The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

Stigma surrounding femininity

May 25, 2022

Holmberg said society views traits associated with feminity as weaker and inferior to those associated with masculinity.

“Anything feminine is sort of associated with bad,” she said. “Whether it’s a woman being feminine or whether it’s a man being feminine.”

Holmberg said this stigma around femininity prevents women from expressing themselves and creates more pressure on a woman’s appearance.

“It could definitely impact like self-expression and maybe even increase more focus on appearance because in a patriarchal society, a woman’s appearance is like, basically the entirety of the woman’s existence,” she said.

Piloto said when she dresses feminine in a professional setting where other women dress more formal and less feminine, she feels self-conscious about her appearance. 

“I feel sometimes inferior, you know, when I’m in a group of more of intellectuals, and there are women there, and I’m like all dolled up,” she said. “I do sometimes feel like people look down on girliness and femininity.”

Crawford said one of the reasons there are negative connotations surrounding dressing feminine is an association with weakness.

‘There’s like a lot of that stigma or like, ‘Oh, she wears dresses all the time, you know she can’t, like, run around and jump and play.’ Of course she can,” she said. “Even if she can’t in the moment because she’s just wearing a dress, who cares? It doesn’t make her weak because she wears dresses or feminine clothing or likes feminine things.”

There shouldn’t be a differentiation on if you’re smart or girly. You can be smart and girly, right? And I think that that’s really important for girls to see as well.”

— Computer Science Teacher Livia Piloto

Piloto said femininity should be appreciated instead of being looked down upon.

“I love the fact that we can pull off makeup and we can do our hair the way that we want to do it,” she said. “I think it’s a form of outspokenness.”

Piloto said being feminine and smart can coexist and women should not have to choose between one or the other.

“There shouldn’t be a differentiation on if you’re smart or girly,” she said. “You can be smart and girly, right? And I think that that’s really important for girls to see as well.”

 

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