Sunday, 17 October 2010

Man, I feel like a woman!

So, as promised, today I'm tackling the issue of femininity, and what it means for me. Growing up, especially in my teenage years, I didn't feel feminine at all. When I was younger, I opted for cars instead of barbie dolls. The choices I made and my overall attitude and appearance would even induce the word "tomboy". My Dad even nicknamed me "his little lad". I didn't seem to be hard-wired in the same way as all the other girls were.

((Of course, now, I realise that was partly due to the fact that I hadn't been diagnosed, and thyroid hormones interact with female/male sex hormones in the body, so I may have had some sort of chemical imbalance. I've recently had my sex hormones tested, and all is fine Alhamdulillah.))

But, even now, post diagnosis, at 19, I don't feel fully feminine. I might wear make-up now, I might have pretty dresses, but does that make me feminine? And this got me thinking, surely how feminine we feel as individual women must only lie with our own perceptions of what the word feminine means to us. The major thing that has been fairly constant throughout my life is my weight. I've always been "overweight." And many overweight women in society tend to feel, dress and therefore portray themselves as "less feminine" than other women.

Is this woman:

 less or more feminine than this one?

The point Im trying to reiterate, is the fact that it's all down to our own perceptions. Myself included, and many other overweight women are putting themselves down as we don't look like the magazines, we're not the right height or weight, we're not thin and elegant etc.. the list is exhausting.

Back to the femininity issue, it's hard being overweight and feeling feminine at all. You tend to feel clumsy and frumpy, quite the oposite of elegant and graceful. One thing we should remember is that the magazines are highly airbrushed and edited, and none of the bodies printed on their glossy pages are actually achievable (since they're computer edited images.)

Another reason I don't feel feminine is due to my feet. I have pretty wide feet, and I'm off the scale with a width measurement of F. I also have to wear insoles in my shoes, as I have flat feet. This restricts my footwear choice massively, due to the insoles Im only supposed to wear lacey shoes. And my choice of shoes for 3+ years now have been trainers. Im not even allowed canvas pumps. So you can imagine me walking down the street with a dress and trainers on. Most days I dont mind, in fact I don't care, but I realise it's having a massive impact on how "feminine" I feel. I don't wear skirts anymore due to the fact that I think trainers and skirt just look completely wrong. I'm still on the hunt for a good pair of wide fit shoes, and if Im lucky, boots. Most companies I've come across assume that the wider your foot the bigger it must be. In my case, my feet are tiny but wide. Therefore, my UK size is 3.5 F.

It's amazing how shoes can massively impact on your femininity and overall self-esteem. This is the last point I want to make. Since we've established femininity and overall "perfection" is something percieved by ourselves, why are we so quick to look in the mirror and point out our imperfections?

We're in control of our own lives, our own self-esteem, our feelings & emotions, as we create the perceptions we have of ourselves. InshaAllah I'm almost there myself, but it's time we looked in the mirror with confidence, with acceptance of who we are, and uttered the words "I am who I am." We are the ones who have the power to change ourselves, whether it be lose weight, whether it be work on our character, our skills, but first, we must accept ourselves for who we really are.

** I do realise this post digressed much from the inital topic, but I felt that everything I said was interrelated to femininity. Here are some songs that spring to mind: 


Ashi said...

this is such an honest and thought provoking post <3

you're right, we should just accept who we are. only then can we eradicate the flaws. be happy who you are. i think i need to do abit more of that too =)

[[[ x Smiley x ]]] said...

I loved this post, your honesty is so refreshing :)
I totally agree with you on the last paragraph, the thing is our image of perfect and beautiful, [thanks to the media] is messed.
We just need to learn to accept ourselves and be happy!
Stay smiling! :)

Under Urooba's Umbrella! said...

I completely agree with you!
This post was incredible and wonderfully thought-provoking!
Yeah, the media sucks sometimes lol, it can be sooo manipulative.
But YOU are beautiful and may you always stay happy insha'allah! :D

Muslim Girl said...

This is such an important subject for women. I think everyone has insecurities no matter where they lie on the weighing scale, so no girl should ever feel like she is alone.

The strength it takes to accept your beauty and flaws as a part of you only makes you more beautiful!

Fatimah said...

I really enjoyed reading this post :)

I agree with you, people spend far too much time being caught up in their imperfections, when in fact everyone is beautiful in their own way (as cheesy as that sounds) :D

Alia said...

I grew up exactly the same way, feeling manish and wide and unfeminine. Heck, I had 3 younger brothers and no sisters, so that certainly didn't help either. I wore jeans, mens plaid shirts, and work boots until I was 21. Looking at me now, no one would believe we are the same person. But the truth is, all the femininity I feel now came from inside me. The clothes, make-up, accessories, everything physical came after I discovered it in my soul and my spirit. Choosing feminine clothes and having the body language etc all became choices I felt natural making, not something I put on in order to convince myself.
You'll get there. Don't give up and don't let other people's perception of you hurt your self-esteem. It takes time and life changes to get to where you are going. It took me almost 10 years.
I also think a lot of how we feel about ourselves is cultural. Moving to another country taught me that while the way society views women varies drastically from culture to culture, the insecurities of women is universal. No woman is ever alone in her feelings and it's brave to reach out.

Anonymous said...

Omg I loved this post too! Couldn't agree more, our imperfections makes us human and keeps our feet on the ground, so let's just embrace them! :)

Anonymous said...

Salam Alaikum sister,

I can connect to this post personally. I'm only 150cm. Very very short for a adult woman.
Many of my students are taller than me. Even if I wear highheels, they only torture my feet but never cover my weakness.
SO many fashion input, like vertical lining clothes, where yhr pockets should be, no wide printed textile and many more only stressed me up every single day.

My skin is too sensitive, i can only use baby products 9even for shampoo, i use baby shampoo!!). My eyesbrows is too little (and i cant use make ups!).

If I list everything, i will dislike myself.

But a motivator on TV once said (his name is Mario Teguh, may Allah bless him),
He said,
Allah Loves us not because we are perfect.
But because we surrender ourselves along with all our weaknesses,
Only ALlah,
who has the ability to Love us,
with every inches our weaknesses.

Narrated by Abu Huraira :
"Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds." (Muslim)

I now wear anything I want based on sharia standards. No more guidelines on fashion for hobbits *lol*