Friday, August 15, 2008


(Note: this post relates to the topic of feminity in females. I have not discussed the issue of feminity in men. Suffice it to say that femininity in men is often considered to be negative due to its contradiction of traditional roles. Homosexual men are believed to be very effeminate, although this is not always the case.)

What does it mean to be referred to as a “姑娘”? The word “feminine” normally refers to qualities positively associated with women or girls, eg. womanlike or womanly. Such features include gentleness, patience, kindness, nurturing, life-giving qualities, creativity and an openness to those around.

For some people, feminity refers to feminine physical attributes such as baby smooth skin, big eyes, small noses, chins, long eye-lashes, high-pitched voice and buxomy.

Some women have gone to extremes in order to meet the high standards of society of what is considered feminine. Some examples are:-

(1) Cleavage – To enhance their feminity, many women try to emphasize their cleavage by wearing brassieres that push the bust upwards and together. Special pads and inserts in the brassiere can also be used to aid in the positioning of the bust higher. However, despite the increasing popularity of what is now known as “push-up bras”, there have been recent concerns that prolonged wearing of brassieres that contain underwire may be a cause of breast cancer.

(2) Foot binding – For centuries in China, foot binding produced unnaturally small and deformed feet, where toes often rotted due to lack of circulation. Till today, small feet are still considered attractive and one often hears the term “Cinderella feet” being used when referring to a female with small-sized feet.

(3) Corsets – In the old days, women in the western countries wore corsets that restricted their movement and caused a variety of health problems, including shortness of breath, malformed organs and difficulty in labour. Nowadays, whilst it is not popular to wear corsets, brides are still encouraged to wear corsets in order to emphasize their hourglass figure and to look gorgeous in their wedding gowns.

(4) High heels – Ah! Which woman can live without high-heeled shoes? Even for women who are a little on the heavy side and for whom wearing 4-inch stilletto heels would be tantamount to suicide, one cannot resist wearing shoes with at least 1 ½ to 2 inch heels. The discomfort commonly associated with high-heeled shoes is endured for the visual effect of elongated legs. Some models and movie stars have been rumoured to insure their long legs.

(5) Eating disorders – Some women restrict their food intake in an effort to become and remain thin. In extreme cases, this can lead to eating disorders (eg. anorexia or bulimia). The fashion and entertainment industries have often been blamed for promoting underweight, unrealistic and unhealthy ideals of feminine beauty. Do you not remember Twiggy and Kate Moss?

(6) Neck rings - In parts of Africa and Asia, neck rings signify femininity. However, prolonged wearing of neck rings can, in rare cases, leave their wearers crippled.

Why should a female be feminine? It is commonly believed that females should be feminine and a feminine woman is more likely to attract guys and get married. Naturally, this is all very stereotypical as I know of females who are rather tomboyish and yet have been able to find marital bliss. However, since I have been tasked to blog about how to be more feminine, do allow me to be stereotypical and promote my 姑娘学院.

Here are some tongue-in-cheek tips you may like to take note of to assist you in your quest to be more feminine (warning: Follow these tips at your own risk! As in all tips, you may sometimes have to adapt to suit your situation):-

(1) Take care of your hair and make sure it looks silky and smells good. Other than shampooing your hair, it would be advisable to use conditioner as well. Choosing shampoo and conditioner that smells good on its own would ensure that your hair smells just as nice after you have washed your hair. Regular haircuts will keep your hair healthy and allow it to grow faster. Long hair is known to be feminine (I personally have never fancied short hair as I look atrocious with short hair!). Practice good hygiene and in particular, please remember to wash your hands after using the toilet.

(2) Keep make-up minimal. I once read an issue of Archie comics where Archie complained that Veronica spent a lot of money and applied a lot of make-up in order to look natural. It was so ironic! Mascara, eye shadow and lip-gloss/lipstick will make you look great. However, if we were to apply more than that, it is only a matter of time before our skin suffers, which will put you in a vicious cycle of having to put more and more make-up on in order to hide the pimples, etc. Natural beauty is always the best.

(3) Dress in what makes you happy, but make sure you present yourself in a positive light. If, for example, you have what are commonly known as “thunder thighs”, I would recommend that you wear skirts that are A-line or dresses that have “princess cut”. In fact, I would encourage you to get rid of your work pants in favour of dresses and flowing skirts. Naturally, the most appropriate pair of shoes to match would be sling-back shoes.

(4) Present an image of someone who is quiet and happy. Let your inner charm shine and show your sense of humour. Guys love it when you laugh at their jokes (even when the jokes are either not very funny or you have heard the jokes a million times already). Make sure that you have a well-rounded personality.

(5) Behave in a confident manner. Watch how you move, smile, walk and talk. Know that you are wonderful and the Lord’s beloved and do not be bothered by negative comments from others as such comments are likely to stem from jealousy. Remember that it is not possible for everyone to love you. There will always be someone who is unable to tolerate the sight of your face. If, however, someone pays you a compliment, be gracious and say “thank you” instead of the traditional “no, lah.... don’t say this.... pai seh....”.

(6) Wax your underarms. There is nothing more unsightly than underarms that are full of hair. You can shave the hair if you prefer. However, hair that has been shaved tend to grow back coarser and thicker.

(7) Try not to use profanities and do not make it a point to increase your knowledge of profanities. Less awareness is better in this case. A good naughty joke or exclamation (such as “goodness me!”) when you stub your toe or when you receive shocking news is acceptable, but regularly peppering your conversation with swear words makes you look un-姑娘.

(8) Be aware of your posture. Good posture makes you look more alert, confident and approachable. (Oops! I have just caught myself slouching as I am typing this post!)

(9) Be aware of how you carry yourself. Practice walking with grace and taking small steps when you walk. There are enough elephants at the zoo without us adding to the tally.

(10) Improve yourself by attending courses or furthering your studies. When you play down your intelligence, as you grow older you are affecting your own career.

(11) Know when to “act helples” (ie. behave like a damsel in distress). You need to know who you are acting helpless in front of. This does not work on every guy. There are some guys who cannot help but want to “act the hero” in front of a helpless girls. There are other guys who simply will not take the hint. When you have found the correct target audience, you need to get the right attitude, that is, even if the facts are against you, you must maintain that you are right and let your knight in shining armour know your side of the story, the only one that was right in the whole situation.

Have fun!

(1) Wikipedia
(2) WikiHow
(3) 姑娘学院秘秘书本


wesirelander said...

HAHAHA!!! How about Brazilian you think is a good idea?

If natural beauty is the best, then how come I still see you touching up your make up after lunch? (that's not minimal makeup) tsk tsk tsk...soon i'll see cracks on ur face ah...

"act helples"? erm...nice one here!

I like suggestion (7) but is good to have a certain amount of knowledge on this topic. Or else can you imagine if some idiot on the streets start scolding you & you smile at him/her like an idiot? You do not need to return the favour. But at least you can tell him/her the consequences of swearing in public....

A very well-researched topic. Keep It up...Can you blog abt "feminity found in guys"?

wesirelander said...

Oh! I almost forgot. Another topic for your research- The Art of Whining and Whine Appreciation

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