We Asked You About The Pressure To Be Feminine In Order To Be Seen As Beautiful

Feature Image: Parys Gardener

We asked our readers what they thought of in regards to the link between and beauty; here’s what we found out.

As defined by dictionaries, ‘feminine’ means to have ‘qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness’. Hence the traditional understanding of female beauty has been tied to this narrow idea of femininity which is pushed onto women and girls to this day. So, we decided to reach out to our community to ask if you encounter pressures to be feminine in order to be seen as beautiful, and how that makes you feel. We received a flood of messages from women across the world, and, below are a selection chosen to share with you.

Artwork by: Parys Gardener


“I usually dress more casually. When I wear a dress or a skirt it is not rare to hear “Oh wow, you remembered you are a girl today!”

– Catrina, America


“Yes, especially from my hometown Shishi, a small city of the southern part of China; most of the people here, particularly elderly, always think girls should do this, girls should behave like that; my thinks this way too. My mother is a typical traditional woman so she always asks me to keep my hair long and stop wearing red lipstick because it’s too much.”

– Annie, China


“Often I get told to look more feminine and I question the person as to what they mean by that as I am already 100% feminine in my own definition – I am a woman. Then they say I could be more gentle and speak less ‘bluntly’; that I should put more makeup on and maybe start wearing dresses more often and leave trainers at home. As a child I was called a tomboy… I actually even catch myself saying that when I describe myself in my childhood.”



“Is masculinity all about revealing your hairy body and being able to build up a personality which is supposed to always remain strong? When did we reach this point where a woman is taken to be masculine for portraying features that men are entitled to display? Femininity is not about being elegant, soft-spoken or well-mannered. If femininity is associated with being a woman then the understandings of femininity must change. Femininity indicates strength, power and courage.” 

– Vibha, India


Have something you’d like to share? We love hearing from our community; email us your thoughts, ideas, or writing to [email protected]