Walking the Fine Line

I hate patriarchy. But I like men who are not patriarchs. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
I’m a feminist but I like being both female and feminine. That makes sense to me too, although I occasionally run into people — mostly of my generation — who find that confusing.
I think about these things today because Frank Paynter left me a compliment to my “femininity” under the photo I left on my old blog site. And believe, me, I am complimented. At my age, I’ll take all those kinds of compliments I can get.
I remember my former boss (female, two years older than I) having a conversation about how different our attitudes are about accepting compliments from our male colleagues (i.e. “nice dress” or “hey, you got your hair cut; it looks great…”) as we get older. Of course, our whole unit was relaxed and collegial, so we were as apt to compliment the guys’ new ties or new hair cuts as well. But I know that in my younger, more radically feminist days, I was very sensitive to anything that smacked of condescension or trivialization — that I interpreted as detracting from my professionalism. Heh. How times have changed.
And they’ve changed not just for me as I move out of my prime (but, hey, there’s still a dance it the ol’ dame yet, don’t forget). I get to know younger women like Halley and Jeneane and Shelley and Denise and Andrea and Anita (and lots of my other Blog Sisters) and see strong, sexy, confident, professional, savvy women who blend being feminine and feminist with ease and humor. As I still sometimes struggle to walk my fine line between feminine and feminist, I recognize that’s it’s a line drawn by the times and the situations that shaped my definition of who I am. (Just another example of why I was born too early.)
I also recognize that, in creating a blog-identity as a “crone,” I conjured up an image of myself that’s true only in spirit.
So, thanks, Frank. You made my day. Hell, you made my whole week!

2 thoughts on “Walking the Fine Line

  1. You are certainly welcome. This issue of whether or not and when it is appropriate to compliment someone, and how the compliment should be phrased to please but not threaten is near the center of the net of dynamic sexual tension that keeps the patriarchy alive and humping.
    Part of the problem may be relate to boundaries, where we set them and why, and the fear that people have of others who venture too close or within those boundaries uninvited. But what do I know, I a slavering MCP!
    And that is a pretty picture of you on the old site!

  2. You’re right about boundaries. We have different ones for different people, depending on how comfortable we are with them and their style of communicating. Your interview style is certainly pretty boundless, and I’m not a terribly private person, so there was a pretty good comfort level established. And also a level of trust. And if I ever get the sense that you’re really being an MCP, I’m gonna smack ya’ upside the head good.

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