face. One more reason for not wearing them!


High heels, femininity

I myself love high heels and pencil skirts, but as a mother of two little sons and active housewife I cannot wear them very often, which is a pity. I am planning to wear them again more often as soon as my sons have grown some :))

Louise, you seem to think that for most people "feminine" is the the same as "airhead". I personally find that "feminine" is the same as "ladylike", where I take the definition of a "lady" from the book "To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee. In other words it is Julie Andrews (in her later movies, but in Mary Poppins as well) who I find incredibly feminine, not Pamela Anderson ;))) Femininity is something you cannot describe in terms of high heels or no high heels, it is a kind of a mindset for me: self-confidence, high self-esteem, sympathy for the weak, helpfulness, cheerfulness, countenance, pride—I guess you get what I mean.

Saskia Weisser


Dressing up, make-up, etc. are fun, and there was a time in my life where I couldn't leave the house not looking like a fashion plate.

At this stage in my life, there's no one to look that way for, and I don't want to be swarmed by men I want nothing to do with.

I've also become more comfortable with myself, my flaws, my big nose, my acne, etc. I realized I don't have to look like an airbrushed magazine cover to feel attractive. Also, the men who smile at me and pay attention to me as myself, are more likely to be men I'd want to spend time with. Men who can accept me as merely 'cute', not fake, otherworldly beauty.

I don't think being feminine is about clothes and make up anyway, I've had a friend joke about me having 3 x chromosomes before, which makes me think it's not just something that can be put on.

I agree with Hera

We don't attract each other just by "being ourselves": I think we also need to consciously develop ourselves to be the best man or the best woman we can be. That's what I meant in another article when I think I wrote about "being and becoming" a dominant man—having the instinct is necessary, but it's not sufficient. I need self-awareness, too, and the willingness to work at myself and at relationships.

So we can learn to be more masculine men, and more feminine women, if we want to. And why shouldn't we?

I guess it depends on your id

I guess it depends on your ideal. I never really felt the "feminine" woman to necessarily be an ideal, at least not for me. In literature I've always admired the tomboys. I think women should be strong, and men should be even stronger. Frankly I'm not sure where feminity comes into play there.

One of the most important things my mom told me was to never dumb myself down for a man. If I were to force myself into a meeker more feminine role I wouldn't be able to respect myself, or the man who only appeared stronger than I because I was suppressing who I am.

Hi CJ. I believe that the

Hi CJ.

I believe that there is nothing meek about being feminine. In fact it can be very powerful indeed. Some women seem to be uncomfortable/shy/unsure of themselves in this realm. I feel perfectly natural in this regard and would be greatly disappointed if I couldn't express that.

I grew up surrounded by all boys(brothers,cousins,neighbors). I could run faster than most and was very competitive with them in all the various sports that we involved ourselves in. I didn't let them win anything and they had to come with their A game on if they wanted to attempt to beat me!

One of the few places where I was different from the boys was in my femininity! I believe it to be a very distinguishing attribute and I embrace it! I would never squelch that defining characteristic as I would cease to exist as my true self.

Playing dumb was never an option as my competitive streak didn't allow for that mindset. I would never hide my intellect from the opposite sex but I wouldn't feel the need to flaunt it either-- unless a man felt the need to challenge it. I can rise to the occasion if challenged and this can either be delightful or annoying depending on the context. If a man feels the need to debate with me and he feels it necessary to be condescending towards me he will probably be disappointed with my frankness but if it is just a mutual exchange with respect in tact this is quite fun indeed! I can feel the pride of being valued as the intellect I am and also extend that respect back to a worthy and/or respectful man.

Some of the posters on this site seem to equate high heels, dresses, skirts, makeup, or what not, with lacking intelligence. This is absurd and to easy to read behind. They have either bought into the hollywood bimbo syndrome and reflect that onto all attractive women possessing feminine charms or it makes them feel better about themselves. Either way I will continue to be who I am with no apologies, but not lacking in respect, and hope other women like myself will do the same.

Turn on cnbc stock market channel and you will be bombarded with very attractive, well-educated, highly intelligent women who are dressed in feminine power suits, manincured, pedicured, jewelry in tact, shiny hair, glowing skin, and they are rubbing elbows with some of the most high powered players in the world! Nothing dumb about these ladies. Donald Trumps apprentice is another example of a show that denounces femininity with stupidity!

It is time to make room for the intelligent feminine women of the world and to quit trying to fit them into some worn out mold or make them conform to more masculine traits to be considered smart!

conforming to appear smart?

I am not a feminine woman but I do not "conform to more masculine traits to be considered smart!"
I am just not very graceful, I have size 8 feet and am broad shouldered and quite square jawed. I am sure you will agree that these are not feminine traits. I have always preferred more masculine pursuits that included mud, heights, martial arts, motor bikes etc… This is not an attempt to “be” anything it is just who I am.
When I was younger I denied who I was and behaved in a maner that most men seem to find attractive but I normally became very bored with them as they either tried to put me down when my true self came out or were so weak and pathetic that I dumped them after a short while.
The men who have been attracted to me as I really am were mentally strong and confident in themselves and not intimidated by my masculine type power.
When I go out I wear a little bit of make up etc but do not try to be feminine because to be quite frank if I do try to be feminine I look and feel a like a bit of an idiot.
I wear clothes that suit my shape and ooze confidence out of every pore. I hold my head up high and stand strong and tall. Not feminine but definitely a female sexual being.
I think it doesn’t matter if you are a feminine woman or a tomboy woman if you can ooze sex appeal men will be interested.

No disrespect

When I posted I had know intention of reading disrespectful towards women who prefer being "tomboy" or wearing relaxed clothing like "blue jeans & T-shirts". As I have posted I am a rough and tough girl as well as a feminine one and I dress in relaxed clothes often because I exercise outdoors/indoors, wrestle with the boys, get hot and sweaty, workout my body, play games...and skirts and high heeled attire would not allow for me to participate! I do these activities because they make me happy and are very much a part of my overall personality.

But I also dress in skirts, dresses, blouses, high heels, painted fingers and toes, makeup, and jewelry. I look very polished and feminine. Evenings out may find me wearing slinky dresses and displaying (not in a street- walker manner but definitely in an enhancing one) my womanly curves. My only intent was to express that this does not make me an idiot or lacking in intelligence because I choose to do this. I am comfortable in both realms! I am intelligent in both!

Dressing down does not mean that I am conforming to masculine traits as I am still woman. I was talking more from a business standpoint when women had to resist feminine clothing to be taken seriously and sometimes it seems as though some women still expect this from professional feminine women. I find that suppressing.

No one has ever said to me when I am without makeup with gym clothes on or ponytailed playing sports... that I look or act like an idiot and I find it curious that it is when I am all feminine girly or dripping in sexual appeal that I or others like me are considered as behaving in an idiotic manner. This just seems one-sided and I felt a need to express my feelings on the matter.

I apologize if I offended anyone as I am a big supporter of women of all personalities, shapes, sizes, and looks! It makes no difference to me. What counts is their character as a person.

Femininity, clothes, silliness.

I don't think that dressing in a 'feminine' way makes a woman seem like an idiot. My objection was to the idea that a woman must dress,and behave, in a certain way in order to be attractive to men. I do not believe this to be true, based on my own experience. I also get the impression that to some people (like Mrs Andelin for instance)being 'feminine' does mean behaving in ways that I find pretty silly.

I argue that it it unnecessary for a woman to behave in a silly manner in order to be considered feminine. It is clearly possible for a woman to be both feminine and highly intelligent and capable of behaving like a rational adult.

I also argue that it is not necessary for a woman to dress in a specific way in order to be attractive to men. Perhaps these two arguments have somehow got confused. It's probably my lack of a university education or something.

I don't think it's silly to dress in a feminine way provided that is what you like and are comfortable with. I don't think women who dress up are silly. I don't dress in a feminine way, but I can be extremely silly at times (though I do try not to make a habit of it).


Responding to Cj

I was the one who wrote the posting to Cj about meek and feminine women. I forgot to log in.

Precious Baby, I agree with p

Precious Baby, I agree with pretty much everything that you posted in this thread. I have no bias against women who dress up nicely in more feminine clothing, wear make up, etc. I just see no reason why I should do so to appear more feminine. In my case it would be putting on an act. I feel awkward in "feminine" clothes, and I don't see why I should practice feeling better in them. I feel good in what I wear now, so why change? Just as there is nothing wrong with wearing "feminine" clothing, there is nothing wrong with blue jeans and T-shirts.

I've heard the saying before that "clothes make the man." I completely disagree. I am more of the mindset that "I make this look good" because when I wear it I exude a genuine calm confidence that I don't have in "feminine" clothes.

Being the best

I do not believe anyone should have to force themselves into a mould to be someone they are not, in order to be attractive. The idea of 'learning' to be more feminine frankly appalls me. It reminds me of those dreadful films I hated so much when I was young 'Annie Get Your Gun' and 'Calamity Jane' where the tomboy heroines were trained to become 'feminine' in order to get their men. 'annie Get Your Gun' was particularly maddening in having Annie 'get' her man by losing a shooting contest to him. This is an outrageous distortion of what happened in real life, Annie Oakley actually got her man by beating him in a shooting contest, Frank Butler married her after she had beaten him. I was practically spitting with rage when I saw that film.

Being 'feminine'if you are that way is one thing, but pretending to be like that if you are not is quite another. If being 'feminine' means that teetering around in high heels and tight skirts is obligatory, then that is something I simply don't want to be. And plenty of men were attracted to me without me doing those things, so I conclude that it is possible to attract men by being yourself. A man who has a clothes fetish is obviously going to be attracted to a woman who wears the kind of clothes that he likes, but not all men are like that. many men (I found) are more interested in what's under the clothes. You CAN be yourself and still attract men, you don't have to put on a 'feminine' act if if it's not who you feel you are.

You may need to act 'feminine' in order to attract a certain type of man, but there are plenty of men who will still be attracted to you even if you do not behave in a 'feminine' manner (which in any case I do not believe has to mean behaving like a halfwit). If this were not so I would never have had any boyfriends, and I would never have got married. Not only are there plenty of men who are uninterested in 'feminine' behaviour, but there are some who definitely prefer you to be 'unfeminine'. I remember one chap who, when I turned up for a date in a skirt, said to me with faint disapproval "Haven't you got any denims?".

There are, fortunately, an infinite variety of men, just as there are an infinite variety of women, and it is simply not true that you have to behave in a certain kind of way in order to fascinate a man. YOu can be yourself and still be fascinating. Otherwise I wouldn't be married, I wouldn't have three sons, and I wouldn't be writing on here.


Agree with Carl

"consciously develop ourselves to be the best" is really true value in a relationship (for instance, many women on this site cry for their men be more dominant...). But what I mean Louise and other mean is that uniform dictate is what we refuse. We are simply different as to conform to so called norms.


High heels

My aunt was to pass two surgeries as a consequence of her life long wearing high heels. High heels mutilate foot.


High heels & femininety

Hali said,

"High heels mutilate foot."

Not if you restrict them to bedroom fun! ;) I personally do not usually prefer to wear high heels myself & don't normally wear them out. But my husband LOVES them!

I feel very feminine when I wear them for him. Not because the shoes themselves make me feel that way, but because I know it's a turn on for him. I feel most feminine when I'm wearing or doing something that my husband finds sexy!

I also feel feminine when I'm hangin' out in a tank top & comfy pants. It's a state of mind for me. It doesn't necessarily have to do with what you're wearing. It's what makes you feel like you. Being true to your inner being. Sometimes a girl likes to dress up & sometimes not. It's all good!


Being feminine

Bit of a divide on this thread, isn't there?

Like Egghead mentioned, high heels are very feminine. I accept to some extent it depends on your life. I go to meetings, I go to places where I have to look good and a lot of the time I'm standing or sitting. I pay people to clean etc for me so it's perfectly feasible always to wear skirts and heels. Even working at home I always wear a skirt. It makes me feel better.

It makes me feel different from men. It makes me feel good and attractive. Obviously when I'm mowing the lawn or on a country walk or skiing or whatever I'm not in high heels.

I think for me as I said first above the being feminine thing makes me feel constricted, sexual, limited, displayed and it's erotic. It's erotic because of the very effect the heels have on you. People help you. They look at you. It just works for me.

being helped

I think Hera had found why there is such a difference in views on femininity. When looking and acting feminine it brings out the desire many men have to help and protect.
Some women want this; others don't. Maybe it's to do with up bringing. From a very early age I was self sufficient and did not have much help so I learned to help myself. I do my own DIY etc and am proud of being able to do things that are usually a male domain.
For the feminine woman she uses her femininity to exploit the male desire to help and protect to get them to do things for her.
I think it just comes down to would you rather do it your self or have a man do it for you. No one is more correct than the other just different ways and views.

why worry aobut it so much?

Personally I tend to span the spectrum when it comes to how I dress, how I act, and it has nothing to do with men... I'm a variant person. I am just as at home in sweats and a super sized tee as I am in a tight skirt a plunging neckline and heels as long as I am dressed for the occasion. I don't believe my clothes make me any more or less feminine. My actions, or my words will however have a great impact on it, as well they should. You are who you are and you can embrace all the extremes and in betweens that you are as a individual can't you? Some ties I am very feminine sometimes I am not at all- I react to situations accordingly I hope but I don't deny that all of it is a part of who I am.

I can't forget femininity....

it's on my mind a great deal. Having been raised in a society that fed me a certain image of what "feminine" is, and not conforming to that "ideal," left me in a bit of a quandary until I worked through some issues and got very clear on my own definition of femininity. I suspect every woman has her very own definition. I know that I do not equate high heels with femininity because I have a congenital birth defect in one of my feet that absolutely prohibits heels higher than 2" maximum.

Lower heels do not make me feel unfeminine. What did used to make me feel unfeminine is my physical size. I am not fat, but I am big, from peasant-stock, as my grandmother used to say. "We would drop babies in the field and go on and keep working," was the mantra in my matriarchal line. The message was that we were not built for speed, we were built for comfort, with lots of padding and curves. (The curves do allow me to feel more feminine, I must say.)

So, femininity for me always felt like a real struggle. I do not look like a man, god knows, but I have often had trouble feeling like a woman, until some years back, when I started to redefine femininity for myself. What is interesting to me about that process is that it started while I was in academia for many years, and was consistently questioned about my use of makeup. Women academics don't usually wear makeup, apparently, but I did, and do, and that really stands out in that world. So I was forced to look at all these issues and really evaluate them, analyze them, and understand my own feelings and motives.

Thanks for raising the issue! A good topic for thought and conversation.