SSummer has arrived and through the feverish mists it is clear that the industry of femininity is thriving. It smells amazing. The parks, the streets, are full of flickering skirts, clicking heels, sprinkled 2 cm thick suntan to make up for those lost months of confinement. Just this week I have bought a tinted lip balm, herbal tea, and a pair of high leg pants. But it’s not just vanilla-scented femininity accessories that are available to buy today; no, these are simply the scaffolding on which the project rests.
A piece that I read Refinery29 This week he introduced me to the trend of “femininity coaching” and the rise of femininity-focused Instagram profiles. Sami miracle she makes over £ 1 million a year training ‘high achievers’ on how to ‘attract lasting romantic love’ by teaching them how to use their ‘feminine energy’ and refrain from masculine ‘doing’ or ‘giving’. The Instagram account, Levels of Women, has 16,500 followers, here for content from a psychologist whose advice includes “learn to cook”, “never insult” and “do not be impressed by a man’s wealth unless you spend it on you”. Instinctively, I bristle. Of course I am, a person so steeped in various feminism posts that I have to fill out a mental guilt worksheet before allowing myself to even shave off my pimples. But the timing of this trend interests me.
The female-industrial complex has been successfully whispering new problems into women’s rights ears while chanting solutions to its left for many years, entire industries run by women that have successfully replaced many of the cultural restrictions that men previously stood for, with new agonies and expensive cures. Create models of femininity, marked with little pains and big checks. He is very intelligent. But the new is also old; the promotion of traditional femininity, a trend that has included, in recent years, the rise of “cleanfluencers”, the domestic excitement of baking a cake, and this, a claim of the Rules, but with the radical and modern twist to label it. “self-care”. It reads like a reaction to feminist liberation from such bondage, and I’m interested in it because it comes at a time when anxieties about what it’s like to be a woman seem to peak.
Over the last decade, there has been a 400% increase in coverage of trans issues in the UK. Throughout June (also Pride month) there has been a negative article about LGBTQ rights charity Stonewall almost every day, centered on reports that institutions have pulled out of a diversity and inclusion program that runs, and activists allege this is due to their support for the transgender community. One impact of these criticisms is that our right-wing government is receiving tacit permission to cut ties with Europe’s largest LGBTQ + rights charity. It takes little imagination and less cynicism to see where this moral panic will lead.
The debates on the “women’s spaces” are organized weekly as if they were happy parties in the villages, a battle of vulnerabilities, with feminists “gender critics” on the one hand and trans people (who represent around 1% of the population) for the other. Except, in these debates, a trans person is rarely present. And except that instead of fearing the legendary “dressed men” who harass them in the bathrooms, the feminists I know deeply sympathize with trans women, in part out of that same itchy fear: we know what it’s like to want to move freely around the world without being harassed, watched or insulted, but we also know that predators do not feel the need to disguise themselves.
I can see why, if I were trans, I might turn down the opportunity to debate, to get up very early to argue my right to exist, but if the conversation is happening, it is only fair that the invitation be made. About him Today program last week, when the CEO of PinkNews Asked host Justin Webb why the producers had invited three men, none of whom is trans, to discuss Stonewall and trans issues, Webb replied defensively, “You don’t know anything about me.” The implication, of course, is that she could be trans, her top note is to belittle the topic, her base note is a suggestion that trans people may choose to shrug off being female for the purpose of discussion, or Something worse.
I am irritated by the idea of femininity coaching, but once I have softened it with two or three group texts and a soothing cookie, I remind myself that other women’s desires, choices, identities, and feminities are not reflected in mine. .
I remind myself of the importance of solidarity, of recognizing the many paths we have all taken to get here, in adulthood, with uncomfortable shoes and uncomfortable hair, the differences and similarities in our childhood memories, what a man told us once on a bus. I remind myself that there are a thousand different ways to be a woman. Well, if one of those ways means that a woman thinks she will be more loved if she cleans the oven and refrains from swearing, then girl, damn it.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism