The Evolution of Femininity
The other day, when we just finished watching a documentary from ARTE France about the evolution of Femininity illustrating how princesses turned into bad girls, contradictory ideas flew into our mind. One of the conclusions of the film was: “Neither exalted nor submissive, real life girls must constantly battle against these restrictions on their identity”.
What if we were giving too much importance to the feminist movement?
The notions behind Femininity and Feminism seem to be best enemies. How have we arrived there?
Nowadays, fashion and beauty brands as well as the entertainment industry transpire the idea that if you are a girl, you are powerful. Girl’s power is far from being a recent trend, however it evolved through time to the point that we wonder if it is now a form of sexist chase or a way to recognize femininity.
Parents in 2015 agree in the hate of princess dolls and the Barbie culture. Why? Studies show that women willing to look perfect will be less ambitious and more likely to be depressed. You’ve certainly heard of the anti-Barbie, a doll to which little girls can identify to. They select their doll among a vast choice, displaying a world of diversity in skin colors, body shapes and hair. The company ‘American Girl’ who started this, demonstrated an at first sight progressive and constructive awareness but at the end of the day, girls are still likely to play with their doll the same way: they’ll comb its hair.
Still, relatives and friends gift dolls and pink clothes and toys to little girls. But reasons may have changed: what if it was to balance the fact that they will be raised like boys, meant to be equally tough? The latest trend is even to name daughters after boys’ name.
Girls will go through many challenges for their identities all along their lives. As kids, they are innocent, then as teenagers, they slowly realize that their body is being watched.
Nowadays, being a princess seems to equal to being famous, a transition made naturally by the ‘princess maker’ Disney. The company who invented the Hannah Montana story that is about a normal teenager who is becoming famous and overly sexualized as a singer. What is the message here to little girls? The way to be successful implies to sell your look? Being or making a statement allows you to go on TV and shows like ‘The Bachelor’ are the modern Cinderella’s fairytales?
Because the cards have been mixed new, the feminist movement is experiences interference as well. When it appeared first in the 1990s, it felt real. As the Riot Grrrls, a hardcore punk music band demonstrated, very provocative behaviors were meant to empower women. This seemed very promising for the music industry. The Spice Girls are the best illustration of it: under the cover of Girl Power, each of them is in fact reduced to a flavor.
At the same time, movies like Legally Blonde stage some ultra-feminine women, beating the clichés. In reality though, it’s another story. More recently, the examples are many. A music clip such as Blurred Lines picturing the woman as an object, demonstrates well how American Pop Culture is sliding into porn culture.
Today, femininity has become a performance and the message sent is one of a girl hesitating between two identities: the princess and the bad girl. It is regrettable because it will limit the contours of femininity without us even noticing. Women and men.
In next interviews with professionals from the Beauty industry, we will discover what they do to beautify women’s femininity.
For example, New York Image Maker and LSW influencer Yuseff Smyth, questions with his transformation work, the limit between girl culture and modern femininity, when it can be a mask to take the power.