11 May 2008

Femininity - the lost ideal

It fascinates me to look at old photos from, say fifty or sixty years ago and witness how much more, ahem, feminine the women seemed to be.

They didn't try to imitate men in their dress, habits, or filthiness. They instead dressed to the nines, made themselves up very attractively, and went out into the world with grace and dignity.

I know, as you read these words some of you are already saying "Male chauvinist pig!", right? So sue me, I'm a traditionalist. I think in the rush to 'gender equality' today we have lost something incredibly important - you know, the fundamental differences that separate the sexes, that which makes women so mysterious to men (and vice versa).

I do not believe that women should stick to the home and be barefoot and pregnant all the time. Au contraire, I believe that women are at their best when they are out in the world employing their many talents and skills for productive use. Women's brains operate differently (if you don't think so, you're an ideologue, this has been scientifically proven) and indeed complement the thought processes of a man.

After all, isn't that why men and women can wind up so compatible in, say, a married relationship?

The past, in fact, gives us many examples of women who made contributions to the world, all while preserving the essence of their femininity - that is, who they are. There should not have to be a sacrifice of one's womanhood to be regarded as a competent social equal.

The nurses of the 1940s-60s (before the nursing profession turned to those wretchedly ugly and decidedly unfeminine scrubs) managed to save lives and perform their jobs admirably - and they appeared decidedly feminine at all times.

Remember stewardesses? Oh, they're kind of sort of still around, but they're called flight attendants now; they come in all shapes and sizes, and can even be male. Yes, anyone of a certain generation remembers stewardesses, those young, attractive, well-dressed, and unfailingly polite ladies who used to make our flying experience much more pleasant. It didn't hurt that they were easy on the eyes.

I wonder why so many airlines are hemorrhaging cash today? Airline bankruptcies seemed to become endemic around the time the airlines decided to end the practice of exclusively employing good-looking young women as cabin staff and opened those positions to anyone and everyone.

Might there be a connection? Who knows. Maybe. All I can say is, since about 1980 or so I have no longer enjoyed travel by air. I'll take the freeway from now on, thank you. At least I might be able to catch an attractive waitress down by the Waffle House during my travels.

What I am saying is that there need not be a contradiction in terms between doing your job well and being an attractive woman. I know this sounds sexist, but guess what? Sex sells. In our increasingly litigious society this has completely been erased - sexual harassment laws and all that, you know. But government and the legal profession can't cancel out nature, can't change it or bend it to their will. You can attempt to suppress reality, but in the end it ain't gonna wash.

There is nothing wrong about a girl showing off some of her stuff (in a modest fashion, thank you). I guess everyone agrees with this assessment nowadays. But selling your product in similar fashion, and having a little fun in the process, is no more abominable. I'm not saying to go to extremes, by any means - this is the problem today: either we must be sexless or we must let it all hang out. Ridiculous. Everything in moderation, please.

As it is, I would rather stare at a pretty nurse while I am sick than an old fat woman, or worse, a gay man. Hell, it might just help me to heal faster.