Complex figures

in her book learning to drive, katha pollitt writes that "femininity is relative; it's about men, in a way that masculinity is not about women," meaning that to be feminine requires a masculine contrast to play off of - to be the jane to someone else's tarzan. her example is the amazons, who, living in isolation from men, were deemed "warlike, stoic and high-spirited," or masculine* rather than intensely feminine.

i generally feel "feminine" just by virtue of being female, but i am aware that whenever i have extremely short hair, i am more likely to wear makeup and wear a dress.

how do you define the terms "masculine" and "feminine" in terms of style?

*applying stereotypical assumptions about what is masculine and feminine here, and not my own personal values or beliefs.


enc said...

For me, pants = masculinity, skirts/dresses = femininity. Very bog-standard and elementary distinctions, I know. If I have on pants, I'll work toward making the rest of what I'm wearing "feminine," by adding ballet flats, a cute top, or a ponytail. If I'm wearing a skirt or dress, sometimes I'll push it all the way to girly, other times, I'll hold back and tone down, so I'm not "too" feminine. I'm a tomboy, after all.

Iheartfashion said...

I tend to wear more masculine stuff: trousers, button-downs, vests, men's shoes...come to think of it, I'm practically in drag! But because my body is almost exaggeratedly feminine (large bust/small waist/not-small hips) I don't worry about being mistaken for a boy, even with short hair.
I would love to be a girly-girl in dresses and heels every day, but it's just not me. I think I've finally accepted it.

deep_in_vogue said...

How funny.. i just wrote about that today :)

-h of candid cool said...

Masculine: Three piece suits, Tuxedos, Slouchy t-shirts (which are usu men’s shirts or “boyfriend” fit), Dior Homme jeans, chunky chains, military shirts/jackets.
I prefer more masculine (usu chronograh) watches (my wrists are too small to wear an actual men’s watch) to a dainty bracelet watch, and cologne to perfume (I can’t stand the floral smell).

I’m attracted to that Masculine or that androgynous boy style more often than the feminine look. I notice I tire of the “Feminine” blouses, whereas I keep my white button downs. But I balance these masculine things out with really high heels, big sparkly jewels, and slim tailoring.

Even though I wear dresses (floor length always), for me feminine is that Anthropologie look, and I’m not quite there yet. Maybe if I was married and had kids and a house, maybe…