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Flaunt Your Feminity or Tone It Down?
Women's Unwritten Social Codes

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How Women View Women:
 
Is Too Much Feminity A Threat? Walking The Fine Line
 
Here is an email I just found in my Inbox that will definitely get your attention. You'll either agree or get really mad. (Check your blood pressure if needed.)
 
This person was writing about an email I sent in October called "Men Love Women Who Love Men" - which spoke about femininity in part.
 
That's the part that caught my eye first. Here is her email:
 
Brace yourself, it's going to be a bumpy read (but try not to jump to conclusions):
Hi Mimi,
 
Thank you for that email. It was a relief to read it.
 
I am this kind of woman who naturally loves the company and energy of men, but it does make me unpopular with women, especially married women (especially if they aren't as slim and well groomed as me) and can cause me to be ostracized by these women in some social situations and this can be very uncomfortable and awkward.
 
These women are often very powerful (in their own lunchbox). Usually the men don't even pick up on this bullying.
 
I think this fear of ostracism could be the cause of many women deciding not to be feminine women...
 
What should I do about this? Even though it's their problem, it's not a nice feeling to be disliked and I don't particularly want to have to leave my favourite hobbies or sporting clubs.
 
Warmest regards
Claire
Thank you, Claire! I appreciate your honesty. I know exactly what you are talking about here.
 
One thing you said hit me first - before I read all of your email - the part about "fear of ostracism could be the cause of women deciding not to be feminine."
 
WOW. That hits home with me mainly because I almost always wear a skirt or a dress and hardly ever wear jeans. I don't think I look good in slacks. Other women can look great in them, but I am about five feet tall, and slacks just don't flatter me. I feel very unattractive in slacks, but attractive in a skirt. (Jeans look pretty good on anyone however.)
 
But I think Claire is RIGHT that women tend to dress down and dress less attractively than they could so as not to seem like a threat to other women.
 
Why in the world this is the case, I don't know - it must come from not wanting to seem like a threat to someone else's husband. It's a "married women" thing. And married women are also notorious for changing from being a sexy young thing to hacking off their hair, donning slacks, and never wearing a dress except to a very special occasion.
 
Somehow this is the unspoken truth that many women try to dress down. Often if I'm going to a place where I know all the other women will be in slacks, I feel awkward that I'm wearing a dress, because I think the other women may interpret me as trying to flaunt my femininity. I do not intend it that way. I just look and feel a lot better in a dress or skirt. I like to feel feminine. I've been dressing this way for so long that I don't think about it anyway.
 
I'm not exactly a Total Woman answering the door nude in Saran Wrap for Mr. Right either - I have more than my share of hard-nosed business traits so it's not like I'm a shrinking violet.
 
And what if a woman IS in competition with another woman for a man? During any RARE time when I felt that I was competing for some man's romantic attention with another woman who was the "slacks" wearing type - which most women are - I did feel by being one of the rare women who shows her legs on a regular basis, I had the edge there.
And by the way, ALL of my women friends wear slacks or jeans all the time. And fortunately none of them has ever acted like I'm strange for not wearing them.
 
Now back to Claire's original email. She raises MANY topics that deserve discussion.
 
1. Loving the company of men
 
Many of us can relate to this. As a kid, the girls bored me and I wanted to read Mad Magazine with the guys in my class. They were the funny and smart people back then. (Now that I'm older it's a lot different. The guys are getting less and less smart the older I get. I appreciate the rare exceptions very much!)
 
2. Social situations with men and women together
 
As adults, when we're in a group of men and women, if one woman ignores the other women and only talks to the men, then she does stand out as someone who dislikes the women and who is trying to get all the available attention from the men that evening.
 
Women do have to walk a fine line in social situations to show "loyalty" to their gender without seeming asexual in the process.
 
3. Bullying and men being oblivious to what's going on between women
 
It sounds like you're seeing some claws, Claire. You are sensing that women pick up on your attitude toward them and YES, if they think you don't like them, then they will not like you. If they think you think they're dumpy, then that will turn them off. It sounds like you're projecting these thoughts to them.
 
It gets really bad for the other women if they go home and their guy talks about how nice a woman is - the woman who was stealing all the men that evening! Then they have even more reason to dislike her.
 
To answer Claire's question of what she should do, I suggest that if women are present, talk to them at the first opportunity, and find some common ground. If you find yourself thinking that they are not attractive, look for what is attractive about that person. She's probably smart, natural, sincere, kind, etc.  After you get to know her, you may think she is very attractive and you may want to be her good friend.
 
Other women who are "regulars" at wherever you socialize need to be courted if you plan to be a regular there too. You must be friendly to them if you want to be accepted. And in a tightly knit group, you'll have no choice.
 
If you are in a situation where you could be seen as a threatening femme fatale, then tone down the flirt in you at that particular time. Don't spend too much time with a group of men without resuming your conversations with the women in the room if that fits the situation. A man can ask for more of your time. 
 
We have to deal with the realities of the unspoken social codes everywhere we go. Claire has raised many interesting points here.

Update After the First Day's Comments
 
Yesterday's email sparked many comments that are still coming in - at the online guestbook and in my email.

The original questioner, "Claire," wrote in too - with a terrific comment. She felt that some people read too many negative qualities into her email.

I know what she means because oftentimes, when we women are talking one on one, we may sound more "catty" just to get the point across - and we understand that this isn't the whole story on how we see things.

It got me to thinking about something else - how women treat other women when they perceive a threat that isn't there.

Sometimes a highly appealing woman can just walk into a room full of couples, and the women there are thinking, "Oh no" because they know that the men might start going ga-ga over this woman (just based on appearance, as men do - all the time).

However, the highly appealing woman may not even be aware of how attractive she is, or may not be focused on or "trading on" that at all.

Another example is when someone is chosen to be a news anchor or talk show host. It's often commented that a person has broad appeal because women do not feel threatened by her; they like her.

Claire referred to the backstabbing that can happen among women who feel threatened - behind the eyes of men, who are thinking, "Why can't we all just get along?" "I don't know why you don't like her. She seems nice to me."

It does hurt when women send out hate vibes to each other. The opposite is much more powerful.

In my program "Hard To Get" there is a class called "How To Get Rid of The Other Woman" and I tell a story about a wronged wife who instantly vanquished the "other woman" by her display of incredible humility. The other woman couldn't even talk to the guy after that.

If you look near the bottom of the comments, you'll read a story from me also about what another woman did with my date that was REALLY trying to send me a message! Ugh! (It was a long time ago but I was a sitting duck for that moment.)

Thanks again to Claire and to everyone who has been posting on this topic.
 
What Are Your Thoughts? Your Opinions, Please.
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