Gender Performativity and the Surveillance of Womanhood

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3 Şub 2022




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My sister wears lip gloss before she goes to sleep "just in case" she says. I'm not sure what she's preparing for, but I know it's not uncommon for girls to want to look good even in their sleep. The whole "I woke up like this" ideal. It's more than frustrating how we feel pressured to always look "presentable".
just gotta post this quote thats lived in my head for years
I’m convinced that these weird ass 1950s recipes were a form of protest by bores housewives. Their stepford existence was slowly driving them crazy, and caused resentment towards their husbands. They were effectively like “you want me to make dinner? I’ll make you dinner!”’ It’s a dumb headcannon but it’s the only sense I can make from all the jello
"I'm not saying being desired by men is a privilege, if anything it's an insult" I DIED 💀
I remember hearing abt women in the 50s going to bed later and waking up earlier than their husbands in order to take off n put on makeup without them noticing so they would always think of them as naturally looking like that which idk how common it actually was but even if it wasnt common, the idea of anyone feeling as though they have to do that is so sad
I remember not understanding why I thought i looked boyish/manly. I am latina and I remember being younger and always wearing clips in my hair/headbands/etc. because i didnt want anyone to think i wasnt a girl. I grew up and saw that i associated my features as “less feminine” “harsher” etc. Longing for a smaller nose, less pointed chin, softer brows. Ofc ideals change, but its sad to think of a 6 year old disliking herself. And growing up to realize that a 6 year old had been brainwashed into thinking Eurocentric features were the only thing thats feminine.
The problem you run into when you are not participating in the current beauty standards (as a woman) you are being treated very differently. People are suddenly not as nice as they were when you looked presentable. This in turn trains you to always participate, since everyone wants to be treated well by other people.
tears started swelling up in my eyes when you mentioned how fat women have to perform femininity. growing up as a hairy indian fat girl, it felt so dehumanizing knowing all these things about me made me less attractive in the eyes of society that I had to wear makeup and girly clothes in order to feel better about myself. i still am fat and feel like i need to be this hyperfeminine standard and its really exhausting
Good to know every girl had a hoodie phase for one reason or another, and I wasn't the only one that spent several years in the same jacket every day regardless of temperature 😂 But this really articulated how and why Black women are simultaneously seen as unfavorably unfeminine while also being hypersexualized from a young age, whereas many other stereotypes are just one or the other (body hair being too masculine or demanding removal is a constant worry for a Latina friend, while a Japanese American classmate was stalked by a creep who saw her as an anime sex object). It's all disgusting, and there is so much to unpack, but the kicker is when women buy in to those stereotypes and expectations and hold other women to it, rather than advocating for one another and fighting unrealistic (and often impossibly contradicting) male expectations and unhealthy beauty standards
As a woman I never even realised how much of my experiences are tied to how I curate the image of who I’m trying to be perceived as.
When I was younger, I had a lot of body hair for a girl my age. I remember being 5 and having leg hair, arm hair, facial hair, etc. One girl in my class asked me if I was a boy because of it. From that point on, I always tried my best to present as feminine as possible. I learned how to use a razor in the first grade. I wore matching outfits with hair bows and purses every day to school. I learned how to apply makeup when I was 11 to try to make my "harsh" features look softer and more feminine. By the time I was in the 5th grade, I was getting my eyebrows and upper lip professionally waxed once a month. I remember crying every time I shaved my legs in the shower, because it was something I hated doing so much but felt that like it was not optional. In the 6th grade, somebody called me a tomboy and I rode the bus home crying about it. In the 7th grade, a boy in my class asked me if I was a lesbian because I just "looked like it". I found an old diary entry from when I was 9 years old, upset about the way my body looked. I wrote, "I think I was born a boy and mommy and daddy wanted a girl so they're lying to me about it. I wish I was born a girl. That way my arms wouldn't have any hair on them." I was 9, and clearly did not understand anatomy, or it would've been easy to figure out that I wasn't born male. Its so sad to me that I spent so much of my life so focused on upholding the standard of what a girl should look like. In high school, I became more comfortable with myself, and allowed myself to present more as I wanted, not as I felt was expected. Now, in college, I sometimes like to appear androgynous or masculine, and I am able to use the title "woman" proudly, without feeling I have to prove my worthiness of being a woman. I wish I had known that having harsh features and a lot of body hair doesn't make you less of a girl, and that being a tomboy, a lesbian, or anything else my classmates called me doesn't mean I'm not as much as a girl than everybody else. (Sorry for the long comment, but if you read it ily)
The recipes that came out of the 50s housewife era have to be recognised as crimes against humanity, sincerely a girl who never left her chunky eyeliner phase👁👄👁
Someone was making fun of me for wearing a beret today so im happy to see a fellow beautiful black girl wearing one 😄
You know what I hate. I hate the responsibility to comes into play with being a woman and participating in womanhood. I'm not talking about the responsibility of taking care of the domestic space because I feel like that should be everybody's responsibility to provide a healthy community space for themselves and one another. I'm talking about how woman are scapegoated for every problem. How they are "responsible" for being attack or causing such chaos. The responsibility of up holding ridged traditions and cultures. The responsibility of fixing someone in a relationship and providing all the back up support even if it is an unequal relationship. The only responsibility they barely seem to have is the responsibility of power. And men still get to go on fun adventures and raising hell outside without everyone making such a big scandal.
While cis male, being autistic, and growing up without knowing such, I can strongly emphasize with the sense of "self-surveillance" you describe here. Being ridiculed and on occasion even violently attacked for my atypical behavior, I learned, in an attempt to somehow escape the routine traumatization, to monitor myself at all times, checking whether I was fitting into the model of a "normal" person I was expected to perform as. Never quite understanding why exactly I was socially punished, it was a constant grasping in the dark, trying to understand what I was "doing wrong".
This video actually made me cry because it resonated a lot with me. My whole life I always felt like a man was watching me and was judging me.
Ironically, I stopped performing femininity as much because I met a guy who doesn't give a f@#$.
Since you brought up Athens I would like to share a story of a woman in history.
For context: I'm nonbinary. When I stopped applying the "female lenses" on myself I felt so much freedom, not only to be as "masculine" as I want but also as "feminine" as I want without the need to fill a role. I went through a similar phase of previously wanting to fill the role of "man" and felt a similar kind of freedom when I realized I could just reject gender. My childhood and teenagehood were plagued by the lenses though which people saw me but now I know I only need to fit my own personal preference for myself. Pink is still my favorite color though
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