Femininity Has Never Been Gentle

Which Means There’s Nothing Wrong with Me

Karina Lafayette – October 2021

Rap superstar Eve once made that statement, “I’m a pitbull in a skirt”, during an interview with Oprah. It’s also a line in her song, “What Ya Want”. I was a teenager when the episode aired, and that quote resonated with me in such a deep way, I haven’t changed my mind about it since.

Because I’ve always seen myself as a pitbull, a very girly, introverted, makeup-loving pitbull, which apparently confuses people.

Ever since I reached puberty, I’ve never related to the fragile perception we have toward feminine women. That somehow, being someone who likes to wear flowy outfits, makeup, make art and poetry, is automatically a damsel in distress in need of saving. And that if she doesn’t need to be saved, she’s a bad girl. Are there not men who also make and poetry? Do they need saving too? I consider myself as a very balanced person, someone who identifies well with her inner feminine and masculine sides. So when time and again I come across articles, blogs and videos, whether it’s from politicians, regular folks, or even the spiritual community, all saying that to be feminine means to do x, y, and z, I get beyond frustrated. I want to show my teeth and growl at them.


Coming of Age in the Patriarchy

I came of age around the time when Britney Spears had a very public episode that involved an electric razor, a divorce, and endless amounts of slut-shaming. I remember her being portrayed as a woman off-the-rails, when really at long last, she was just stepping outside the neat little sparkly box we put her in. How unlady like. What began as a career of a pop artist loved for her sweet baby voice and blonde hair, became a media witch hunt. Back then, I didn’t understand and to be honest, didn’t have an oppinion. When I see those pictures today, of Britney inside the salon, I don’t see a woman trying to look more “masculine”, and I certainly don’t see someone who didn’t know what she was doing. I’m reminded of images of the darker, less attractive side of the feminine no one talks about, like Lilith and Mary Magdelene. I’m reminded of how in religion and mythology, they were portrayed in all kinds of ways to make everyone else feel more comfortable. There’s a feminine side in all of us that feels rejected, unlovable, ignored, dismissed, and accused of wanting to be too masculine, just because she refuses to play along to the version of femininity set up for her.

Another example would be in the show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, where once Father Blackwood is no longer in charge of the school, Sabrina’s Aunt Zelda takes his place as head of the coven. Soon after, she decides the rest of the witches will no longer be honoring Lucifer, who in the series is portrayed as just as limiting and self-serving as other male leaders, but Hecate. Hecate throughout history is depicted as a triple Goddess, and she reflects the different phases of life everyone goes through. The woman version of this is Maiden, Mother and Crone. While for the man’s version, because of the idea that men aren’t able to express spirituality the same way, there really isn’t one, however youth, father, and sage (or even hermit) may be a close call. What makes the Sabrina series so special, is that it shows different versions of femininity and the importance in honoring all of them. Sabrina Spelman goes so far as to insist that she can be both a witch and a regular person, that regardless of whatever rules her family set up, she can do whatever she wants.

That’s the kind of feminine that I relate to. Not the isolated kind that people-pleases and fakes orgasm. And this isn’t an “I’m not like the other girls” statement. Nobody on the planet wants to fake it. Some of us just realize that earlier.

When I was in college, I often felt like no one wanted to date me due to my being more ambitious and independent. One afternoon, my mom and I were watching Oprah (yes, we used to watch a lot of Oprah), where on her show she was interviewing a woman with that same issue as me. Oprah was telling her how when men are first introduced to a woman, “he’s looking at your boots,” and judging everything she has. In other words, she claimed men assess a woman based on how much they own. I actually found it amazing that even one of the most successful women in the world could say that. Many dating coaches even go so far to say that men need to feel needed and women need to feel loved. I don’t know who gave them that lie and tried to sell it as truth. If someone needs to go to a dentist, should they have a relationship with their dentist? No. So just because a woman needs a man, it doesn’t necesarily mean she loves him, and if you don’t love someone, there is no reason to be in a relationship. This is the reason why people feel used in relationships- you focus too much on things. I also often ear the classic, “men need to be respected, and women need to be loved,” and the irony is that it’s not possible to love anyone without a foundation of respect.


We’re Told That We’re Unlovable

As a kid, I was taught that successful women can’t marry, can’t have babies, can’t have good relationships, and can’t have love. That if we want anything but to be a certain way, we’re defective, and there must be something morally wrong with us. Even today, I’m adamant toward having kids because though I would like a family, I’ve worked too hard to set aside my portfolio and put everyone else first, and I don’t care about sounding selfish. I’ve even had a random guy message me once on Instagram saying, “You know you could be a lesbian right,” after I commented my relationship needs on a post about dating. I blocked him. I don’t need people giving unsolicited advice just because they’re not capable of being the partner I’m looking for. Despite the fact that most relationships are more equal these days and do have both parents working, a lot of women still complain that their work within the household hasn’t changed. The idea of having to do all the cooking and cleaning for two adults and work a job and do the bulk of childcare, really just sounds like a burden to me. So unless I have a partner who brings as much to the table as I do, celibacy is where I’m at. According to society, a woman like me is too busy breaking glass ceilings to acknowledge that I’m, you know, human. We look at accomplished women as machines without feelings and sexual desires, and refuse to accept them beyond that professional box. Meanwhile, if a guy works twelve hours a day, he’s still appreciated even though he never calls or texts, and hardly makes time for real intimacy whenever he is around.

In an interview for their latest album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey speaks about feeling this way during their pregnancy. They stated that there was a concern about how they would be seen as a working parent, and decided that really the best thing, is to stop giving wind to what others think.

Then you have many men who are wired to feel like they aren’t good enough unless they’re able to provide for themselves and the people they care about. This results in men being more likely to feel suicidal, depressed, and unappreciated when the women in their lives don’t “need” them like they were taught. Well, men, you were lied to. Wanting to be a provider can be a good thing, but don’t assume a woman who supports herself doesn’t love you, because that is plain ol’ bullshit. There’s more to you than just paying bills and wanting to be protective. Learn your partner’s love language and you’ll know how to make them happier.

Just like there is more to femininity than nurturing and being softspoken. And when I speak of femininity, I’m not referring to the hair and makeup kind, even if that’s one way I express it, I’m refering to the energy. We get so caught up in looks, that we forget everyone is on a spectrum. Even the most masculine man can cry and show emotion, just like the most feminine woman can be in combat. So no labels. No structures. No fawning new-age twin flame “teachers” who insist that a woman is being too much in her “masculine” anytime she asserts herself, and that somehow a real woman is supposed to be passive and attract things toward her. Listen, honey, I’m as feminine as you can get, and even I know that while law of attraction is real, no one ever succeeded in their goals by sitting at home all day. Some days I can manifest things by snapping my fingers, but don’t insult my intelligence by saying that my ambitions make me less of a woman. We all know they’re just saying that because really, they’re scared of what would happen if we all really did step up. Owning my power doesn’t make me act like a man, anymore than a man making dinner changes who he is. Because really, masculine and feminine are about expression, they’re not who you really are.

When it comes to the concept of twin flames, I don’t have a specific opinion, and it isn’t something I like to talk about, just because of some experiences. But I will mention that a lot of so-called readers I see on social media either:

A) know little about twin flames and use the term to attract followers

B) use the twin flame concept to tout traditional gender dynamics, when feminine/masculine is supoosed to be about energy

I come across so many who claim that for a woman to attract love, she needs to relinquish her need to decide for herself and always let the man take the lead. According to them, a woman isn’t worthy of love if she is fierce and direct, which is funny to me. I have plenty of strong woman friends who have had successful partnerships with men, and their partners aren’t the least bit intimidated. Trust me, if he’s confident enough, this won’t even be an issue. The whole obsession with putting others in neat little boxes, that isn’t a cute look for someone who claims to help people find love. A lot of us seem to forget that we all have a bit of masculine and feminine. And spirituality at its core represents freedom, not limits. Insisting that to attract love, you can only be one way or the other, is really just a gateway to reaffirming misoginistic ideals which state women aren’t allowed to ask for what they want. I definitely agree that yes, to be partnered, we need to soften up and let our guard down, but isn’t everyone supposed to? I mean, who wants a guy who acts tough and assertive 24/7 either? Constant assertion doesn’t have room for love anyway.


Making Space for Anger and Admitting It

And let’s make something else clear; this idea that we should sit in one-sided relationships, and stay celibate for someone to realize we’re the one- we don’t do that here. We’re no longer waiting for a dude while he’s busy getting with other women, no matter how much love you think is there. I see readers who actually tell clients to do this, and it’s disturbing. A real love connection may take time, but it won’t waste your time. It won’t be confusing, and it won’t require constant validation. Unpopular opinion, but some readers really use the twin flame idea to keep women trapped, and it’s just another way to inflict the same ideals that started with patriarchy. Telling someone to be soft all the time is the same as saying they belong in a kitchen. Believe me, if a twin flame connection is real, there’s no need for outside validation or anyone else’s permission. Does it take a lot of shadow work and unlearning expectations? You bet it does. But there sure as hell isn’t a need to water yourself down for them to be present.

If we look at religions in different parts of the world, femininity has a whole other meaning. In Hinduism, there is Kali, who for all her tendency of being destructive and aggressive, is actually seen as a mother goddess . At first glance, she looks intimidating, but a lot of people understand she’s only like that when she wants to defend those she loves, including herself. She’s a manifestation of the dark feminine when it’s had enough of the drama. In Christianity and Judaism, some interpretations of the creation story involve Lilith, who left the Garden of Eden, because she didn’t live up to Adam’s expectations of what a wife should be, and that is what the unkempt, unapolagetic feminine has experienced for years. So for Adam, God made a second wife named Eve, who unlike Lilith, was made from his rib. That way she could be owned by him, degraded by him, and take orders from him. That way she could be docile, cry in silence, and never complain. Meanwhile, Lilith was made from the earth like Adam and saw herself as… equal.

Well the feminine will eventually have a breaking point, and it’s coming. Eventually, she gets tired of being told the food isn’t cooked properly or that she gained weight, or that she needs to keep her body prepubescent-looking. She gets tired of being shamed for wanting better sex and orgasms, despite also being expected to look sexy. She gets tired of being accused of selfishness for wanting more, even though everyone around likes to take and take, and take from her. She doesn’t want to smile just because someone asked. She doesn’t want to be your ride or die, and to answer 50 Cent’s “21 Questions”, yes she would leave if you were to cheat. She wants to smile when she actually feels that way. She doesn’t want to smile through tears if deep down, she really just feels like screaming.

At this moment in history, feminine is angry, awake, and has no time for games in a system that on one hand needs her to be useful, while continuously letting her know that her biological clock is ticking, which means soon, she won’t be so useful. If it looks like her feelings came out of nowhere, it’s because you never asked how she’s feeling. Maybe, the best way for her is to no longer be who she’s expected, and to finally flourish into a force to be reckoned with.

Karina


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Originally published on Medium.

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