Spoiler alert: they’re only soft on the outside.
This whole drama around how women should be softer and more feminine is starting to border on the ridiculous because this is the time in history when women are softer than they’ve ever been.
I know it doesn’t seem that way. But that’s just because the image of what women are really like is clouded by plenty of misinformation. And misinformation leads to a lot of disappointment.
Take a look at world history just a few years back.
My grandparents lived through the Second World War. Also through deportation, famine, and debilitating illness.
Both my grandfathers went to war and came back shadows of the men they used to be. My grandmothers were left at home to take care of the children and the household.
All the members of my family up until my parents were basically illiterate, working the fields under the scorching sun, using pre-industrial tools. It was a hard and dehumanizing work for both men and women.
Both my grandmothers were tough women. They had to be if they had to work in the field. Then, they had to be, since the men were drafted and there weren’t any around.
And then there were abusive men around — soldiers running away from the front line, military men, lost men, broken men. Men coming from battle ill, wounded, and with no will to live.
So the women had to become even tougher.
And they did. They were mothers who had children to protect and raise into wonderful and bright human beings.
They did a wonderful job at protecting. Not so great at raising.
They raised them from a place of fear, despair, and survival. Because that’s what they had to deal with all around.
That soft place of femininity has always been nothing but a myth, a fantasy.
It’s not that women choose to be tough. It’s that women have to be tough.
Whenever there is disease, poverty, a failing economy, or a bushel of children that needs to be taken care of, women need to grow thick skin and do it. It can’t be done with a ray of sunshine, a bouquet of roses, and a few sweet kisses and smiles.
It’s done by standing up, toughening up, manning up, and doing what you have to do no matter what. That’s true about women and it’s true about men. Life breaks us all.
And if you look around you even today, and wonder why women are not more soft and feminine, like they used to be, I pray: when were women ever soft?
How could women have been soft when they were in constant danger? When they were beaten, abused, scared for their own lives, kept from making their own money, sold as slaves, and used as commodities, when were they ever soft?
Never. Because the more exposed to danger you are, the more you need to toughen up.
So then where is this lie about feminine softness coming from? I’ve detected 2 sources, and if you know others, you’re welcome to write them in the comments.
Before anything, it comes from the way women were portrayed in movies and literature. That was done mostly by men, but also by some women who portray themselves even in real life as what they are expected to be rather than what they are.
It also comes from women’s soft skills. From their thousands of years of evolution to be good at relationships, to appease a man who might have been angry, violent, or dangerous. Of course, not all men were like that. But all men were in control of the women’s finances. So they had to play nice with all men.
The only softness women ever had was their fragile exterior: the brittle bones, the soft skin, the smaller frame. But the inside? It had to be made of iron. They had no choice.
Women have always been an iron fist in a velvet glove. True softness is a historical and societal impossibility.
Would women like to be soft and feminine? Absolutely! All the women I know (myself included) would love to be softer than they/ we already are.
Why wouldn’t women like to let go and have someone take care of them? Why wouldn’t men like the same thing, for that matter?
We’re not so different after all. Quite the contrary: we’re extremely similar, to each other, and to animals, especially mammals.
We’d all enjoy someone to come in and take care of our needs, and just love us and treat us well.
Because yes, that’s what it takes for anyone to lean into softness.
Look at all the rescued animals that are given a new life and the love and care of a good family. Food, care, and love, and one year later they’re unrecognizable. They flourish from a beaten-down down scared little cat or dog into a healthy and joyful ball of happiness and fluff.
The same is true for people.
That’s why men who have a wife who takes care of them are in better health and report higher levels of happiness than single men. Not because they have a paper that says ‘married’. But because they have someone who allows them to relax.
That’s what softness is. It’s relaxation.
Which you rarely see for the wife in the household. And how could any woman be relaxed when she’s in constant flight or fight?
Relaxation comes from no worry: no financial worry and no emotional worry: not about kids, chores, wars, partner cheating, failing economy, getting dinner ready, demanding bosses, or anything, really.
When women are in constant survival mode, they will not be soft. Period.
It’s not feminism’s fault (quite the contrary!), it’s not that she wants to be a man (that’s the last thing women want!), it’s not that she wants to be the boss (she just doesn’t want to be the slave!).
She’s not soft because she doesn’t have a soft place to fall.
For the men who want soft women: almost any woman can become soft if you treat her softly, instead of expecting her to be soft while treated roughly.
Unfortunately, this world we’ve created is a very hard world. Softer than it used to be, but still very difficult to relax into.
That’s why, for the good men out there expecting the love of a good and soft woman, the surest way to do that is to create a safe haven for her.
And it doesn’t need to be financial. But it absolutely has to be emotional.
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