nonfeminine

"This question is more Danielle, but with summer coming, what do you usually do for a bathing suit that isn't so 'feminine'?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says: 

omg. I literally JUST got off the phone with my dad who was suggesting I get one of those short sleeve surfer things LIKE THIS

To be honest with you all, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in YEARS. I have super fair skin and I’m never like “HEY GUYS LETS GO SWIMMING.” When I go to the beach with my friends, I’m usually sitting and snacking and we all gab about life/boys/etc, you know? So, I haven’t needed a suit. 

BUT THIS YEAR IS DIFF. I’m going on a trip with my entire family and we’re DEFINITELY going to the beach and pool and swimming and whatever and I’m literally dying inside thinking about it because NOTHING makes me more uncomfortable than a bikini. 

Is anyone out there a designer? Can you please design swimwear for the not-so-girly-girl? THANK YOU.

Kristin Says:

I know this is more of a Dannielle question but also I HAVE THOUGHTS and also DID SOME RESEARCH.

First things first: there is nothing more important than you being comfortable and feeling f*cking awesome. I know it’s always a tricky thing to put into practice, but when we feel comfortable in our own skin (slash swimwear), we just look good. Comfort always wins the day. Despite what Tyra might tell you.

Second things second: from what I gather, there are a whole ton of combinations that can happen in the swimwear world depending on what you are aiming for. There are board shorts, boy shorts, tank tops, sleeveless t-shirts, rashguards, sports bras, etcetera… which can all be combined in different ways.

Third things third: Autostraddle has done all the work for us. If you want a million different answers in the form of links, pictures, examples, and funny jokes, go over to here:

Autostraddle’s Swimsuit Issue

My concern is that there is enormous pressure on young, even slightly nonfeminine afab people in LGBT communities to disidentify from womanhood either partially or fully, because of what are pretty obviously misogynist ideas of what women are supposed to be. I’ve experienced that pressure personally and know many, many other women who either transitioned medically or socially because they felt enormous pressure to, because remaining a woman who isn’t interested in femininity is so socially unacceptable in LGBT scenes, and continuing to identify as a woman is seen as less radical, less cool, and in some cases objectively incorrect- I’ve had many people tell me I’ll identify again as something other than a woman eventually. So no, I don’t think the idea that suddenly once you’re afab and identify as not a woman anymore your whole life history should be rewritren, misogyny magically never affects you (usually the reasoning given for this is some weak claim about how -affect- determines gender objectively), and now you’re a misogynist who oppresses real women. It’s for this reason that I’m wary of politics which lump “nonwomen” as a group in somehow with literal cis men as though they have anything in common on a material basis at all. They don’t.

I think it’s hogwash and as someone who’s -been- nb and seen that nothing about my material reality changed when I slapped a new gender label on myself, I’m skeptical of those politics, refuse to reenact them, etc. And when the number of women I know who’ve been harmed by those politics, who spent years thinking they weren’t allowed to be women and are trying to cope and reconcile grows steadily over the years (and it will keep growing- these politics are too unstable, cause too much pain, for them to hold out long) I’m increasingly opposed to them. Really the idea that there’s an inherent line between us and them (and I think this is true for literally any genders- cis men aren’t somehow fated to be terrible people from birth) is really just another kind of essentialism, rooted in self concept rather than the body. You can acknowledge shared experiences, certain shared realities, without going out of your way to misgender other people who don’t see themselves the way you see yourself. I think that’s very fair.

Girls [learn] to prioritize certain rewards (male attention) over other rewards (academic accomplishment), thus limiting their future educational and occupational opportunities. If they perceive occupations relating to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as less consistent with a sexy self-image, they may be induced to want to be a model, fashion designer, or pop star in order to embody the sexualized look that they know is valued for women rather than choose to be a chemist, computer programmer, or engineer. If girls perceive what research shows—that women who choose male-identified professions are least preferred (in college samples) as romantic partners (Yoder & Schleicher, 1996)—then they will perceive some social costs to choosing careers that are not consistent with a “sexy” image. On the other hand, if girls continue along a nonfeminine career path, presenting a sexy image will also be costly and may result in being perceived as less competent ([as shown by] Glick et al., 2005).
— 

Eileen L. Zurbriggen PhD, from the 2010 Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association) p.32

Exactly. Girls are taught from a young age that their primary function is to be beautiful and appealing, obedient, follow rules, and pursue male affection. Following a male-identified career comes into conflict with this primary objective and as such is rebuffed. Not until we teach girls that this should not be their primary objective will we see statistics changing. As it is society suggests that girls in STEM except in particular applications (makeup, beauty etc.) will and should be outcasts, and in the same breath criticises women for not taking those paths, as if this treatment was not endemic.