Femininity as Performance, and the Changing Face of Female Identity
by Marlena Trafas
Somewhere around the age of three the human mind becomes obsessed with defining itself. Little kids around that age will be diligent about drawing firm lines between themselves and others, and particularly when it comes to gender. At this moment in life we begin to develop the urge to become the most exemplary specimen of whatever it is that we are. And if you happen to be a girl, you’re going to try to be the most perfect girl that ever walked the earth. But it’s a developmental stage that we never fully grow out of, spending much of our adult lives molding our identities so that they conform to whatever our version of ideal happens to be. There’s no better or more obvious example of this than the daily struggle of applying a whole face of makeup and twisting your hair into submission every morning. This is what psychologists refer to as the female performance, a never-ending stage act in which everything about you, the way you speak, the way you move and dress and bat your eyes, your whole existence becomes an act of willing an idealized version of femininity into existence. How often do you as a woman stop to consider where your ideas about what constitutes your best self comes from, and just how deeply it has been shaped by others? How many of us realize just how far the pendulum of idealization can swing? Let’s take a walk through history.
Read the whole article - it is so good and though provoking.
My comment: We are guilty of creating in our heads what the ideal woman should be and then trying to live up to the standard we set. Here is a closing remark from the article:
Thanks to the internet’s accessibility, it’s easier than ever to trace these “ideals” back to their source: sites like Men’s Health, OK Cupid, Whats Your Price and a vast number of other sites with a large population of male users. From a simple Google search, there is no arguing that the perfect woman is not a woman-generated concept. The very idea of a perfect woman is based on what the heterosexual man enjoys. It’s not about the woman at all. She’s eclipsed by fantasy. She is not a person, but a prototype...
It’s all about dressing the way you want because it makes you happy, regardless what anyone else thinks.
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