On female bondage

A friend – a trans woman – warned me of this: that for the next few months i would find myself obsessively interested in issues of gender and gender difference. So interested that, no doubt, i will soon be able to bore for Britain on these topics.

On the other hand…no: i won’t justify myself. i’ll just write about them.

One thing that becomes clearer by the day is that (traditional) femininity involves a great many restrictions on time, on behaviour and even on how one moves.

I’ve already had the discussion with andrea about make-up: she finds the idea of spending more than the minimum of time each day on beautification to be incomprehensible. i am increasingly aware of the result that i want: and i am well aware that i will need to work at it.

Being feminine takes time.

I’ve already commented on skirts: how lovely they feel and yet, too, how subtly restrictive they are when it comes to walking.

This week, andrea has suggested i start to experiment with heels. Like: how hard can they be? You just put on the shoes and walk!

Or not, as the case may be. Actually, you walk very differently. You straighten your back: bring your hips forward. You tread, toe-first, in a way that feels utterly unnatural.

I am not very good with heels. Yet.

I don’t mind. This is another of those places where i had no idea of how subtly the differences are between “wearing the uniform” – which is what most men will do when first they try to cross-dress – and living the role.

I begin to appreciate how confining it can be to “get things right”. One female friend confesses to me that she quite enjoys the subtle restrictiveness of being feminine. Like, she’s not exactly sailing through life being turned on by every step: but she is self-aware enough to understand the impact of traditional dress.

For all that, i am not going to start buying into the simplistic notion that this is something “done to” women. Well, it is, sort of. But like everything else, the truth is far, far more complicated.

No doubt i will have a very different view of things in six months time.

jane

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    spirifer said,

    I’ve been thinking on and off about this post since reading it a few days ago. I won’t pretend that I’ve really mused in depth on the politics of male and female dress, but I’ve never, ever felt that traditonally “female” dress is in the least controlling or restricting.

    On the contrary, although I am far more comfortable on a day to day basis in trousers (even at work – smart trouser suits are the normal professional uniform of my female peers and I , apparently), being able to ditch the trousers for heels, stockings and a skirt is quite empowering. I suppose I like to be able to flaunt my femininity on occasion, and attract the odd glance here and there from men.

    The fact that, as a woman, I am equally acceptable in an old t-shirt, torn jeans, a scarf around my hair and no make up, or done up to the nines in a sharp black suit with 3″+ heels, seems to me the exact opposite of being restricted in any way!

    • 2

      eclectic chicken said,

      when needing to run for a bus i’d much rather be wearing trousers than a skirt…let alone a skirt and heels🙂

      You are right…as women we have far more freedom in what we wear….but those things that are seen as ‘traditionally feminine’ can and do restrict movement and alter behaviours. (getting in and out of a car in a short skirt is another example that springs to mind)


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