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Author Topic: About Feminine things  (Read 2055 times)

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Offline DreamsofUnicorn

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About Feminine things
« on: October 09, 2021, 09:26:19 PM »
I have a friend who is much more higher needs Autistic than I am. She was bullied very hard in her younger years because she was "too girly" she just happened to wander into those unmoderated forum (Wrong Planet and such). Being friends with her has really changed how I view how media depicts girly-girls and feminine characters. I want to show her that more feminine people are good people and that there are more like her out there. I figured this topic is work discussing. 
Just trying to make everyone happy.
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Offline BlackCurtains

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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2021, 10:59:05 PM »
Are feminine people supposed to be bad? :huh: I know the "dumb blonde" trope and men who present feminine being seen as weaklings but I didn't know it was seen as a bad thing by some. I don't consider myself feminine, but I have no problem with people expressing themselves that way.

I'm not up on pop culture much either and don't follow influencers or anything trendy, so I don't know how helpful I can be :P

But there are a lot of strong feminine role models out there :) Angelina Jolie comes to mind. She's tough and plays tough characters, but is always made up and beautiful.

A thing to remind your friend of is that "things" are not gender exclusive. Clothing, make-up, colors, toys - everything is appropriate for anyone who wishes to express themselves that way. The same for activities and interests. Take this forum as example :) There are all kinds of people here and we all like ponies.

Media is really bad at trying to stick people into boxes, I'm afraid. TV and Movies are probably the worst. Things are slowly changing though. More people are being accepted than ever before, even if it doesn't seem like it at times. There's nothing wrong with being a "girly-girl" and it doesn't define a personality. I don't know much about toxic femininity like I do masculinity. Before now, I never gave it much thought, but it must exist. I know women are very good about putting down other women, and that's a real shame. We should all support each other, unless there is something going on that is dangerous.
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Offline DreamsofUnicorn

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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2021, 12:41:06 AM »
link to a fascinating video under the spoiler
Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.
there are good role models starting to crop up, like pip!
my friend was on the internet at a time that was really toxic and it still effects her along with a bunch of other trauma that I am not gonna detail cus it's her business. 
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2021, 11:44:09 AM »
That was a fascinating video. It brings up a lot of good points.

Not saying it's okay, because it certainly isn't, but I think most of us get bullied at some point on the internet. Same with in school when we were younger. But just like the media portrayal of stereotypes is getting better, awareness of how bullying can cause long term harm (and in many cases, self harm) is growing in schools. Unfortunately, parts of the internet are still very toxic and probably will be for a long time. On the other hand, safe and accepting places will continue to exist as well :)

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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2021, 06:14:32 PM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with being a girly girl. There is an argument for the idea that being ultra-feminine is demonised, on the other hand it does depend a bit on the culture you're looking at, plenty of other women are demonised for being themselves as well. It's more a case of being targeted for being different or standing out in some way.

The internet is getting progressively more polarised and more full of hate. I don't know if this is because people have got more hateful or just that the people who are unpleasant about differences in real life have learned how to use the internet and have now sucked all the joy out of the safe spaces there used to be.

You mentioned autism, and I am not sure how this feeds into the whole discussion, genuinely. As an autistic person myself, I have to wonder to what extent her experiences relate to people's generalised ableism around autistic people/expectations on what an autistic person is/should be/how they should act. Stereotypes around autism are often more male-dominated and I guess maybe people don't stop and think that someone with autism might be really girly and feminine, because of those stereotypes.

It is harder to be a girl with autism, generally, because most of the assumptions are so based on male experiences.

But then we're also often targeted for online bullying ("it's just a joke, stop overreacting :rolleyes:") and that can be pretty damaging for any autistic person, seeing how much more susceptible we are to negative energy than the average troll on the street.
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2021, 08:46:47 PM »
That was a fascinating video. It brings up a lot of good points.

Not saying it's okay, because it certainly isn't, but I think most of us get bullied at some point on the internet. Same with in school when we were younger. But just like the media portrayal of stereotypes is getting better, awareness of how bullying can cause long term harm (and in many cases, self harm) is growing in schools. Unfortunately, parts of the internet are still very toxic and probably will be for a long time. On the other hand, safe and accepting places will continue to exist as well :)
finding those places takes skill but I'm glad that safe spaces do exist
I don't think there's anything wrong with being a girly girl. There is an argument for the idea that being ultra-feminine is demonised, on the other hand it does depend a bit on the culture you're looking at, plenty of other women are demonised for being themselves as well. It's more a case of being targeted for being different or standing out in some way.

The internet is getting progressively more polarised and more full of hate. I don't know if this is because people have got more hateful or just that the people who are unpleasant about differences in real life have learned how to use the internet and have now sucked all the joy out of the safe spaces there used to be.

You mentioned autism, and I am not sure how this feeds into the whole discussion, genuinely. As an autistic person myself, I have to wonder to what extent her experiences relate to people's generalised ableism around autistic people/expectations on what an autistic person is/should be/how they should act. Stereotypes around autism are often more male-dominated and I guess maybe people don't stop and think that someone with autism might be really girly and feminine, because of those stereotypes.

It is harder to be a girl with autism, generally, because most of the assumptions are so based on male experiences.

But then we're also often targeted for online bullying ("it's just a joke, stop overreacting :rolleyes:") and that can be pretty damaging for any autistic person, seeing how much more susceptible we are to negative energy than the average troll on the street.

She ran into the "male brain" theorists and they basically told her that she would turn evil if she continued to be feminine. Her brain continued to associate feminine=evil  long after. She's been healing but she still has her moments of meltdowns. 
Just trying to make everyone happy.
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2021, 09:49:36 PM »
That's horrible. I can see how that would have damaged her deep down inside, especially given how difficult it is for autistic people to build a sense of their own self and how susceptible they are to external suggestion and input. I'm really glad she's got a supportive friend like you to help her deal with that and that she's healing.

I'm not surprised that it seems to stem from the stereotypes and garbage that gets churned out about autism in general. Even, sometimes, by people on the spectrum, because they've been bombarded with so much misinformation.

*hugs* to your friend.

It's absolutely okay to be a girly autistic girl.
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Offline DreamsofUnicorn

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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2021, 10:31:19 PM »
That's horrible. I can see how that would have damaged her deep down inside, especially given how difficult it is for autistic people to build a sense of their own self and how susceptible they are to external suggestion and input. I'm really glad she's got a supportive friend like you to help her deal with that and that she's healing.

I'm not surprised that it seems to stem from the stereotypes and garbage that gets churned out about autism in general. Even, sometimes, by people on the spectrum, because they've been bombarded with so much misinformation.

*hugs* to your friend.

It's absolutely okay to be a girly autistic girl.
I've been taking screenshots of the positive messages on here. (leaving you guys anonymous obviously)
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2021, 11:07:35 PM »
Liking things that don't hurt others should never be seen as bad or wrong, and that includes being really girly! In fact, that's one of the things that would be the least harmful to others.

Let your friend know that the people who thing wrongly of her liking of girly-er things are a small group of people and that there are many more other people who don't see is as wrong and encourage her to be who she is!
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2021, 02:50:42 AM »
being oneself is all that one CAN be.  gotta love it!  that's how it was meant to be, and is! 
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2021, 03:08:17 AM »
i like "girly" things. makeup, cooking, the color pink and of course ponies :) the older i get the less i care what others think about it.

i definitely feel like things that are feminine are seen as more trivial or frivolous at least in the US media. it's wasteful to buy makeup, shoes clothes. yet buying electronics, cars, tools is seen as practical.

same with collectibles. men who collect coins, cards, sports memorabilia, or sneakers is cool. sometimes people even think of these collections as real investments. yet collecting dolls is "creepy", having multiple cats is "sad", having too many girly shoes or handbags is being spoiled. so many girly collections and hobbies are discouraged or made fun of. i just don't feel like more masculine collectibles are treated the same.

it sounds like your friend has a good friend in you. bullies have their own issues that cause them to be nasty. tell her that its ok to like what you like and there is absolutely nothing wrong with liking girly things :) and it's not her job to please bullies.
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2021, 11:52:51 AM »
Beth's right, there is a bigger issue here. Like it's okay for guys to spend hours gaming, but if a girl invests the same time in something frivolous she's considered immature/childish/somehow broken. And if women choose not to have kids, they get ostracised, but if they choose to give up work and stay home and look after kids, they get a lack of support and assumption that it's just easy and not really a 'job' - even though it is. Neither one of those decisions are wrong, they're both personal choices based on circumstances, but society likes to weigh in on them anyway.

But women are people, not stereotypes. We don't necessarily fit a mould.

I mean, I collect my little ponies. I also have a PhD in mediaeval Japanese history, with a lot of emphasis on warriors, battles and that stuff. There's no way of defining what kind of person someone is by assuming stereotypes.

There can be pressure to conform to certain stereotypes, and a backlash can come from that. Even in my academic field there's like a lowkey expectation that as a woman I'd be interested in certain female characters and be writing about that side of the narrative. But that's not me.

Defining someone else by a narrow set of views is always wrong. I'm really not a girly girl but I like my fair share of pink things. My whole bedroom is pink, white and purple as it happens.

What Marshie said is also really important. People judge things that make them insecure. The problem is in the bully, not in your friend. This is a bigger problem across lots of stereotypes, but they're mostly built out of ignorance. People feel threatened by something that isn't the same as them. This is actually a natural instinct that human beings developed at evolution to protect against predators (according to my psychologist trained former mentor).

...Autistic people apparently mostly don't have that instinct, it's why we have more issues spotting dangerous social interactions, can sometimes react to a situation in an unexpected way, and are more likely to get hurt by stumbling into something unprepared. We don't have that internal warning system other people have that something unknown might be a threat. But - and especially given modern society - it also means we're not caught up as much on the assumptions and stereotypes laid down by other people. That ought to mean we're better at being individuals and at picking and choosing who we want to be based on our own instincts, rather than on the expectations of everyone else.

It's a double edged sword really, and navigating it can be tough without the warning signs.

But your friend is fine. And hey, it worked for Barbie for GENERATIONS. So yeah.


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Offline DreamsofUnicorn

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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2021, 08:57:42 PM »
gosh the convo in here is so lovely.  :lovey:
I told her that I made this thread and have been passing along all the messages.
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Beth's right, there is a bigger issue here. Like it's okay for guys to spend hours gaming, but if a girl invests the same time in something frivolous she's considered immature/childish/somehow broken. And if women choose not to have kids, they get ostracised, but if they choose to give up work and stay home and look after kids, they get a lack of support and assumption that it's just easy and not really a 'job' - even though it is. Neither one of those decisions are wrong, they're both personal choices based on circumstances, but society likes to weigh in on them anyway.

But women are people, not stereotypes. We don't necessarily fit a mould.

I mean, I collect my little ponies. I also have a PhD in mediaeval Japanese history, with a lot of emphasis on warriors, battles and that stuff. There's no way of defining what kind of person someone is by assuming stereotypes.

There can be pressure to conform to certain stereotypes, and a backlash can come from that. Even in my academic field there's like a lowkey expectation that as a woman I'd be interested in certain female characters and be writing about that side of the narrative. But that's not me.

Defining someone else by a narrow set of views is always wrong. I'm really not a girly girl but I like my fair share of pink things. My whole bedroom is pink, white and purple as it happens.

What Marshie said is also really important. People judge things that make them insecure. The problem is in the bully, not in your friend. This is a bigger problem across lots of stereotypes, but they're mostly built out of ignorance. People feel threatened by something that isn't the same as them. This is actually a natural instinct that human beings developed at evolution to protect against predators (according to my psychologist trained former mentor).

...Autistic people apparently mostly don't have that instinct, it's why we have more issues spotting dangerous social interactions, can sometimes react to a situation in an unexpected way, and are more likely to get hurt by stumbling into something unprepared. We don't have that internal warning system other people have that something unknown might be a threat. But - and especially given modern society - it also means we're not caught up as much on the assumptions and stereotypes laid down by other people. That ought to mean we're better at being individuals and at picking and choosing who we want to be based on our own instincts, rather than on the expectations of everyone else.

It's a double edged sword really, and navigating it can be tough without the warning signs.

But your friend is fine. And hey, it worked for Barbie for GENERATIONS. So yeah.



this fear of being yourself anywhere is something I never really understood, and still don't.
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2021, 07:24:44 AM »
Growing up, I was full of internalized misogyny, and I did my best to be "not like the other girls." Which is really lame, since I missed out on so much. As an adult, I LOVE any and all things girly! Being a girl is nothing to be ashamed of.
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Re: About Feminine things
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2021, 09:03:51 AM »
Cringe culture was mostly invented by people stuck in a high school mentality anyway. It takes a pretty big inferiority complex to want to target other people for having different hobbies or interests.

I mean, I don't understand why people collect stamps, or action figures, or cars. But all power to them. It's their life.

And if someone wants to dress like a rock star from the eighties and visit their local library (actually happened to me with a customer when I worked there), also, all power to them.

Life is short. It should be full of things that make you happy, not chains laid down by other people who are not.
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