Today my sister wrote on her blog about being girly.
I thought it was an interesting topic, so I'm going to expound.
I don't know what it has been about my upbringing/personality that has made me think that I can't be girly, but I feel a little embarrassed about it sometimes.
When I tell people that I love to go shopping and that a cute pair of shoes can thrill my heart I feel like people automatically categorize me as an airhead who has no concern for real issues. I feel like all my effort to be a serious contributor to society is devalued and relegated to froofyland where everything is pink and sparkly.
The interesting thing is that this doesn't seem to happen for men. Well, not that any men really get weak in the knees over the new pair of white Ugg boots at Nordstroms, but they have their weaknesses too.
For instance, that guy in my office whose life revolves around sports is not considered a meat head who only thinks about which defensive lineman broke the line and pummled the crap out of his rival team's QB this weekend. He is considered a mans man, strong, confident, in control. The fact of the matter is that he still thinks about and gets excited over something wholly out of his realm of reality or influence.
Like me and those freakin white Ugg boots.
On a related note, this shame of being girly stretches into my relationships. When the ear doctor says something really nice to me, I get all excited about it, and sometimes I get a little embarrassed by my own reaction. For some reason I feel like I'm not entitled to my own true and honest feelings because they are dorky and ultra-feminine.
I know I should work on this and just be proud to feel how I feel and be who I am, but you try spending all day surrounded by insensitive 50 year old men who expect me to not take offense from personally derogatory statements. Then come talk to me about staying vulnerable and true to my inner girly side.
I wonder if this is the way most women feel in the workplace. Is there a widespread feeling that women need to be like men and eliminate all characteristics which are inherently feminine? I've often heard that what makes a great collaborative environment is a lot of people coming together from all different backgrounds and vantages. In fact, at work here we are required to have cross-disciplinary reviews of every design with the understanding that looking at a similar problem from different perspectives will generate a better solution. Doesn't it make sense that eliminating a female perspective in the work place could be detrimental to the development of a company? And why is a dominant male looked at as a good leader, while a dominant female is considered bitchy?