facets of femininity

Anyway as a butch lesbian I don’t think it’s wrong for me to want to criticize how femininity is forced on women and girls. I’m not saying you can’t participate in or enjoy femininity for yourself, but my journey has been… Complex. With regards to femininity and my feelings toward it.

When I was younger, around 8-9, I despised dresses and the color pink and everything to do with compulsory femininity. I actively and loudly proclaimed my hatred for these things. Over time, I told myself - or rather, I internalized messages from the world around me - that this was due to my own immaturity and actually was misogynistic. I forced myself to “get over it” and “fit in” and eventuality I was wearing skirts and dresses and even the color pink quite often. I thought of this as a success on my part to grow beyond my childhood fancies and to embrace femininity and womanhood, because of course I thought (as I was told) that the two are one and the same. Only recently have I begun to really shed these facets of compulsory femininity, to return to my “tomboy” childhood self. There are still some dresses in my closet - unworn, semi-forgotten vestments of a world I’ve left behind. I still own some makeup products, some high heels, some low cut “girly” tops. Femininity tends to leave a residue on one’s life, even after you think you’re done with it. Haven’t done laundry in two weeks? All that’s left is a skirt you bought in the tenth grade. Zit on your nose? Good thing you didn’t throw out your concealer. These things aren’t necessarily vicious, but the idea behind that skirt you bought in tenth grade (maybe if I stop wearing so many loose jeans the girls in my class will want to talk to me) or the idea that your skin should be held to a higher standard than that of a boy - these are the things that harm, and hurt, and stick to your skin long after you thought it was over.

This is not to say that somehow my growth is better or more nuanced than that of anyone else, I just want to say that femininity is compulsory and I have the right to question its role in society. More than simply saying it wasn’t for me but it’s totally fine and empowering for others, I want to give young girls and women a choice in how they can comfortably express themselves in the world. It’s not somehow easier to reject femininity than to accept it. I don’t benefit from some sort of “masculine privilege” by merit of being gender nonconforming and a butch lesbian. I can understand why makeup and dresses and high heels can be a refuge of safety for many women - trans women, women of color, disabled/differently abled women, etc. in particular - without promoting the idea of compulsory femininity as being a positive aspect of heteropatriarchal society. It’s not. It makes women safer because of its compulsory nature. Because, if you don’t submit, you may find yourself in danger. Makeup and beauty products may as well have the tagline “conform or die” and even if you do your best to conform, it may still not be enough. This is what I question. This is what I, as a butch lesbian, want to destroy. And even if you enjoy and find comfort in femininity, you should support every woman’s right to freedom without femininity.

Mother and Destroyer: Nature as Feminine

Mother Nature.

There is much that can be said about the personification of nature, or facets of nature, as feminine. Fertile earth and growing green and rampant life, we embody Nature as a woman, because we fixate on Her nurturing and life-giving aspects. Thus, Mother.

She is not always so.

The Ocean is a woman. The Old Tagalogs and Visayans agreed on that. Where other mythologies had an Earth Mother, both had primordial ocean goddesses: Aman Sinaya and Magwayen, respectively. Magwayen is a mother but not a wife, not even when she is wed to Makaptan the sky god. No children nor husband can be attributed to Aman Sinaya.

She is a woman, because She is bountiful, because She destroys. Both the Tagalogs and Visayans derived their livelihood from the sea. As much as it gave, it took. Aman Sinaya is a protector of fishermen and she is a bringer of storms. She provides a plentiful catch when given proper respect, but, when crossed or denied her share of flesh, she is not loath to capsize a vessel. Similarly, Magwayen is of a tempestuous disposition. Both created through destruction.

Volcanoes, too, are women. The Old Visayans attributed femaleness to volcanoes: serene and beautiful, sources of rich volcanic soil that bore fruitful harvests, but capable of great destruction. The goddess Kan-Laon is said to dwell in the heart of the volcano that bears her name, which means “the one who rules over time”. Feared and revered, she is supreme among the gods. She bestows good harvests upon the deserving and shakes the earth and sends forth smoke and boiling lava when a sacrilege has been committed.

Even today, when few here still believe in Aman Sinaya and Magwayen and Kan-Laon, we agree that Storms are women. Not all Storms, although they used to be, because some Storms are men. Still, the old folks say that you can tell how much you must worry based on a Storm’s name; they only give female names to the stronger ones. True enough, Typhoon Yolanda will never be forgotten.

Nature is a woman, but that can mean many things.

all this childhood book series reminiscing makes me so proud that the first character i ever fell in love with as a kid was a multi-faceted kick ass battle hungry feminine girl who could just as easily and happily go shopping and coordinate an outfit with you as she could beat you to death with her own severed arm, who had as much of a capacity for love as she did for rage and war, and neither quality took anything away from the other.

THE PROFESSIONAL: NICOLAS DEGENNES

Givenchy Le Makeup’s Artist Director discusses the brand’s 10-year anniversary and new limited-edition lipstick.

Nicolas Degennes is a beauty genius. While leading Givenchy Le Makeup for officially a decade, he’s the man behind incredible products like Rouge Interdit Magic Lipstick, Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara, and much more. And he’s still at it, bringing us a new line of whipped Le Rouge-À-Porter lipstick—plus a limited-edition version of the classic Le Rouge. The Sephora Glossy recently caught up with the living legend to discuss 10 years at Givenchy, his latest creations, and so much more. JESSICA VELEZ, REPORTING BY BECKY PEDERSON

What inspired you to launch the Givenchy Le Makeup line in 2004?

I was inspired by the very first drawings by Hubert de Givenchy and the legend of the Givenchy brand. I do a lot of research of the archives for my new creations and I always go back to the original vision of how Hubert de Givenchy [designed]. He always wanted to celebrate the many facets of femininity through his creations. You don’t have to even say the name Givenchy because when a woman sees the four Gs [she] immediately thinks of elegance, femininity, and tradition.

How does the fashion aspect of the brand affect your beauty design process?

Right now I am working on creations for 2017, and I love to harness the energy that Riccardo [Tisci] puts into his collections for how I create the makeup and work with photographers. It’s an overall beautiful, creative energy. I want to put that same energy into all my creations.

Out of all the iconic Givenchy designs, you used Riccardo Tisci’s couture floral print to celebrate the limited-edition Le Rouge lipstick. What did you like about that particular design?

When I first started to work on the Le Rouge packaging, I immediately saw the endless possibilities to customize it. This was the first time that we got to try something new with the cover. I love all of the patterns that Riccardo has created, but this one really inspired me. To me, the flower print says happiness, springtime, joy, and femininity. I love how this pattern will make a woman feel when she sees this limited-edition lipstick in her bag.

Tell us about the limited-edition shade.

It is a very beautiful [shade of] fuchsia that is universal and yet at the same time completely unique on every woman. 

What is special about your new lipstick, Le Rouge-À-Porter, and how did it become the next evolution of the Le Rouge collection?

I love it because it has a balm texture. The formula is exactly what I wanted to achieve…colors that are bright, yet sheer and comfortable. The ingredients are like skincare for the lips because we need to care for our lips more than ever. After the launch of Le Rouge, we saw a lot of matte textures on the market, which dry the lips. This is why I wanted to improve on my initial creation and focus more on lip care. The texture is so unique and comfortable that once you apply it, you want to keep using it over and over.

What’s been your most memorable moment from these last ten years?

Every single day when I’m creating…whether it’s envisioning a new texture or packaging, every day is amazing. I’m still excited and passionate about my work, research, and, most of all, the freedom I have with the Givenchy brand.

Where do you see Givenchy Le Makeup going in the next decade?

I want to introduce more and more women around the world to the Givenchy magic. We strive all the time to improve our formulas. We never settle, and we push our suppliers to go further than before. I always push for textures that are groundbreaking, innovative, and bring out the femininity in every woman.

SHOP GIVENCHY LE ROUGE N205 COUTURE EDITION 15 US> 

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Final Fantasy 30 Day Challenge: Favourite Canon Romance

I’ll be waiting for you. If you come here, you’ll find me.

Oh man, these two are so incredibly important to me. Rinoa is such an incredible character with so many facets - she’s strong, scared, stubborn, feminine, resourceful, honest… She is everything that a brilliant character should be, and she brought Squall out of his shell so much. It’s because of her that he was able to open up to his friends and, even though she wasn’t part of the ‘Orphanage Gang’, she was the one that made it possible for them to be a family. Her and Squall are so good for one another, and their love is so important for the development of the story.

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MIU MIU Spring/Summer 2014 campaign.

“Hollywood’s brightest new stars take on the many facets of the Miu Miu femininity in a series of portraits by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

 

Elle Fanning (Somewhere, Super 8), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Macy May Marlene) reinterpret the Spring/Summer 2014 collection – a play on classic archetypes of fashion – through their individual style language.”