Feminine and Feminist

I will freely admit that I have been struggling to find things to put on this blog recently.  I leave for Scotland in 2 weeks and 2 days, so mostly I am frantically sewing on a variety of things and organizing my life and picking up a WHOLE NEW HOBBY while I’m at it because, well, why not?

So while my Facebook and Instagram have been active, this blog has not.  I have a Thought, though, so I am going to sit here and write at 10:30 at night when I should be sleeping because I’m going to an event tomorrow but the words are here so this is happening now.

K.

I consider myself a feminist.  If you are a person who thinks that is a bad word, you should leave now (why were you even here??).  I’m a cis female and my general world view is “y’all do what makes you happy and as long as that does not threaten anyone else’s life, happiness, or existence, we’re good!” and I think feminism is an important aspect of that.  Women (cis or trans or nonbinary femme or ??guess we’re presenting as Girl today) should be allowed to live their lives in the way that makes them happy, and be treated equally for that.

And this sort of ties into another, slightly more personal aspect– femininity.  Stereotypical “girlness”.  Now is the point where I should probably explain that I spent most of my childhood wanting to be a cross between asexual Lara Croft (with more clothes, and a practical bra) and Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.  I was a tomboy and I wanted to be tall and strong and able to hold my own with guys and fight and

And I turned out to be 5’1″ tall with a face like a demure 19th C heroine and tiny feet and delicate wrists and, well, fundamentally feminine.  Nobody looks at me and is intimidated.  Every man I have ever met has been taller than me.

So in the SCA I am a young, small, feminine, well, female who is almost exclusively involved in feminine activities.  There aren’t very many male embroiderers around, just like there aren’t many female knights.

I’m not a female knight, I almost certainly will never be a female knight, and honestly I probably shouldn’t be heavy fighting since my career is so dependent on fine motor control.  As a result, I feel like a bad feminist.  That I should be out there with Sir Helga and Duchess Mari and Countess Annora kicking butt and not sitting in a pretty dress in a corner with my needle and thread.

Even though sewing makes me happy.  Even though I can tell you that embroidery and knitting and weaving and sewing involve just as much math, logic and intelligence as fighting. That for a lot of history mathematics was so tied up in female activities that it was considered to be nigh unto witchcraft.  But still, these are soft things.  Female things.

For me personally there is yet another layer– I left a competitive, prestigious career path that paid well for one that is less well respected and also very female-dominated (lower pay in a mostly female field.  I would never have guessed).  Even though I am so much happier, I still feel like I have downgraded myself.  That I should be tall and broad-shouldered, putting on armor every weekend and studying glioblastoma at work during the week.

I’m not that person.  I never was that person, and I never will be.  I’m learning to not apologize for that.

4 thoughts on “Feminine and Feminist

  1. I went from a translator path at uni to doing nails for a living and, yeah, I feel you. Even though we were mainly girls in translation, and even tho I’ve been into beauty stuff as long as I’ve been into languages, even though it’s irrational, but it’s a ~feminine~ field, therefore lesser. Societal nonsense is hard to unlearn.

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  2. On the first bit about doing what makes you happy, I’ve always felt the Wiccans summed it up well since I have the same philosophy; “Do what ye will, but harm none.”.

    You can’t help how you’re built, and knowing that yes, you are slightly more likely to become damaged while fighting because of it, and that you need your fine motor control shows common sense. Have you thought about picking up rapier? It is less likely to break bones, and you can wear fancier clothing 😉 .
    Also, short people, especially ladies, are scary. I may be slightly biased since Mom is a foot shorter than me, and was a cop briefly.

    The pay difference is stupid, won’t argue with that at all.

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  3. Being a feminist does not mean you need to scorn traditional “female” pursuits. It means that you believe in the radical (!) idea that men and women should be on equal ground. The idea that you’re only a good feminist if you scorn feminine things is actually a form of ingrained misogyny.
    “A woman in a business environment cannot be a good manager if she wears dresses, does her hair and wears makeup.” The implication there is that only “manly” women (ie, men) make good managers.

    You are a perfectly wonderful Feminist. You happen to be pursuing a traditionally feminine course. It is societies internalized misogyny that is causing you to believe you have to do “man” things to be a good feminist.

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