70 - What is "Feminine" Anyway?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sara Taker of Me and Orla portrait taken by Xanthe Berkley

Instagram has opened my world up to lots of lovely people over the last 18 months or so and one of them is the lovely Sara of "Me and Orla". I was casually reading her blog this morning (check it out here) and felt compelled to write to tell her of my thoughts on one of her comments. As I started writing I felt like I wanted to share it with you as what it addresses has been drifting through my mind over the past couple of months as something I wanted to get into here. Without further ado...

Reading the Object Style giveaway post this morning. The bit about fashion not flaunting or flattering really struck a chord with me. I used to be a size 8-10 at uni and then when I left and moved in with the Mr everything got way too comfortable (or really uncomfortable in the case of my clothing and visual identity). Too many late nights dining and drinking, too many lazy weekends sleeping off the night before and then eventually three pregnancies (two of which had complications that caused me to be H-U-G-E  - look up polyhydramnios - 3l of fluid bulks you out considerably) have not helped my cause any. It's something I really struggle with now and find myself reverting to my old tom-boy ways - sweaters and boyf jeans, partially to cover up a multitude of sins left on my body by life and over a decade of abusing it, but mostly due to not being good with dresses and dignity (how can I romp through the woods and climb rocks in a dress without exposing myself - serious question).

I struggle with what is flattering and feminine and the notion of why I should look "feminine" is a complex one that no matter how hard I try, I just can't reason with. I do know that it irritates me that stereotypes threaten to encroach on my being able to live and look how I like. I want to live an active lifestyle, bouldering with my kids, running in and out of the sea, hiking and tumbling through woods and I should do all of this in what? I have yet to find a pair of walking trousers that fit my shape and I like (I'm just not in to hefty or horrid fabrics or a billion pockets which seem to be the only things available to my fit) and shockingly so much of whats "out there" involves some form of pink. Because I'm a girl (woman? I lost track somewhere early twenties when I couldn't figure out if I was a grown up or not) I must obviously devour pink for breakfast... Yes, I'd like to look good, no, I don't want to wear pink. Yes, I'd like my clothes to be functional, but I also want them to flatter. Comfort to me is about not worrying about how my leftover belly (that I've been told only surgery will fix) looks at a moment in time when I'm moving as well as being able to move with ease.

So often we are manipulated in to believing that we must be long wavy haired earth mother goddesses or waif model like girls about the city, red carpet ready from 7am. I'm neither, I'm both, I'm more than that, I think.

The hunt for who I am via how I dress continues, as does the hunt for clothes that flatter and fit well. Eventually I may even figure out what femininity means to me (and stop raging against the likes of certain celebrities who purport to be "feminists" but seem to use that stance to hide that they are using their sexuality to further their ambitions, but that's a different post entirely I think).

For now, I'm just happy and content to be surrounded by people who are beginning to break stereotype myths and please themselves.

Sara's portrait as taken by the lovely Xanthe Berkley who I had the good fortune to meet at last years Good Life Experience in North Wales.

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