Femininity Doesn’t Equal Weakness

One of the topics often discussed in this course is the development of femininity and masculinity on the internet, specifically on social media typed websites, blogs and in chat room settings.  Many times on blogging sites such as Tumblr and Blogspot, bloggers are able to change the design of their background to suit their personal liking. Some will choose to design their own using a template and changing around the color scheme to meet their personal needs. My blog, which I like to keep private (I have disable searching for the blog on the internet via search engines. The only people that can read it are those whom I have given the link to.) is a travel themed blog, so I have tried to keep with that theme and use one of the templates that blogspot provides for me. Many times the usage of certain colors or images can give away a person’s gender, or can lead the reader to assume a certain gender. For example if a pink and purple background comes up with an image of a kitten or a puppy, most readers are going to assume the writer is a female. Also, lighter shades of blues and greens may lead the reader to believe that the writer is a female. Darker colors such as red, navy blues and deep greens may lead the reader to believe that they are reading a male’s blog. For example, here are links to two different blogs. Both of them are celebrity based blogs the first a male the second a female.

1.) http://mrtrohman.tumblr.com/

2.) http://hellogiggles.com

The second blog, hellogiggles.com, is a blog that Zooey Dechanel (an American actress, seen in the tv show New Girl on Fox as well as the movie 500 Days of Summer) is credited with helping to start. I stumbled upon this blog through reading an article about Zooey (http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/aline/zooey-deschanel-bullied-being-chubby-kid-013328376.html ). Zooey is a great role model for girls: she’s strong, she’s smart and embraces who she is and she’s also very feminine. The main page of hellogiggles.com lead me to this article: http://hellogiggles.com/being-feminine-doesnt-make-me-weak.  The article brings up an excellent point about everyday life that I think can also relate to the world of the internet in regards to building gender in a profile, specifically in my personal reaction to the article we will have read for class “Oh No! I’m a Nerd.”

In the article for class, the author discusses how not many women were on the MUD site she studied and that the men tried to make themselves seem masculine amongst a group of men who were seen as not masculine by the society around them. In actuality there may have been women on that website that were using tactics to downplay their femininity so they would not seem weaker to the men on the site. Unfortunately, women have been viewed in societies as weaker than men. This is something that is changing around the world, however is historically built into the past of many cultures and is still at the forefront of others.

If we take a look at some of the more influential women in society today, many of them have tried to make themselves more like men in their field of work, which has helped gain them success in the work place. Hilary Clinton, former First Lady of the United States and current Secretary of State, is rarely seen in a skirt or dress. Same with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Their outfits are not men’s suits however they are usually viewed in a woman’s PANT suit.

The hellogiggles article proves that dressing femininely and portraying a feminine appearance doesn’t make you weak. It does lead to a bigger surprise when you do something which has a more masculine association, such as lifting heavy boxes or talking politics, or even designing your blog’s background. So maybe add a touch of femininity to a professional blog about architecture or politics if you’re a girl. It may even make someone take you more seriously because after viewing a background they get one idea and then after reading your posts have another about you and what you have to offer.

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2 Responses to Femininity Doesn’t Equal Weakness

  1. apalmgre says:

    You make great connections between the course themes, the emirical material you look at, articles we’ve discussed and theory. In a way you write about something that is called gurlesque by girl scholar Arielle Greenberg.

    Gurlesque a combination of grotesque and burlesque, a lot of pink, my little ponies, red, roses, glitter and bows, so much that it become powerful, or against the pink, nice girly norm. If you aren’t familiar with the concept from earlier you can read about it here http://web.archive.org/web/20040108013739/http://www.sptraffic.org/html/news_rept/gurl.html.

    A couple of years ago Greenberg wrote the book “Gurlesque: The New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics”, and I would say that it is probably the most “hyped” theory that is used today in Girlhood studies.

    • mshewell says:

      I hadn’t heard of Gurlesque before, but I do really like the idea behind it. I don’t consider myself to be a feminist in any way. I’m someone who supports the equality and strength of a women as a being and as an asset to society but I agree that being a women is just one of the major inequalities that see injustice and that it is equally important as others that are out there. I, like the author of the hellogiggles article that I referenced in my original post, am not someone who was ever commonly seen wearing dresses and skirts. I don’t like necklaces or bracelets and nailpolish most of the time is just a waste as I always find a way to smudge it before it has dried the whole way, but there is something over the recent years that I have found empowering about wearing a nice skirt and top with a cute pair of shoes and my nails just because I can. There was recently a post of 9gag (I tried to look for it but was unsuccessful at finding it) about how for all major events in life, men wear a suit. Weddings, funerals, job interviews. For women, each event had a different outfit. And while a man probably looked at the post and laughed because “it’s so true!” I did too. But I like that I can wear different types of outfits and still be professional and taken seriously. Even if, such as the hellogiggles author writes, I have a bow in my hair. I enjoy getting to shock people into believing that I’m capable of doing everything they are…but better because I’m in a dress, I have a boy in my hair, I’m wearing jewelry and 3 inches worth of heel on my shoes. There is something powerful about it, and I think that more girls should know about this so that they too can feel powerful in a dress.

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