The Lost Art of Femininity.

Via on Aug 11, 2010

This article was inspired by Lasara Allen’s (serious) The Lost Art of Masculinity.

These days the only group of people more henpecked by women than men…are women.

That’s why every other teenage girl is trying to sail around the globe, not to set some kind of world record, but to get away from all the self help books, magazine articles, and talk shows written, published and hosted by women who spew the creed for womanhood. I was baffled by these young girls setting off to sea, but then some recent news articles helped me realize just how absurd and frustrating life must be as a woman.

The first article was about a company created by two women. The company’s name: Booty Pop. Booty Pop makes padded underwear to help ladies’ butts look more shapely and round.  The creators of Booty Pop say it’s a cheap alternative to getting fat injected into one’s backside because, thanks to J-Lo, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian, big butts are considered sexy again. Right now recovering anorexics and bulimics everywhere are staring up at the sky shouting, Noooooooo!

(As a former anorexic I can make that joke.)

Booty Pop panties are sold in mainstream outlets like Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Walgreen’s. According to the Wall Street Journal the company expects to pop at least a million booties by year’s end. Guess who’s buying ‘em? Women! Fortunately men don’t have the same pressure of living up to our current male sex symbols since they’re all either pre-pubescent or (wink, wink) Scientologists. Or, yah, “yoga moguls.”

The next article I read was about Leila Josefowicz, a 32-year-old concert violinist who’s been a prodigy at the instrument since she was 10 years old. Now 32, she has several recording contracts, travels the world performing, and is the first choice of many composers to champion their music. Oh yeah, she was also a model. Take a look at her press:

“It doesn’t hurt, not looking like the back end of a six-buttocked pig. Canadian-born violinist Leila, now 32, was actually the face of Chanel’s Allure perfume for a year…” ~ The Guardian.

or

“Leila Josefowicz was the perfect choice. She made her Carnegie Hall debut at 16 looking like a gamine with Rapunzel blonde hair. Today, at 32, she retains her milkmaid skin…” ~ The Berkshire Review.

How disheartening to know even in an arena as dignified and staid as classical music a woman’s looks would get so much attention. For a moment I blamed myself and my fellow man. Then I read an article about Stephanie Dolgoff, and the tides of sympathy began to run out to sea.

Unlike Leila Josefowicz, Stephanie Dolgoff has no talent and thus has nothing to discuss except beauty. The woman is so obsessed with looks and what it means to lose them she’s written a book and launched a website about the trials and tribulations of a woman turning 40 and “therefore” no longer being attractive. Her website is called FormerlyHot.com and her book is titled, “My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young.” Ms. Dolgoff spent her early life working for women’s magazines like Self, Glamour and YM, which is obviously where she honed her skills for writing content aimed at destroying women’s self esteem.

Sadly, this book will sell. To women.

It’s already been featured in The New York Times and she’s got an appearance booked on the Today show. Hopefully Meredith Vieira, who’s definitely over 40 and definitely still “hot” will do the interview. Her first question should be: “Ms. Dolgoff, how are you qualified to write about how it feels to be formerly hot?”

But the publishing world is filled with all kinds of crap both insulting and yet only purchased by women, so this was no surprise. I got over my jealousy of the success Dolgoff is certain to have with her middle finger to middle-aged women, but my mind still swirled with concern for the opposite sex and how we could make women’s lives better…so all of our generation’s daughters don’t go sailing off.

Then I read an article about how men need to start acting more manly, written by a woman named Lasara Allen. The article was titled, “The Lost Art of Masculinity.” I didn’t know masculinity was an art form. I kinda thought it just happened if you peed standing up.  Allen’s article was neither original nor thought-provoking, imho, but it did make me realize how complete and utterly annoying it must feel to be a woman in this society where they are constantly barraged by articles just like Allen’s in which a lone author actually tells an entire gender how to act. Women have to ignore these sermons everywhere they look. It must be painfully exhausting—but on the flip side great training for giving birth. There’s no way men could handle such a blanketing of unsolicited and often unqualified propagation about the best way to be a man. Throw in some hot flashes and we’d have ourselves an Armageddon.

Fortunately, most men don’t buy into such writing, and thus there’s no market for it. If we did there’d probably be a posse of teenage boys sailing around the globe (or going into yoga retreats) trying to escape.

So ladies, while it would be a tad bit contradictory for me to now tell you what to do, I’ll say only this: If your daughter asks for sailing lessons, buy her a violin instead.

About Jimmy Gleacher

Jimmy Gleacher is the author of three books and movie. He is currently working on his fourth book, THE YOGA TERRORIST. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. For more information please visit his website, jimmygleacher.net.

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23 Responses to “The Lost Art of Femininity.”

  1. Lasara Allen LasaraAllen says:

    P.S. Nice call on the (gross) image of post-pubescent girls tonguing each other. Hope my daughter (13 years old, and yes, she does read ej from time to time) doesn't hope to find some truth in your words, and end up looking at THAT as a representation of some lost art.

  2. MariahCharbonneau says:

    What astounds me about this article is that it is so attacking toward Lasara. I did not read her article to be in the same vein at ALL. What I read from her stated that, we, as women, are in large part responsible for the de-masculinization of a generation or more of men, and that, in order to reclaim our softer, feminine side, as so many of us strong women want to do, we need to recognize that we, as a gender (and of course, some of us more than others) DID play a part, and that both sexes need to recognize it, and start to dance the delicate dance of each taking steps to allow the other to be what we want and need to be. Lasara's article spoke clearly to me of compassion and understanding, whereas this article speaks only of resentment and judgment.

    • Randi Willis Young says:

      I wholeheartedly agree! Was this possibly written in the context of having a joking manner? It doesn't seem to be, but one can hope.

    • Ahem, as a man…I found it hard to find compassion and understanding in an article which paint us all with such a wide (and dirty brush). In fact, the entire tone was (as you say) full of resentment and judgement….not to mention the cheek of telling men how to be masculine (much less what it means, etc). Place yourself in our shoes and ask yourself honestly how you would respond… Jimmy's humourous response was in fact gentle by comparison.

      How about we all seek to understand the dynamics of our evolving gender roles instead of constantly trying to gain the rhetorical upper hand (then congratulating ourselves for being so "superior?"

  3. MariahCharbonneau says:

    Also the usage of "you're" in "you're daughter" was incorrect. "Your" would be the correct choice there.

  4. Sublime Jimmy, sublime! Many thanks for this

  5. candicegarrett says:

    "I didn't know masculinity was an art form. I just kinda thought it happened if you peed standing up."

    Favorite line ever.

  6. April says:

    Love it! The attitude really drives the point home. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. [...] The Lost Art of Femininity | elephant journal Then I read an article about Stephanie Dolgoff, and the tides of sympathy began to run out to sea. Unlike Leila Josefowicz, Stephanie Dolgoff has no talent and thus has nothing to discuss except beauty. The woman is so obsessed with . [...]

  8. Thanks mate. I found that this was a decent article. Can you link me a site with heaps more blogs like this one?

  9. [...] assess Sagittarius and Pisces as different facets of Jupiter – the quality of masculine and feminine energies in astrology and in life. Masculine energy is generally more related to clarity, [...]

  10. ltg says:

    At first, I was excited by all of the people seeking to redefine manliness and femininity, liberating both from tired and confining stereotypes. But the more I read, the more I want to say, “Screw it. Let’s dump definitions alltogether and learn how to let each individual be his or her authentic self. Any attempt to create definitions is, by definition, going to marginalize those who don’t conform.

  11. Lea says:

    So using a photo of two women with their tongues out or pointing out women's tendency to buy insulting products were necessary to criticize another article when you could make your point without attempting to humiliate or insult?

    The amount of hostile and sexist articles on elephant journal (written by both women and men) has been troubling to say the least for some time now.

    Yet to "criticize" another article you found offensive in such a humiliating manner fails to emphasize what's wrong with sexist and generalizing attitudes that you were offended by in the first place.

    It just ended up looking like a resentful attack because of this, even though you have every right to criticize an article you were offended by for the reasons you claimed (the writer telling a whole gender what to behave like / defining a gender's quality)

    But honestly I wish the elephant journal writers could stop attacking other people's articles and genders all together.

    And writing sexist articles along with obscene images just make this site seem like a resentful, sexist, hate filled rant blog.

  12. MariahCharbonneau says:

    To be honest with you, Jimmy, the only reason I even read this article was because EJ titled it "Rebuttal to…" I thought to myself, "Who could find fault with Lasara's article???" and thus proceeded to read yours. I admit, I was probably biased to begin with, because I so identified with her article – and KNOW that I, personally, have been responsible for minimizing and devaluing the manhood of at least one really good man. As the mother to a 15 year old young man, the LAST thing I want to do is devalue the role of men in this world. I want him to be proud to be a man (whatever HIS definition of manliness is), but certainly not at the expense of the women around him. I want my 12 year old daughter to know that if she wants to sail around the world, or play the violin, or sit and pick blades of grass…then that is her decision, and nobody in this world has the right to tell her otherwise. I want her to know that it is, indeed, ok for her to feminine AND strong, IF she chooses to be. It has taken me all 36 years of my life so far to be able to bypass the messages constantly thrown at me by not only the media, but friends and family as well, as to what kind of woman I'm supposed to be, what kind of mother I'm supposed to be, what society's view is of how divorced couples should act (which I steadfastly reject)…it goes on and on and on…but it is not so much frustrating as it is freeing, when you get to a point at which you decide that those messages really hold no value for you, as an individual. I reread your article, trying to shed my bias as I did so, and can see some truth in some of what you wrote…although I still think the majority of the message was cynical and judgmental – for instance, who are you to judge a teenage girl's decision to sail around the world…whatever her reasons, they are hers alone and perhaps she'll discover herself there to a degree the likes of which she would not have on dry land. So, thanks for bringing a different view to light; I can't say it was eye opening, or better yet, mind opening…but it did make me think for a minute – and for that I'm grateful. The message just does not resonate with me, while Lasara's certainly does.

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