Gleaned from 'Smatterings' more than ten years old




SoTe's response to our comments accompanying an earlier Update:
(We are so far been unable to locate the earlier Update)

"We have been told that to be 'sexy' means to be naked.  To be sensual is out of vogue.  Vulgar is sensual.  To be feminine is to be something that is way out of line.  To be hard and raw is to be a good woman.  To wear things like that is to be soft and feminine and hence bad news, to say nothing about being awkward and uncomfortable.  To be comfortable is to be totally desired and ignore what others think or feel.  As a result, not acceptable.  This is what a lot of ladies believe and as a result, the styles that would engender the good stuff out of us guys doesn't happen.  Also, to tell a lady that she is wearing a pretty outfit is 'sexual harassment.'  And now, as a result, the vast majority of gents, myself included, won't say a word.  So there is no impetus to wear the pretty outfits, so, sadly, the styles just aren't going to catch on.

 There is my take for whatever it is worth. Believe me, what I have said above is not how I personally feel.  But it is what my impression of how women think today.  I sincerely hope that I am wrong!"


"Yes, it is a shame, but you are absolutely correct.  However, what you didn't say is that it is ultimately MEN'S fault -- for years, men have engraved that concept into women's heads, and now the 'chickens have come home to roost.'
Furthermore, for many women, 'feminine' has come to mean 'helpless.'  What they do not realize is that one can LOOK helpless without being so.  The whole concept appeals to men's libidos."

[SoTe interjects:] You have said a very great truth. Women can look soft and vulnerable, while being incredibly strong.  In this respect, a really "sexy" woman, using all the skills and clothes that are available to her can be a lot like a cat.  She can look soft, sweet, and very pretty, with the qualities of femininity which will 'turn on' a man in some very good ways for the lady (opening doors, treating with considerable, and deserved, respect) while, again like the cat who has teeth and claws, be anything but vulnerable.  But it is the appearance rather than the fact that counts.  <Smile>

"Not so sure about your last point -- I, personally compliment ladies all the time, and they love it.  But maybe that is because I am distinguished looking and 60, and (do not present a threat?).  Perhaps they view me as a father figure. <g>.

Further comments from others (vistors, admirers and GGs) are welcome."






In response to the little discussion on the 19 Sep Update, Julie (GG) writes:

"I enjoyed your collective thoughts relating to women and feminine appearances and the causes and/or effects of femininity on men.  Firstly, one aspect you ignored is personal choice, and that women are now empowered to choose how they dress, rather than having to conform to any male-dominated stereotype.  Having said that, when I choose sometimes to dress, and smell, and apply make-up in the most extremely feminine way I can think of.  OK, I am slightly different perhaps to some of the other girlies featured on your site, as I dress in pettis for work on stage rather than day-to-day life. However, even in the theatrical settings that I dress up for, the effect I have on men (and some women as well!!) is very evident.  I do attract a lot of attention and I am treated a lot more differently.  Doors are opened and faces are flushed when I walk by – and I love it!!  It may turn them on but it also turns me on in the process.

As for general wear, then I think that fashion is a cyclical phenomenon and that there are times when the highly feminine appearance is ‘in vogue’.  So give it time and I am sure that there will be another period for the petti fan (weren’t tutus supposed to be “in” this year?).  I know that a lot of material for this site comes from the 1950s but I bought my first frilly petti in the late 1980s during the “new romantic” period to go with my ruffled polka dot ra-ra skirt – and I also had HUGE hair at the time and used to wear far too much make-up.  And that was normal day wear, not the stage.

At the end of the day, there are just some women who love to feel and dress feminine and just love the attention it brings.  I am more than happy to play the helpless woman when dressed up and just love all the complements."

Here is a picture of Julie!          CLICK TO ENLARGE        



In response to the little discussion on the 19 Sep Update, UniKaren writes:

"I find it particularly interesting that in a family of more than one girl, there is usually one who is tomboyish and athletic, and one who is 'girly girly'.  In my family, my sister is the athletic one.  I am the other.  I think we're just born that way, and it is often without consciousness that we dress one way or the other.  My sister puts on sweats & sneakers and is prepared to go for a run on a moment's notice, and I put on a frilly skirt and put my hair & makeup on and am ready to go anywhere in public on a moment's notice.  She throws her hair into a ponytail to get it out of the way, I put mine into a twist with a frilly bow to get it out of the way.  It's amusing to watch us get ready for our day. Our husbands laugh at how different we are!
In the last couple of years I've become more aware of my femininity by virtue of the fact that my customer base consists largely of crossdressers.  One male in particular, who is trying to pass as a woman full time prior to his surgery, kept saying to me, "You're so lucky to be a girl.'  And I realized that I really AM lucky to be a girl.  Given what a male has to go through to become one made me all that much more appreciative of what God gave me. 
And therefore I treasure it. 
Femininity is three things ... it's how you feel, it's how you act, and it's how you dress.  One is not exclusive of the other, for femininity envelops all three and when a woman has all three -- that is what makes her feminine, and sexy.   THOSE are the women who get doors opened for them, who beget a smile from a stranger.  A woman does not have to be weak & vulnerable to be treated like a lady.  I think the opposite is true. I think if a woman is sexy and feminine, yet strong and confident, THAT is what will make her attractive to a man. 
I absolutely love getting dressed up in my ballroom gowns with my gold & silver dance shoes, or getting ready for a square dance, with a petticoat & pettipants, etc.  But I also love just putting on a pair of summer sandals and a chiffon skirt with a flimsy top.  I enjoy dressing up for the auction photos, but I don't dress like that all the time (contrary to what some of my customers think!). 
I wish the day had never come when girls were allowed to wear slacks.  I think what makes us (women) different from men is that we can wear pretty things ... ribbons, petticoats, bows, nylons, buckle shoes, skirts and dresses, pinks and yellows, ruffles and frills.  And I think it's a shame that our society has lost sight of that.  Girls are wearing low-rise jeans with big belt buckles, and showing their midriff, and they think that is sexy.  Well, it's not to me.  If I want to feel sexy, I put on a skirt with hose & heels.  You don't have to show cleavage, or your belly... you can be completely covered... it will be how you feel and how you act that will define your femininity."






In response to the little discussion on the 19 Sep Update,
 Larry, a fashion photographer, presents his point of view: 

"My model, Ani, Pronounced 'Anna', showed up 20 minutes late. That's early in my business. She had her modeling bag with her and she was wearing dirty hip hugger jeans and the most hideous top I've ever seen. We got down to business and finished the assignment early. She asked me if I would do a TFP * to help with her book. I had the time, so I agreed. She had brought two outfits with her and I was not impressed with them but I did what I could. After we finished with what she had brought, I suggested a dress I had in the studio wardrobe. I held it up, and with a frown, she said, 'I'll look like Minnie Mouse!' I told her it was a feminine and sassy dress and it will get the attention of anyone looking at her book and that's what it's all about. She reluctantly agreed and put on the dress. It fit her perfectly. She looked at herself and something came over her. It was like seeing something she had never seen before. I have never seen a pro model react in such a way. Well we did more pictures of her in that dress then anything else. A model works best when she likes what she's wearing but she more then liked it! I don't think she wanted to take it off!
  Here we have a woman that discovered something in herself that she had been repressing. Deep down, women want to wear pretty clothes. They are the fancy sex. The problem is social. Women wear what other women wear. We all copy to a certain extent, and dressing like the people we see in movies and on TV, and like we see out in the world, is safe. Women want to be noticed, but not too noticed. Does that make sense? Fashion does cycle but right now we have hit bottom. There is no place to go but up. There has been a small improvement but it will need a big boost to get it going. Below is a picture of Ani  wearing that dress."

* A TFP agreement (trading "time for pictures") is a common practice for photographers  The photographer will take pictures of the model for free in exchange for the model working for free. The photographer can use the pictures in his or her promo portfolio, and the model can get new pictures to update her book.


"Today, I think the vast majority of younger gals have never really worn anything truly feminine and given half the chance, they love it. The problem is that they are so clueless. Most don't even yearn to wear dresses like the one that Ani wore. They wouldn't think twice about it. In the older days (not THAT long ago), young women knew what was 'sexy' and wished to dress the part. Today, the fashion is completely void of anything tasteful or feminine. I DO see that changing though. Maybe 'void' isn't fair. Gals ARE starting to at least wear skirts! The next step from there might be more in keeping with what we like. Let's keep watch and see. In the meantime, we need ladies who are brave enough to buck the tide. We need gals who aren't afraid to appear feminine."

TESSY:  "I DO see some very feminine and lacey tops which seem to be in vogue these days,
so they have an INKLING of what is feminine!"





In response to the little discussion on the 19 Sep Update, Erin writes:

"Where have we gone wrong? Women have lost their sense to look and be feminine because it meant subjugation to the wills and desires of men. Men have lost their sense to be gentlemanly in order to look macho. To do a kind gentlemanly act seems to be sissy-like in the male world. Through the popularity and activities of  professional sports events behavioral attitudes, everyone has lost the desire to act and be mannerly.

Women try to impress men by being interested is pro football, while men need not show any sensitivity by appreciating the theater or ballet or maybe even a good 'chick movie.'
The term 'sexy' does not need to mean 'to be naked;' however showing some skin could be considered sexy to some. It feels very comfortable and cool to wear a sleeveless top with those skinny spaghetti straps, but the girls have to learn to manage all those other straps too. Nothing worse looking than a girls dingy and frayed old bra straps showing over her shoulder. I haven't seen one yet that has accomplished a decent look except for the girls who are small enough to go braless.  Hey, what's wrong with going braless?  I always liked that look. I really do not wish to see all that keeps her together. At any rate, the look is far from feminine or sexy. Sloppy is more like it. Again it's all part of the choices women have - good or bad taste.

As far as a girl being soft and feminine being way out of line. I 'd rather think that, since they possess the XX chromosome, they have more elegance than we do. The girls I know are soft, feminine, very intelligent and, yes, somewhat feminists when it comes to equality with men. I think that's where the root lies. As men, we feel threatened by women in our once dominated work-world, In their strivings to become equal, they cast femininity to the wind.
Yes, as men, we have driven the styles to be 'hot' and naked. That is no reason for the gals to accommodate us. The more a girl shows us, the more we claim to like it.  However, in the process, we loose respect for her. A girl worth her womanhood does not need to bare it all to everyone. Then there is the exhibitionists among us to deal with too. I still like a little mystery in a girl's attire. It is too bad the soft flowing fabrics and styles of the 1950's could not stay forever. The female always needs something new to feel good about herself.

Over the summer I have witnessed the return of the soft full  cotton skirt. Girls look so nice and cool in them. Wish I could strut around in one <LOL>. The feminine look got lost in the 1960's and faded away by the mid 1970's. Only in formal dress, proms and wedding do you see the "poufy" look. Now a new generation of females has discovered the soft look and how it can be comfortable too. I applaud them. If they will ever embrace the petticoat look, I can't really say, but I do hope so. Fashions and styles are cyclical and the petticoat could return. My money is on the return though however I don't know when.

In our world it is often said we are women trapped in men's bodies. Ever stop to think how many women have guys trapped in them? I know some girls I wouldn't want to get into a fight with.

Being feminine and gentlemanly go hand in hand with a society that cares about each other with consideration and love. Yes, our clothes
( men and women) are an outward manifestation of those ideals. Where have we gone wrong?"






Dara weighs in on the 19 Sep Update discussion:

"The comments on this subject of femininity reminds me of a curious experience in the past.  A girlfriend once suggested that she might be open to different things, so I revealed that I liked wearing lingerie.  She reacted OK, but a week or two later surprised me when undressing to reveal that she was wearing stockings and suspenders.
She said that she had never worn them before because she had regarded them as demeaning to women.  Ironically, the fact that I was prepared to wear them myself showed that I didn't see them that way.
Looking back on this in the cold light of day, I realise that she might well have been telling me what she reckoned I wanted to hear - a bit of the 'you're not like any man I've ever been with before', but either way it was an interesting thought."





Can anyone identify
the girl in this photo,
sent by Misha?