If you're in any doubt that a woman cannot be 'feminist' and 'feminine', look no further. You need the patronising wisdom of Karen Salmansohn, who is so uncomfortable with the word 'feminist' that she thinks we should invent a new word to show that "Being a strong, powerful woman doesn't mean you have to be tough, overworked and unattractive." She opens her article, Are You A Feminist or a Feminine-ist? with a truly unbelievable anecdote:
My friend David got mugged at a bank machine by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman.Salmansohn claims she finds the negative connotations associated with the word 'feminist' "shameful and highly unhelpful". Which is fair enough. So do I. Yet her solution to the problem?
"Actually, it might have been a transvestite," David corrected himself.
"It's okay if you were mugged by a woman," I told him, smiling.
Now embarrassed, David said, "The more I think about it, the more I'm sure he was a transvestite."
I laughed but was also intrigued by why David would be so embarrassed to be mugged by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman, but not a man.
"I'd like to put forth that starting today, the word 'feminism' be updated to become the new word 'feminine-ism.'"In case you didn't feel queasy enough by this new addition to the funfeminist lexicon, have some more choice quotes:
"Whenever I do take the time to tap into "feminine-ism"—this energy of simply being by indulging in a meditative and self-nurturing manicure, a facial or a hot bubble bath—that's when I feel my most powerful."And in case you weren't quite taken aback by the 'transvestite' anecdote, have some musings on Western vs Eastern 'femininity':
"I am here to tell you that feeling sexy is what helps me to be my most powerful and successful self, and being powerful and successful also helps me feel damn sexy!"
"With the word "feminism," it might have been embarrassing for a man to say he was a supporter because it might sound like he was admitting to supporting of a group of controlling, bitchy women. But with new pro-sexiness, pro-sweetness, pro-balance words like "feminine-ist" and "feminine-ism," what's not for a man to love?"
"It seems that America has been fighting against the perception of being feminine for a while now...If you compare America to countries in the East, you'll see what I mean. If America were to be personified, it would definitely be a real guy's guy—running around, talking loudly, smacking you on the back in greeting, occasionally belching—a lovable, rambunctious guy's guy.So what are you waiting for girls? Go forth, believe in equality, but don't forget to make sure you're still sexy and fun! Thankfully everyone commenting on the piece seems pretty horrified.
Now, imagine a country like India personified. It would embrace more feminine qualities like stillness, meditativeness and spirituality."