Femininity by Hillary Goodman

I am convinced I was born in the wrong era.  As a young girl I would dream of living in the times of Anne of Green Gables and picture myself wearing a fancy updo and a petticoat or corset.  Even now, as a grown woman, with every episode of Downton Abbey I fall deeper in love with formal breakfasts and courtyard strolls with parasols.  The chivalry of the gentlemen, the modest relations... call me old fashioned and I won’t be offended.  I’ll take it as a compliment.  A man holding the door for a woman and “ladies first” attitudes really get my heart going pitter patter.  

Enter the 21st Century. Booty shorts and cleavage may represent a certain mainstream crowd but this promoted representation of females doesn’t accurately portray all women.  What about women who want to emulate femininity?  There is a difference between trying to look sexy and feeling beautiful.  While much of femininity is interpreted as frilly dresses and ribbons and lace, as cliche as it sounds, its what’s on the inside that matters most.   Attributes of femininity include, gentleness, empathy, and sensitivity.

There is also a difference in femininity and being a feminist.  The world tells women we need more power, more responsibility, more duties.  I believe we already have power within ourselves when we enjoy the responsibilities and duties we own.  If you know who you are that power will rise within you. What has happened to women and the honorable role they play in this life? We have become distracted by popular pressures that counterfeit our true beauty and cause us to forget our effeminate character.  Women who are feminine radiate the power to feel beautiful, the power of respect, the power to nurture and love, and the power to lead generations with positive influence.   

 When women act with feminine presence, we are more likely to be respected as such. 
I’m fortunate to have a husband who was taught to honor women, and to this day he still stands when a woman enters a room.  He is teaching our sons to do the same.  In turn, his actions motivate me to be worthy of this tribute.  Our down to earth qualities and our ladylike charm are so needed in today’s world.  There is a careful balance wherein the more we act with grace, the more we will be valued as graceful.  It can be easy to give into the attitudes of Nancy Nag, Chatty Cathy or Trashy Trisha.  It would do our gender and the human race well to zero in on the things that uplift women instead of knocking them down.  It’s not just about high heels and hairdos.  There is transcendent power in being femine.

“The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

 Women I know and have aspired to be like: (none of whom are famous)
-My mother : taught etiquette classes to young women, represented her state in several charity events, never breathed a word of complaint throughout her battle with cancer
-Anne Tanner : supported her husband who served as my Church Mission President while caring for over 200, 19 to 21-year-old young men and young women, and all with a smile on her face. 
-Cathy Redfern : welcomed me into her home, when I was away from my own home and prayed with and for me.  Even through her own trials, she taught me the importance of strength and hope.
-Jenni Doherty : shared her love for others with me.  She and her husband founded Daraja Acadamy, a boarding secondary school for Kenyan girls of poverty.

3 Tips for embracing the attributes of femininity
-Watch your language: not just swearing, refrain from gossip, complaining, and blaming others. Avoid the poison of jealousy and comparison (gentleness)
-Defend your role as a woman; unfollow people or sites who are negative about the value of women.  If you see something that, in your opinion degrades women, speak out or personally boycott that business.(sensitivity)
-sympathize with others who may be dealing with burdens, even when you are dealing with your own (empathy) Women need to bind together instead of ripping others apart.

3 Tips for looking and feeling more feminine for Girly Girls (like me)  
-Paint your nails; I was surprised to hear my older brother say one time, “I love it when women have their nails painted.  It shows they take care of themselves and care about the way they look”.
-Try a new lipstick.  Even a nude gloss can give you a bit of feminine flare.
-Wear a skirt or dress.  You act how you dress.  If you stay in your pjs all day, you’ll most likely end up having a lazy day. (which isn’t so bad once in awhile)

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