Feminism has gone overboard. People claim cheating is feminism, women are encouraged to be the toxic one in the relationship, and we are even warned against dating male feminists. The current waves of feminism are so beyond the original motives of feminism—legal equality between men and women—that it is insulting to call them by the same name. The media even had a contest to try and rebrand feminism because they believe it is “burdened with complications and negativity”.
Femininity has lost its virtue. Feminism has made womanhood a product to be sold in place of femininity, especially catalyzed by the rise of social media. On Instagram, we have moved from the perfectly posed shots of Alexis Ren-esque Tumblr girls to the candid photo dumps of Victoria Paris. When girls moved from copying the former to the latter, it encouraged them to embrace their carefree imperfections—which we are too scared to admit only works if you’re actually attractive. It has created the curated aesthetic of effortlessness, but instead of effortless beauty, we are gifted with effortless mediocrity. This is only acceptable because women no longer seek the ideals of femininity like beauty. Instead, we seek to be strong independent women, who don't need to be beautiful to be womanly.
Society is rejecting feminists more and more. 42% of Americans find feminism to be a negative trait in potential partners. Women prefer when men are somewhat sexist. There are many stereotypes about feminists being “ugly, boring and angry,” and while these are not necessarily sound observations, there is some basis. Feminism encourages women to choose to be poorly maintained and reject social conventions in order to show that they are exercising all their feminist rights. The blue-haired feminist is a ubiquitous image of feminism. But these choices have greater downstream effects in society.
By any measurable outcome, whether economic or social, women with feminine traits do better. On average, women who are more attractive make more money than unattractive women. Interestingly, this difference is not entirely natural, evidence shows that “most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed.” There is also a political aspect to this: liberals are more feminist than conservatives and conservatives are the ones who value feminine traits more. It is these same liberal women who are less likely to be married and tend to be uglier. Being single and ugly are both negatively correlated with income and happiness.
We need to revive femininity—in women, not in men. Feminism has made women more like men by removing their biological clock with corporate-sponsored egg freezing programs, making couples split the bill on first dates, and pretending that women are as strong as men. It is not about uplifting feminine women, feminism has actually made women more masculine in measurable ways. Instead, men are the ones becoming more feminine.
Part of the reason for the shortage of femininity is that many women have lost the distinction between femininity and internalized misogyny. Feminists have taught women to think that viewing men as better than women in any aspect is internalized misogyny. However, there are many studies proving that women are simply inferior to men in physical ability (especially soccer). Intellectually, this holds too: when women are more empowered in society, they actually want to study STEM less. It is not misogynistic to acknowledge these differences. We can uphold feminine ideals while allowing that many women are exceptions to these generalizations.
At a recent Review meeting, someone said that she felt like she “needed to put in effort to be a woman,” since the most common female environments condemn femininity and embrace feminism. At Stanford, this is extremely true. It is hard to find women who strike this balance of femininity, not feminism, because we are told that this is not what the modern woman should be. We need to teach young women to embrace their femininity again.