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So what IS feminine? What does it look like? Can you learn how to be feminine?

feminine

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS feminine?

What does being feminine look like? Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t. There are so many misperceptions about what the word feminine actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Feminine = Weak?

So let’s start with weakness.  Feminine has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Feminine = Submission?

Another common misperception is that being feminine involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Feminine = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that being feminine is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Feminine look like?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Being feminine is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as being feminine looks slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Being feminine is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of being feminine and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Being feminine is about remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our feminine nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of feminine.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of being feminine?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x

our survey said

Our survey said…

our survey saidWhen I started writing this post, I was wishing that there was a way that I could add sound effects easily into my blog so they played when the reader gets to the relevant part of the text. Ever since I began talking about surveys, I’ve had the family fortunes style “Ding!” and “Uh Ergh!” (questionable spelling, I know) sound effects in my head.

Cue brainwave.

As I’ve been going through compiling the results I decided to have a bit of fun by adding in the sound effects at the relevant parts…so whenever you see the arrow after “Our survey said…”, click on it to hear the results!

I have to say that I was absolutely delighted with the results of the survey. You ladies are clearly some very smart cookies 😉

So I started off by asking whether you would describe yourself as feminine.

Our Survey Said… [audio:http://feminine1st.com/wp-content/uploads/ff-ding.mp3|titles=ff-ding] …a whopping 90% of you fell into the “agree” side of the balance. Fantastic!

In addition I asked if you feel that you understand exactly what “being feminine” means and Our Survey said…  [audio:http://feminine1st.com/wp-content/uploads/ff-ding.mp3|titles=ff-ding] …90% of you feel that you know exactly what being feminine means. Way to go! 🙂

I received way too many responses to be able to share everyone’s definitions of “Being Feminine”, but I wanted to share just a couple of them with you as I think these ladies really hit the mark:

To me, femininity is really about being comfortable in your own skin, being yourself completely and honestly, not feeling like you have to act in ways that mimic the workplace culture in order to get ahead, but believing you can succeed and then succeeding because of all the qualities YOU bring to any given situation: from your strength to your sensitivity and everything in between.

I always thought that being feminine meant wearing skirts and dresses, having perfect makeup and getting your hair done regularly which really isn’t me.
I am now beginning to realise that femininity isn’t about the outside so much, it’s about the inside and being true yourself.

I also wanted to share another suggestion which was shared by someone:

Someone who is actually slightly old fashioned Laura Ashley style (that might come back into vogue!), ladylike, girlie, sweet rather than a woman.

My perspective on femininity (which you can read all about here!) is that it isn’t about being old fashioned or having a particular “style”, it’s about being true to who you are on the inside and embracing everything that it is to be a woman. I would love to hear what you think about this, please leave me a comment at the bottom of this post to share your thoughts.

What was really interesting about this was that although 90% of you described yourself as feminine, when I asked if you believe that you are perceived as feminine by other people only 81% believed that other people perceived you that way.  It’s very interesting how we can be aware that who we are on the inside and how we’re perceived on the outside aren’t always the same thing.

So, I then asked if you would like to be perceived as more feminine by other people…Our Survey said…[audio:http://feminine1st.com/wp-content/uploads/ff-ding.mp3|titles=ff-ding]…even though 90% of you describe yourself as feminine and 81% of you believe that other people perceive you that way, the majority of you would still like to be perceived as more feminine by other people…and I guess that’s why we’re all here! 🙂  What I found interesting was that both ladies who described themselves as feminine and those who didn’t would like to be seen as more feminine by others, so we’ve got a fabulous mixture of people sharing this journey together!

I asked you if you believed that Femininity = Weak and Our survey said… [audio:http://feminine1st.com/wp-content/uploads/ff-ehurgh.mp3|titles=ff-ehurgh]…a resounding “NO” with 95% of you disagreeing with this statement.  Brilliant. 😀

So then we had the topic of women in business, and I asked if you believed that a feminine woman can be successful in business.  Our survey said…[audio:http://feminine1st.com/wp-content/uploads/ff-ding.mp3|titles=ff-ding]…100% agreed – FAB-U-LOUS.

Then we looked at areas of potential change, and it was interesting to see that there was quite an even split between the areas of life that you would like to increase your femininity.  Intimate relationships were definitely out in front with 38%, family relationships close behind with 29%, work next with 19% and finally friendships with 14%.  So I will make sure that we cover a range of life areas on the blog so that there’s something for everyone 🙂

I also asked for examples of women in the public eye that you consider to be good examples of feminine women…again there were too many responses to list but to highlight just a few (and some that appeared more than once) we had Kate Middleton (or the Duchess of Cambridge), Kate Winslet, Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, Shakira, Julia Roberts…the list went on and on!  It’s great to know that there are some strong successful women in the public eye who are leading the way for femininity.

Finally I asked which aspect of a woman affects how feminine she is the most.  There was a clear winner on this one with 76% of you saying mindset, 14% behaviour and 10% appearance.  The honest answer is that all of these areas have an impact on a woman’s femininity to a greater or lesser extent…but the mindset tends to be the driver for both the behaviour and the appearance (if you have the mindset of a masculine man it’s unlikely that you will behave or style yourself in a particularly feminine way!)  Femininity comes from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

…and as for what information you would like from the Feminine 1st blog…it seems like the answer is a bit of everything when it comes to femininity! 😀  There have been requests for information on femininity in business, in relationships, exercises, examples, inspiring stories, practical tips, help with confidence, what femininity is, how to increase femininity…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Well, you’ve asked…and I’ll answer.  We’re going to have a lot of fun! 🙂

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

 

The $64,000 Question…What IS Femininity?

female symbol

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS femininity?

Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t, there are so many misperceptions about what the word femininity actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Femininity = Weakness?

So let’s start with weakness.  Femininity has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Femininity = Submissive?

Another common misperception is that it involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Femininity = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that femininity is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Femininity equate to?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Femininity is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as femininity is slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Femininity is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of femininity and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of femininity.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of femininity?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x

Behind the Scenes…

Well, what a week it’s been!

The first thing that I would like to say is a massive “Thank You” to each and every one of you for the overwhelming support I’ve received from across the globe since the website launched. I have been truly humbled by the kind words that you have sent, I am delighted that this content is touching the hearts of so many women and I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you. There have been many happy dances at this end over the last 10 days!

The second thing I wanted to update you on is that I’m busy compiling all of the results from the femininity survey…and there looks like there could be an interesting twist on the horizon…more on that later in the week…

The third thing I wanted to tell you about is something VERY exciting! Over the last week I have been busy squirreling away over my new audio programme: “The Feminine Evolution”…and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the brand new CD artwork hot off the press!

The Feminine Evolution

Big thanks to my superstar graphic designer who has done a fantastic job (as always!) – I can’t wait to see the final CDs when the first of them arrive on Friday!

So what is “The Feminine Evolution” all about? Well, in order to make sure that we can collectively make the best decisions for ourselves in the future, we first need to understand how we have got here! …and even more importantly where is “Here”?

These days, as we know, most women feel they need to have superhuman powers (no capes darling!) just to cope with the multitude of roles and responsibilities in their life. In order to manage it all, we have fractured ourselves into lots of tiny parts, each of them dealing with a separate aspect. The problem is that in breaking ourselves into all of these pieces we’ve ended up losing sight of our true value.

We now need to learn how to bring these fragments back together in order to be our whole-selves again and enjoy the fulfilled life that we were born to live (lots of happy dances included!)

The first step in this process is to be feminine first…and in this CD I reveal exactly what this means.

The fourth thing that I wanted to mention was something which has cropped up several times in conversation over this last week is the $64,000 question…”What exactly IS femininity?” I’ve had a great variety of answers through the survey, but several people have asked me if I will give my personal definition.

The answer is, of course! I’m working on the blog post as we speak and all will be revealed later this week…

The last thing that I wanted to mention (but by no means the least!) is that I have some EXTREMELY exciting news which I will be revealing on here tomorrow…so stay tuned…there’s some real fun lurking just around the corner…I can’t wait!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x