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Old 11th February 2009   #1
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Default Femininity returning as women leave workplace

Here's a fascinating trend that's being noted in various online articles. As the economy tanks and women find themselves out of work, more and more of them are embracing their feminine identity.

One writer enthuses about this as an "indication of a reemergence of gender roles":

Here's the text:

Unemployment Is Hot

By Mande Wilkes • February 6, 2009

Unemployment becomes some women, it turns out.

It’s a trend we first noticed while browsing at Anthropologie, a store not particularly suited to the jobless – except, that is, for its array of stylish aprons.

Aprons are apparently au courant, especially for the legion of women settling into unemployment.

All these newly jobless women are embracing the demands of home economics, tying on aprons that aren’t just practical but also pretty.

Seriously, these are not your mama's aprons...

The silhouette is not so much a throwback, but a flash forward – good-looking homemakers aren’t a thing of the past but rather a sign of the times.

In fact, it’s the rumpled nine-to-fiver who is the throwback, because messy and flustered is out; primped and together is in...

Recent research suggests that the stress of working spurs a woman’s body to create testosterone, a hormone which makes the body look less curvy.

Anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan studied women’s waist-to-hip ratios to calculate trends in the body types of working women versus those who are unemployed. From the Telegraph article:

Medical studies have previously shown that a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 – where the waist circumference is 70 per cent of the hip circumference or lower – is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease.

However, Professor Cashdan found that this ratio is rarely found among women who are under pressure to rely on their own resources to support themselves and their families. Instead, she discovered an average waist to hip ratio of 0.8.
Unemployment, then, appears to be make women blonder, curvier, and more stylish...

The medical point is very interesting, and it's something that I've read elsewhere - that workplace stress has a detrimental physiological effect on women, and makes them more androgynous, while a life of feminine leisure allows them to retain their womanly curves.

I suspect that many women who now find themselves out of work and in a domestic situation will discover that they really enjoy it. And when a man truly loves a woman, he is happy to be the sole breadwinner. It's a situation that works for both parties.

Another Telegraph article makes a related point:

Curves have made a comeback

By Celia Walden
09 Feb 2009

Over the past two decades, in the absence of loftier beliefs...being thin was a religion, a way of imposing moral restraints on ourselves amid the material abundance of modern life.

Then something extraordinary happened: a clutch of famous women started filling out. Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria announced that she had gained five pounds, “and suddenly it’s a national scandal”; Christina Hendricks, star of the hit US television series Mad Men, committed virtual blasphemy by flaunting her size-12 physique on screen; and Kate Winslet, without apparent shame, has been parading her soft outlines around the world, not in Evans, the high-street label for the larger woman, but in curve-hugging Herve Leger, Balmain, Narciso Rodriguez and, at last night’s Baftas, in fish-tailed Zac Posen...

Recession curves, say the experts, are on their way, cushioning us from hard times ahead, projecting an influx of luscious women on to our barren landscapes...

“With the fear of what might be happening in the economy there is a new mood of concern and care and, in the personal realm, a permission to be less controlled and more forgiving. Curves also soften blows or perhaps give people a sense that they don’t need to be so angular and cut and thrust.”

“I think it all started with Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks,” says Glamour editor Jo Elvin. “Both men and women are really crushing on her at the moment. Who doesn’t wish they filled a sweater and skirt like that girl?” An ever-decreasing band of women, apparently. Even uber-stylist Katie Grand, who is shortly to launch a twice-yearly fashion and style magazine for Condé Nast called Love, has allegedly banned size-zero models from its pages.

“Now that we are interpreting the spurious dynamic of the fashion industry as wasteful, exploitative and manipulative, [the] view of thinness may be altering. I also suspect it is not what women truly want for themselves. And certainly, if my own tastes are anything to go by, men are not specially attracted to very thin women: there’s no Darwinian explanation for the appeal of thinness. Quite the opposite in fact.”

Those new curves may make us more alluring to the opposite sex, but with the BMIs of the front rows as low as they are on the catwalks, aren’t they anathema to high fashion? Not necessarily, says Vogue executive fashion editor Calgary Avansino. “Designers who relish and appreciate a classically curvy female silhouette may be few and far between, but those who do – Vivienne Westwood, Dolce and Gabbana, Marchesa, and Donna Karan – know exactly how to make “rounder” women feel sexy and proud of their physiques.”

Still there are fashion rules to abide by, says TV stylist and author of The Lazy Goddess Hannah Sandling. “Resist the temptation to cover up if you put on a few extra pounds,” she advises. “Celebrate that over-indulgence; God knows there won’t be much of it to be had. Don’t drown a voluptuous figure...Curves equals sexiness, which equals confidence. Do your bit towards perking up the confidence of the nation and positive vibes will snowball.”

“In the end, the female body is the greatest design of them all,” surmises Bayley, “as much a work of art as of nature. For centuries, people have been aware of the mother-whore distinction. Thing is, each one provides comfort and pleasure. And each depends on a generous body to do so. It’s not so much that curves are back... they never really went away.”

Now, I personally don't believe in economic/material causes being the be-all, end-all drivers of the world, but if the fashion industry thinks so, and chooses to embrace the fuller figure as a result, so be it.

After all, when was the last time you heard the media say, "Resist the temptation to cover up if you put on a few extra pounds...Celebrate that over-indulgence"? Bravo!
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Old 12th February 2009   #2
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Default Re: Femininity returning as women leave workplace

This topic, especially the first article, puts me in mind of a moving and very candid story that I read in The Times. A female playwright makes some astonishing admissions about her chosen path in life and how she regrets it, compared to the life that she wishes she had led.

It's a bit long, but worth considering.

I should have ditched feminism for love, children and baking

A playwright who embraced the feminism espoused by her mother and flaunted by Madonna now feels betrayed

Zoe Lewis

February 5, 2009

I never thought I would be saying this, but being a free woman isn't all it's cracked up to be. Is that the rustle of taffeta I hear as the suffragettes turn in their graves? Possibly. My mother was a hippy who kept a pile of (dusty) books by Germaine Greer and Erica Jong by her bed (like every good feminist, she didn't see why she should do all the cleaning). She imbued me with the great values of choice, equality and sexual liberation. I fought with my older brother and won; at university I beat the rugby lads at drinking games. I was not to be messed with.

Now, nearly 37, those same values leave me feeling cold. I want love and children but they are nowhere to be seen. I feel like a UN inspector sent in to Iraq only to find that there never were any weapons of mass destruction. I was led to believe that women could “have it all” and, more to the point, that we wanted it all. To that end I have spent 20 years ruthlessly pursuing my dreams - to be a successful playwright. I have sacrificed all my womanly duties and laid it all at the altar of a career. And was it worth it? The answer has to be a resounding no.

Ten years ago The Times ran a piece about my play Paradise Syndrome. It was based on my girlfriends in the music business. All we did was party, work and drink. The play sold out and I thought: “This is it! I'm going to have it all: success, power and men are going to adore me for it.” In reality it was the beginning of years of hard slog, rejection letters and living on the breadline. A decade on, I have written the follow-up play Touched for the Very First Time in which Lesley, played by Sadie Frost, is an ordinary 14-year-old from Manchester who falls in love with Madonna in 1984 after hearing the song Like a Virgin. She religiously follows her icon through the years, as Madonna sells her the ultimate dream: “You can do anything - be anything - go girl.” Lesley discovers, along with Madonna, that trying to “have it all” is a huge gamble. I wrote the play because so many of my girlfriends were inspired by this bullish woman who allowed us to be strong and sexy. I still love her and always will, but she has encouraged us to chase a fantasy and it's a huge disappointment.

I may be an extreme case. My views may not represent those of other women of my generation. Perhaps I am just a spoilt middle-class girl who had a career and who has now changed her mind? I don't think so. This month the General Household Survey found that the number of unmarried women under 50 has more than doubled over the past 30 years. And by the age of 30, one in five of these “freemales”, who have chosen independence over husband and family, has gone through a broken cohabitation.

I argue that women's libbers of the Sixties and Seventies put careerism at the forefront, trampling the traditional role of women underneath their Doc Martens. I wish a more balanced view of womanhood had been available to me. I wish that being a housewife or a mother wasn't such a toxic idea to middle-class liberals of yesteryear.

Increasing numbers of my feminist friends are giving up their careers for love and children and baking. I wish I'd had kids ten years ago, when time was on my side, but the problem is not so much time as mentality. I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can.

Natasha Hidvegi, 37, has left her job as a surgeon to look after her son. “I found it impossible to be a good surgeon and a good mother. Though it was a horrendous decision, I don't regret it.”

I thought that men would love independent, strong women, but (in general) they don't appear to. Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine. It's not their fault - it's in the genes. Holly Kendrick, 34, who holds a high-status job in the theatre, agrees: “Men tend to be freaked out if you work as hard as them.” This is why many of my girlfriends are still alone...

I am a failure in my own eyes. Somewhere inside lurks a woman I cannot control and she is in the kitchen with a baby on her hip and dough in her hand, staring me down. She is saying: “This is happiness, this is what it's all about.” It's an instinct that makes me a woman, an instinct that I can't ignore even if I wanted to.

Felicity Wren, 36, is an actress who has yet to find Mr Right. “I feel the pressure, but only from myself, about how I do not have a conventional life. Most people don't care.”

Had I this understanding of my psyche ten years ago I would have demoted my writing (and hedonism) and pursued a relationship with vigour. There were plenty of men and even a marriage offer, but I wouldn't give up my dreams.

I talked to the girls who were the subject of my play Paradise Syndrome in 1999. Sas Taylor, 38, single and childless, runs her own PR company: “In my twenties I felt I was invincible,” she says. “Now I wish I had done it all differently. I seem to scare men off because I am so capable. I have business success but it doesn't make you happy.” Nicki P, 35 and single, works in the music industry and adds: “It was all a game back then. Now I am panicking. No one told me that having fun is not as fun as I thought.”

As I write this I feel sad, as if the feminist principles that my mother brought me up on are being trashed. Am I betraying womanhood? No, I am revealing a shameful truth. Women are often the worst enemies of feminism because of our genetic make-up. We have only a finite time to be mothers and when that clock starts ticking we abandon our strength and jump into bed with whoever is left, forgetting talk of deadlines and PowerPoint presentations in favour of Mamas & Papas buggies and ovulation diaries. Not all women want children but I challenge any woman to say she doesn't want loving relationships. I wish I'd had the advice that I am giving to my 21-year-old sister: if you find a great guy, don't be afraid to settle down and have kids because there isn't anything to miss out on that you can't do later (apart from having kids).

In the future I hope that there can be a better understanding of women by women. The past 25 years have been confusing and I feel that I've been caught in the crossfire. As women we should accept each other rather than just appreciating “success”. I have always felt a huge pressure to be successful to show men that I am their equal. What a waste of time. Wife and mother should be given parity with the careerist role in the minds of feminists.

...I love being a writer and still have my dream but now I am facing facts. The thing that has made me feel best in life was being in love with my ex-boyfriend and the thing that makes me feel the most centred is being in the country with kids and dogs, and yes, maybe in the kitchen.

Very moving and heartfelt, and a cautionary tale for the younger generation.
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Old 17th February 2009   #3
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Default Re: Femininity returning as women leave workplace

That reminds me, I found an article a while back that I wanted to share here.,00.html

It talks about a return to the distaff arts, and how women are embracing their feminine identity.

Return of the 1950s housewife?


December 31, 2008 12:30am

SHE sews, cooks, knits, gardens and raises chooks. The housewife is back – with younger women embracing traditional domestic crafts in droves, new figures show.

Sewing machines have rocketed off shelves in the past six months, with Lincraft reporting a 30 per cent increase in sales.

"There has been a definite trend happening and we have also started to see an increase in dress-fabric sales," said Lincraft spokesman Jeff Croft.

"Demand for sewing classes has increased – and one of the biggest growth areas has been knitting yarn, with a 10-20 per cent increase in sales compared to this time last year."

Spotlight spokesman Steven Carey said DIY craft kits were its booming sector.

The new housewife also appears to be turning our backyards into vegie gardens, with sales of vegetables and herbs surging across nurseries over the past 12 months, according to the Nursery and Garden Industry Association...

[A] survey shows a 5 per cent increase in the number of people spending time doing craft and a 4 per cent rise in people devoting time to home cooking, DIY and gardening.

"There has been a substantial shift in our mindset to a more old-fashioned, frugal lifestyle...

"There are a confluence of forces - the global financial crisis, enviromental concerns and a new cocooning - which are pulling together to form the new homemaker.

"That's why we are embracing the domestic crafts again," he said.

I hope more young women discover the joys of tradition, which can make for a much happier life than the harshness of feminist ideology.
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Old 18th February 2009   #4
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Smile Re: Femininity returning as women leave workplace

Wonderful thread -- thank you!
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Old 8th March 2009   #5
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Default Re: Femininity returning as women leave workplace

These were interesting articles, especially the one written by Zoe Lewis. I believe the true liberal is not a feminist who walks over women wanting to be housewives, or who belittles femininity (they should look up the word "liberal" in the dictionary). I truly believe that most women want a husband, and some want children. This is very true and natural.
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Old 24th July 2009   #6
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Default ''Celebrate that over-indulgence''

Given that we live in a media culture that is averse to any notion of traditionalism, and fanatically committed to imposing Marxist-feminist ideology by any means that it can, it's extraordinary to find such honest and perceptive statements in the mainstream press.

Consider the following quotations from the above articles:

"Men are not specially attracted to very thin women: there’s no Darwinian explanation for the appeal of thinness. Quite the opposite in fact.”

“Resist the temptation to cover up if you put on a few extra pounds,” she advises. “Celebrate that over-indulgence."

"In the end, the female body is the greatest design of them all,” surmises Bayley, “as much a work of art as of nature"

"Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine."

Every one of these statements is true. In fact, in any century prior to the 20th, these assertions would have been considered expressions of the obvious.

Everyone would have known, from the evidence all around them--from the experiences of their own lives--that men are attracted to curvaceous women (the softer and more feminine, the better). Women would have delightedly over-indulged themselves, and proudly shown off their increasingly luscious figures.

But in our time, that kind of traditional wisdom has been suppressed as vehemently as full-figure beauty itself, all out of a fanatical modernist zeal to deform humanity into an androgynous conglomerate, an undifferentiated mass of worker-drones deprived of any essential identity.

Yet even decades of ideological brainwashing cannot alter the human heart. A man still dreams of being the breadwinner for the goddess whom he loves; to provide for her and protect her and take care of her. A women still longs for a life of ease and pleasure. Both men and women silently yearn for traditional relationships, and no wonder--for that traditional ideal is based on natural human impulses, and it served humanity well for countless millennia.

Only when those timeless life-ideals are restored will men and women find true happiness and fulfillment.

Perhaps Whitney Thompson's most beautiful image ever--a still from her "My Life as a Covergirl" cupcake-baking commercial.

Femininity, indulgence, and beauty combined--the epitome of womanly attractiveness.

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Old 24th July 2009   #7
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Default Re: ''Celebrate that over-indulgence''

It's such a relief to read these articles and see that women are starting to realise that the often-ridiculous feminist ideals of 'power women' are simply making them unhappy. Unhappiness does not come from giving in to your natural feminine instincts. The truth is exactly the opposite.

A women trying to fight her inborn femininity is just as futile as an Asian trying to fight their ethnicity or a contralto singer trying to be a soprano. It will only cause damage, and it will never bring happiness.
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Old 31st December 2009   #8
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Default Re: ''Celebrate that over-indulgence''

Originally Posted by Tamika
A women trying to fight her inborn femininity is just as futile as an Asian trying to fight their ethnicity or a contralto singer trying to be a soprano. It will only cause damage, and it will never bring happiness.

Or as futile as a woman trying to fight her appetite, her natural inclination to be curvaceous.

I couldn't agree more with Tamika. I'm so glad to see that some girls are acquiring this wisdom at a young age. It will spare them a lifetime of dissatisfaction and malcontent.

These are some of the most significant ideas that have been discussed on the forum all year. It's so easy to just follow blindly and accept what the media, and the media-brainwashed elements of society, claim is the "correct," "modern" way for women to look, behave, and live (androgynous, modern, masculnized - all rubbish). It's vital to look past the politically correct programming and get in touch with your true instincts and desires. Call it "natural law," or whatever you like, but a woman thrives when she embraces her traditional femininity, and that which is a part of it - her natural beauty.
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