Positive impacts of femininity.
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Exploring how Black women being more feminine can positively impact the overall African American community.
This is the first of my four part Femininity Series. This introduction will cover how I feel femininity can bring positive impact to our community and how it has impacted my life. Stay tuned the rest of this month for more topics that will discuss more concepts surrounding and promoting this subject matter.
With an increase in topics such as self love, hypergamy, being a high value woman, the males' fragile ego, burning the cape, black woman warriors, and other hot topics within the Black community. I can't help but connect all the dots back to Black women, our impact on the community as a whole, and how being more feminine can potentially bring about positive changes.
What is femininity?
Femininity is traditionally defined as a quality of acting womanly, girlish, or feminine. Most dictionaries would define it as traits to be considered the typical behavior of a woman. Others would define it as the opposite of masculinity. Many believe these qualities are biologically influenced, and in a few cases they are. Biologically women are natural receivers, we are literally designed to receive, I will touch on what receiving has to do with being more feminine later on in this blog. While many qualities are natural, for most women, there are many behaviors that in my opinion can be taught, learned, and acquired throughout experiences. Throughout my femininity series I will discuss further different routines of health, beauty, and wellness as well as hobbies that all help to increase and sustain being a feminine woman.
Femininity Myths: Being feminine is Eurocentric.
Redefining femininity-for Black women.
What femininity means to me is using feminine qualities to receive what you want.
For many Black women they look at femininity as something that is exclusive to the qualities and beauty associated with women of European descent. This could not be further from the truth. Historically African women are feminine, it is in our DNA, history, and lineage to be feminine women. Our history in America has stripped African Americans of many cultures, languages, and behaviors that all died with our ancestors. Historically being a Black women in America has meant we have to take on many different roles, although we are more than capable of this, for many of us it has been to our detriment.
With stress, anxiety, depression, suicides, heart disease and many other ailments on the rise, Black women it is time to put ourselves first! From the time we are young girls and women many of us are told from our parents, society, and our peers that we need to be as strong as a man, that we are solely responsible for raising children, putting ourselves first is selfish, and that being soft and feminine is not for black women.
Yes black women are strong! Black women are some of the strongest women I know. But I want us to understand there is so much strength in being a feminine woman. Because we are women there are many traits that we naturally have, but there are so many behaviors that we can exude that are feminine and so strong, and when carried out the right way we can be just as effective in our households, relationships, communities, in the workplace, and to our individual selves. Qualities associated with being feminine include being a nurturer, a healer, a critical thinker, a planner, a creative, gentle, seductive, attractive; when you can effectively bring these qualities together you can be such as strong woman! Many women recently, particularly Black women, have been redefining what femininity looks like especially for a Black woman.
For me femininity for Black women means utilizing your feminine qualities and attributes to attract the things you want and deserve; it is using your natural feminine abilities and gentle behaviors and actions to support and improve your life and the lives of those around you.
Self care and femininity.
In my opinion femininity has everything to do with self care! As I spoke about in my last, very transparent, blog about mental health and self care practices, I discussed how as a younger adult my need to overcompensate my lack of confidence with being a "people pleaser". Now of course I do believe as women we are natural nurturing and in some ways hospitable, but I was being overly obliging and way too accomodating, to my own demise. I was leading with so much masculine energy by trying to provide and take care of people in my life, in particularly the men I was dating. I was not allowing them, or really anyone besides my parents do things for me. As Black women, society puts so much pressure on us to be independent women carrying the load of so many internal and community issues. In many instances we even feel guilty.
As I've spoken about in my last blog and my very first blog there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first and satisfying your desires. For me my femininity journey and self care journey have been a hand-in-hand process. Not only has it taught me to put myself first, but to also focus on hobbies that increase my natural feminine abilities and happiness.
Femininity Myths: Being feminine is about wearing make up everyday.
Impact on beauty.
Yes much of femininity has to do with attractiveness, and that attractiveness does not always have to do with the outside appearance. Inner beauty is just as important when it comes to being a feminine woman. Attractiveness, by definition, is the the quality of being pleasing or appealing to the senses. Sight being one of the strongest senses of course, but not the only one. I am a firm believer that when you look good on the outside, you feel even better on the inside. As many feminine bloggers, online personalities and influencers will touch on, maintaining your beauty and health routines impacts both inner and outer beauty. When you maintain your hair, nail, feet, body waxing, and other feminine hygiene appointments it allows you to maintain a schedule of routines, sustain your appearance, and ultimately feel good about yourself.
Femininity Myths: Being feminine is solely for the intention of getting male attention.
Impact on love.
Much of being attractive is about your aura, mannerisms, intellect, your charisma, and your grace. Being attractive is not only an advantage when it comes to dating, but also in terms of non-romantic relationship building, workplace interactions, and even community work. This is because others are drawn to your energy in hopes that it will inspire them. And in most cases it does!
When you are allowing yourself to receive good energies, you are being more feminine. that means you are allowing yourself to feel love, not just love from others, but self love. You are allowing yourself to be playful, energetic, flirty, positive, cheerful; all of these are attractive to everyone around you! Femininity will change the way you view yourself not just on the outside but definitely your internal view of self. This in turn allows you to be happier with yourself, increasing your confidence, and will ultimately impact the way you value yourself. Which is imperative when dating. When you hold yourself in high regard and value, you know exactly what you want, need, and deserve; and will not settle for anything less. Being your most confident self creates internal happiness, which is the best way to enter a relationship, especially a marriage. It takes knowing yourself, your love language, and being receptive...amongst other things of course!
Being feminine, especially for the right man, is a complimentary partnership! It keeps the love equally flowing back and forth, keeps the relationship and/or marriage fresh, and a great asset for those who want to transition into motherhood. Overall creating flourishing households, families, and communities.
Impact on health.
Although my blog does not typically touch on topics of race, as a Black woman I can not write about the need for us to be more feminine without shedding light on the bigger picture of how colorism and racial biases link masculinity to Black women.
Being masculine is a prejudicial trait often synonymous with darker skin, and is often associated with darker skin women; a horrible side effect of colorism. Now while I have much experience with colorism, I don't believe I have the most impactful and direct experiences to be able to truly discuss colorism in its full capacity on my platform. However I will discuss how colorism, specifically the notion that Black women, particularly darker skin women, are perceived as being more masculine and the role that plays in the mortality rates and unfair health disparities among Black women, and how portraying our femininity can potentially help to reverse some of these statistics.
In many instances Black women, because we are seen as strong, we are seen as immortal. Contrary to biases, we are gentle, we are soft, we are human, and we do feel pain. A 2019 study conducted by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, suggests Black patients are less likely to receive pain medication than their white and Hispanic counterparts. As it pertains to receiving pain medication, the study went on to indicate that Blacks receive it 40% less than white patients and 25% less than Hispanic patients.
In a medical journal found in the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, titled Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between Blacks and whites, it further studies false biases that many white medical professionals have about African Americans. The journal goes on to describe the biases associated with the skin, blood, and other physical attributes associated with Black people (don't bleed, can withstand pain, extreme heat, and strong physical endurance); all having to do with racial biases which none have biological proof to support these "beliefs". The journal also discusses studies conducted to show, in some cases, medical professionals have assumed or knew that Black patients were in the same if not more pain than their counterparts but those professionals still administered little to no pain medications. In many of these cases it can cause worse or deadly health impacts.
According to the CDC, over 40% of the pregnancy-related deaths in U.S., are made up of Black women. In 2017, Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams was almost one of these statistics when she gave birth to her daughter Alexis. She complained about horrible pains and blood clotting, and was told from a nurse "her medication had her confused". Serena, like many of us, had to be her own health advocate..her life depended on it! Luckily for Serena her doctor followed her hunch, but many of our sisters sadly do not have the same fate. Now while I'm on the topic of Serena, for years she has been mocked for being "too masculine". Some of it has to do with her muscular physique and aggressive behavior..but hello she's an athlete--a damn good one might I add! Most of it has to do with the colorist biases, as previously detailed. I have seen Serena off the tennis court many times and she is so dainty, very feminine, extremely nurturing to her daughter and husband, and her curves look great all dressed up. Proving that colorist rhetoric as just that.
Now I am not here to say that us being more feminine will stop the racial biases in the medical field, or the world in general for that matter, however I do think that on the grand scheme of things, portraying ourselves in a more "gentle" way will create a new narrative. Obviously for many race issues there's a lot of healing, educating, and dismantling that NEEDS to happen. But as women we can definitely impart change that starts within.
Of course there are many other factors, such as lack of resources and education, that can and does impact our mortality rates when it comes to getting proper health care, which my blog will not confirm or deny, there are platforms out there that will give much more information on that. But for the purposes of my agenda, there is much to be said about how we are seen as super-humans, warriors, and indestructibly strong; and it is literally killing us.
Femininity Myth: Being feminine is weak.
I hope you enjoyed the first part and inception to my four part Femininity Series.. Be sure to head over to IGtv where I discuss further these 7 impacts of femininity on black women.
Top 7 positive impacts.
Creates a happier you!
Become a "go getter".
Increases marriage rates.
Impact the community.
Changing our narrative.
#femininity #blackfemininity #blackwomen #blackcommunity #femininewoman #thefemininecheckin #thecoffeeandmascarablog
Hoffman, K. M., Trawalter, S., Axt, J. R., & Oliver, M. N. (2016). Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,113(16), 4296–4301. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1516047113
Paulyne Lee; Maxine Le Saux; Rebecca Siegel; Chen Chen Yan Ma; Andrew C. Meltzer
Racial and ethnic disparities in the management of acute pain in US emergency departments: Meta-analysis and systematic review. 2019
Salam, Maya (2018). For Serena Williams, Childbirth Was a Harrowing Ordeal. She’s Not Alone.