I have a complicated relationship with femininity. When I was really young, I was super “girly.” I loved to wear dresses, had long hair, and wanted nothing more than to get the newest Barbie doll for Christmas.
When I got a little older, I embraced the label “tomboy.” I rejected the feminine norms because I wanted to be cool and strong and interesting ---- and I didn’t believe that girl was synonymous with any of those things.
As an adult, I often find myself confused. I don’t feel feminine, but I don’t want to be masculine either. I hate being called a woman but know that is the label closest to who I am. I wear flannels and loose jeans because dresses feel too feminine. It’s almost like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not when I wear them. At the same time, I love the color pink, I almost exclusively consume female-led stories, and I am a sucker for a good rom-com.
The thing is none of these things are inherently feminine or masculine, but we see them as such. Some days I worry that my baggy shirts hide my figure. I worry that I look too much like a man. On another day, I’m grateful to look like I don’t have breasts and wish I looked more androgynous.
I’m learning how to embrace the parts of me that are feminine without feeling embarrassed that I like the “girlier” things (why did I ever pretend I didn’t like romance novels?). It’s a process – gender and femininity are confusing, and I don’t have a lot of answers. What I do know is that Blossom was built with an emphasis on sharing the feminine, the masculine, and everything in between (although I will admit, we do lean a little heavier on the feminine side).
I hope that by sharing our stories, the daily gender panic, confusion, and internalized misogyny has a place to escape and breathe and grow ---- because no matter what, we shouldn’t run from the feminine.
I’ve always admired femininity in other people ---- a delicate laugh, a waft of perfume, that thing where someone casually twists their hair up into a bun mid-conversation and it somehow comes together looking effortlessly messy and chic. I marvel at it. And yet when I try to mimic those behaviors, it never seems to come out right. I feel like a child clomping around in their mother’s high heels.
The thing is, femininity is sort of a made-up concept, and that means there’s not actually a right or wrong way to do it. Once I realized that, I started to find a lot more confidence in myself. There was no longer a pressure to perform the way that I thought I was supposed to. I could just play around with whatever aspects appealed to me and leave the rest for other people to enjoy.
I think that’s my favorite thing about femininity. Everyone brings their own perspective to it, and it’s constantly shifting. Maddy and I founded Blossom as a place for people to explore their identity through art, and I can’t wait to hear the ways in which our contributors channel different versions of femininity into their life.