Femininity and Being a “Girly Girl”

I don’t think there’s a single girl who didn’t hate being deemed a “girly girl” while they were at school. There was always a negative association; the girls who didn’t have any fun because they were too worried about getting mud on their shoes or liked the colour pink too much. The truth is though, you were deemed a girly girl if you liked anything that could even vaguely be associated with femininity and everyone always liked the “tom boys” better.

They were smarter, more hard working, liked doing all the of fun stuff and were pretty for not liking to wear makeup, or so the stereotype would say. It just goes to show why Feminism is still needed today as somehow we still can’t seem to disassociate anything girly and pretty from vain and shallow.

I would have argued with you until the cows came home if you tried to call me a girly girl in my early to mid teens. I hated it. I made jokes at the expense of people who enjoyed makeup and pink and all things pretty and I wanted boys to see me as smart and easy going and not someone who obsessed over their appearance. I got good grades and had a rep for being the smart shy one, I wasn’t particularly confident in my appearance and so through jealousy and default continued to tell myself that the smartest, kindest and better girls in the movies were always the ones that weren’t into all the pretty stuff.

But things have changed now. Now, I LOVE all things pretty. I love wearing makeup and having my nails done (even if I could use more practice at it), I love pretty feminine clothes and colours. I love my little height, and my dainty hands and feet and I love that people associate me with soft, warm colours and fabrics. I present myself in a very feminine way and I feel most myself this way.

That being said,  I am in no way “small” in way of personality and position. I also love books and writing and learning new things. I’m working towards a degree. I also love cartoons and QI and sarcastic British comedy. The point? I’m complex and I’m more than just a girly girl. So is any girl or woman that’s ever been deemed as much.

Now I associate femininity with a specific kind of strength. One that I admire to an equivalent extent as every other kind of strength a woman has. Every time someone calls me a girly girl, which believe it or not I still get on occasion, I fight an internal battle and have to take pause in order to stop myself from jumping to my own defense and denying the title. I force myself to remember that it’s only an insult if I take it as one, and if I do, I’m only giving it a power and connotation that it shouldn’t have.



My Love/ Hate Relationship with the Word Aesthetic

Aesthetic is a world that I feel like we’re all becoming a bit obsessed with but before I go into why I both love and hate this phenomenon I’m going to be clear of the type of aesthetic definition that I’m talking about.

adjective: aesthetic; adjective: esthetic
  1. 1.
    concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.
    “the pictures give great aesthetic pleasure”
    • giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty.
      “the law applies to both functional and aesthetic objects”
noun: aesthetic; plural noun: aesthetics; noun: esthetic; plural noun: esthetics
  1. 1.
    a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.
    “the Cubist aesthetic”

So when I’m talking about the idea of aesthetic I’m talking about the concern we have with things that are pleasing to the eye and the way in which we group together things to make a specific “aesthetic” eg. someones personal style might be described as their aesthetic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole concept recently as I’ve realised that I’m becoming increasingly concerned with defining my own personal aesthetic. People have told me that my aesthetic can be described as cosy. I apparently gravitate towards warm simple colours and soft fabrics and that layers are often part of my look. But not only have people used this word to describe my look and my space, but to describe me. I’m quite warm in my approach to others, I can be very shy and even when I know someone well I’m much more comfortable talking about them than myself. I tend to occupy very little space when I sit and walk and have a tendency to cross my arms or snuggle into my clothing or fold myself into a chair. I thought about this for a while and realised that while it was true, and while it was also a very kind and generous description of who I am and how I look, I was both flattered and frustrated by being defined as one thing. The thought of having one single “aesthetic” that can be used to sum me up was daunting and suddenly I felt reduced and restricted to one thing.

I started to resist buying clothing and other things that I liked simply because it was outside of what I’d begun to consider my aesthetic, identified by the people around me. I started trying to fit into a label. And then I realised the problem with the word aesthetic, or at least how we use it today. It’s just another label. Another way of defining people and things. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need that and sometimes that’s what’s great about it. I love the idea that people get a cosy vibe when I’m around and that in some way how I dress and how I decorate reflects who I am. I love that that’s a way people think of defining me and  In many ways I’ve always believed that the goal of fashion is to project who you are on the inside on the out.

The problem then is that no one is just one thing. I am indeed a warm and cosy person, but sometimes I want to feel empowered and bold. Sometimes I like the grungy look and sometimes black and white, seemingly cold colours, are what reach for. I think the important thing to remember is that defining someones aesthetic doesn’t mean restricting them to one concept or idea. Whether their fashion sense be hipster or grungy or alternative or whatever, people are more complicated by a defining word and maybe their defining word is not cosy or alternative but just their name. Maybe their aesthetic can only be described as them, making sense?

I was reluctant to choose the new colours for the blog because I’ve always wanted this space to feel cosy and I realise that black and white don’t always achieve this feeling. I had the same issue when it came to decorating my new room. But then I decided that the part that makes both fit my aesthetic is me. I am the cosy and hopefully warm person and that should come through in any space that I create because that’s who I am. I’m not the cosy aesthetic, you know, the cosy feelings people associate with my look are the Leigh-Ann aesthetic.

I’ve decided recently that I really like having a cosy but clean feel. I like block colours and cushions and fairy lights and stationary galore! But I’m a neat freak and I can’t stand clutter and in the Leigh-Ann aesthetic those things work just fine together.

I’m all for aesthetic. I love beautiful things. I am not however for restriction of creativity and unwanted labels so I’m making it my personal mission to make sure I remember that I can appreciate someone’s aesthetic and my own without thinking anything outside of that is any less beautiful.