So radical feminists have pissed me off and stung me into creativity again. I suppose I've got to thank them for giving me all this material for blog posts! Anyway, read this piece of fail to understand what sparked this post off.

I am very, very troubled and annoyed (and that's putting it mildly) by attitudes to femininity. What is femininity, after all? Womanliness or womanhood; people having and celebrating the quality of being a woman that is within them. That's what it should be anyway. Femininity should be a celebration of womanly qualities unchecked by patriarchy or kyriarchy; it should celebrate self-determination, vitality and the womanly element, whatever that is (since people should decide that for themselves).

Instead, what is femininity? It's a set of rules and regulations that girls and women are pressured into following in order to be real girls and women, good girls and women, as if they weren't already good and true enough just by identifying as female. Feminine women are everything the kyriarchy wants them to be, which normally involves being a passive, beautiful object. Now, if you're pretty and being passive comes naturally to you, that's all very well and good - but it silences the rest of us and presents the image that beauty above all is paramount in femininity. Rather than being a celebration of the womanly element, femininity now becomes a way to silence and objectify a fellow person. This reading of femininity still makes me shudder and want to cry, even when I'm a feminist, even when I say I don't give a flying fuck, even when I try and toughen myself up to face the big hard world, because it reminds me of just how trapped I feel by kyriarchal conceptions of femininity, which allow no room for disobedience and still having the right to call oneself a woman.

The odd thing about femininity is while girls and women must be conventionally feminine in order to qualify for womanhood, according to the kyriarchy, femininity is a sign of weakness anywhere else. Society seems to have an irrational fear and hatred of anything even vaguely feminine if it's not on a woman. Femininity is weakness, unworthiness, something to be stamped out. And that prejudice against femininity fuels misogyny and the patriarchy all around the world.

Based on this, the logical and ethical conclusion would be that a big part of stamping out misogyny is making femininity a valued and accepted trait. Right? Nope, wrong. Girls have cooties, anything pink and sparkly should be set on fire, and if women want to wear dresses and make-up they're clearly slaves to the patriarchy and must be insulted until they come round. Or something. At least, that's how it seems to work in radfem land.

Unless radfems intentionally want to make no sense (which is unlikely, but I hope some day they point and go "Ha ha, just kidding"), this is possibly the worst course of action they could take. It may make sense superficially - reject the patriarchy by rejecting its trappings - but by rejecting femininity they tap into the same well of fear and hatred as misogynists do. I'm no fan of kyriarchal femininity, though, with its pressures to fit a model that ultimately fits no-one.

Ultimately, I think we need a new understanding of femininity. It won't be easy. Just talking about femininity is difficult given its connotations and the societal attitudes towards it - but it needs to be done.

Firstly, this new conception of femininity must get rid of the attitude that femininity is weakness. It is not. Women are not inherently weak or in need of protection, and women are women regardless of their weakness or strength. Femininity must celebrate strength, vitality, passion, and it must put those first instead of portraying beauty as paramount, thus marginalising women who don't fit this standard. Femininity must not be passive, either.

Above all, femininity must be something chosen for oneself by anyone. A woman should not be shamed for doing things that are not traditionally feminine, and a man should not be shamed for choosing to be feminine. It must be a personal choice, influenced (as far as is possible) by nothing - no social pressures, no familial pressures, no ideological pressures, nothing save the person's own wishes.

Maybe if we could do that, we'd come a little closer to smashing the kyriarchy.