Have you ever wondered if being ‘feminine’ is something women are basically forced to do? Or is it just a set of rules that women have just become accustomed to because of the sexist attitudes of the past years? As I was growing up, all I heard was ‘you need to be more lady-like, Jacqueline’ or ‘be a girl; stop acting like a boy!’ But, what is it really to be ‘more lady-like’ or ‘feminine?’ image.

Curiosity sparked inside me, so I started to ask my family/friends what it really was to be feminine in their own opinions. The variety of answers I got were interesting yet annoyingly similar. My grandmother told me, “to be feminine is to know how to act in public. Women are supposed to present themselves well mannered to society. Don’t dress so extravagant or talk vulgarly because it ruins your image.” My mother told me, ” I guess to act feminine is to know your place between people. To know when to act like a girl and when not to.” “Acting feminine, as you say, is to be able to respect yourself and know who you are,” is what my father said. My best girl friend told me, ” to be feminine is to be sensitive, to be considered a gentle person, to be more emotional.” The response that most caught my attention, and I wanted to know more about, was my grandmother’s response. Not only because she had more to say but because she spoke of femininity as an expectation that must be followed in order to be a woman. Her response kind of scared me because everything she said, I had never really followed, and I guess that is why she always scolded me when I did something ‘not lady-like’ in her point of view. I understood the point that she was born in the in the 20th century, when the norms of her days were for a woman to stay home and provide care and food for her children and husband. That was the woman’s job in her era, so her response was based with the ideas she was taught with.

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Hope Solo, United States women’s national team goalkeeper, was largely criticized when she performed in “Dancing With the Stars” because she was not “feminine enough,” and according to the judges, she had “too much muscle” to dance correctly. In a Huffington post interview, Solo said,When I did, Dancing With the Stars, everyone in Hollywood was saying I had too much muscle. And I wanted to be, like, I work my ass off day in and day out to win this country gold medals, to win this country World Cups. And you’re proud of that when I’m on the field, but when I’m off the field, you put me down.” This exactly describes how much being feminine has to do with the body as well. A woman’s body should be slim and delicate as an expectation. Hope Solo is one of the most inspirational figures for women because she proves to be not what society expects about every single woman. She unbalances the gender roles by playing soccer and working out a lot; something that not many women do, so it makes the society feel uncomfortable due to the fact that women are assumed to be born and men are made.   image

Women are assumed to have feminine qualities like be sensitive, gentle, or even weak. Hope Solo is the complete opposite, yet she still has womanly characteristics, like be sensitive like any other girl would be. Solo proves to show society that women do not always have to be so weak; they can be strong as well and should not be judged by society because she is not feminine enough. Women should have their own identity and still be considered a woman or feminine. To this day, society has become so accustomed to the idea that women should be feminine that they judge everything about a woman physically. Society, men in particular, cannot see a woman seem stronger or more successful than a man. It is not “normal” and push aside the hard work women put in too to be where they are at.

Femininity is a largely argued topic because now a days, women are becoming independent and do not need a man to make her life complete. Women are now playing sports, are active in politics, are doing jobs that a lot of men would do. These women are the ones that prove the ideas of the 20th century. It is more of a worldwide problem because women are still viewed as sensitive creatures that need a man to be successful.

Back in the days, women could not play sports whatsoever because it just was not right, but now, women of all countries play sports because we are more open to the idea of women doing what they want. This should be the new norm to us because women are much more independent.

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