13 Women Share What Femininity Means To Them
  • January 8, 2019
  • Femininity and fitness have a complicated relationship. Take for instance, the English Oxford Dictionary definition of femininity Having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness”—which implies weakness. One of the significant consequences of this is that strength and muscles are seen as essentially unfeminine, which denies muscular women their femininity.

    That’s why women, especially women in the fitness and wellness industry, are saying eff you to traditional notions of femininity, and redefining “femininity” for themselves. “Because the concept of femininity is a social construct, it’s innately fluid,” says sex therapist Stefani Goerlich, LMSW who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues.

    While over the last few years there’s been an undeniable wave of redefining anything from “queer” and “feminist” to “ghosting” and “orbiting,” femininity has a history of evolution. “High heels, for example, are now an indicator of high femininity. But when they were first invented though, they were worn by military men who needed to be able stand in the saddle while fighting,” says Goerlich. This speaks to the reality that everyone needs to define femininity for themselves, and that no definition is right or wrong.

    With that in mind, we asked 13 women in the fitness and wellness industy to share their own definitions of femininity, and how they tap into their femininity—the breadth of their answers highlights the complexity, and the power, of being feminine and embracing femininity today.

    Embracing Who You Are

     

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    A post shared by Qui Camper (@qui2health) on

    To me, femininity means embracing who you are and being comfortable in your skin. Fitness plays a major part in my achieving my feminine power because it allows me to work on my feminine curves! Also, being a mom allows me to connect with my femininity, because I get to be a nurturer”Quianna Camper CPT, RSP Nutrition trainer

    Generosity

     

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    Work appropriate Halloween costume is also in character. 😂 🎃 🤛

    A post shared by Johnna Wilford (@johnnawilford) on

    “Some qualities that come to mind for me when I think about femininity are: receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity. But these aren’t connected to biological sex, so men can access these feminine powers, too. For me it comes down to generosity: generosity to myself, to my body, and to those around me.”Johnna Wilford, RRCA-certified running coach and Lexington, KY based fitness writer

    A Balance Of Energy

    “Femininity is about celebrating my softness, my delicate side and my vulnerability. I like to think about femininity and masculinity in terms of feminine energy and masculine energy—one energy isn’t better than or less than the other and I believe we all have our unique balance of the two. Embracing my feminine energy means allowing my active, creative, intuitive self to come through just as strongly as I let my confidence, inner-competitiveness, and more dominant energy shine.

    I like to access my own femininity through yoga and fitness—which get me in touch with my emotions and physical body. When I feel disconnected from my pelvis, my muscles, my heartbeat and my breath, I feel blocked. Moving helps me trust my femininity in a real, tangled and lived into way. I also like to access my femininity with great lingerie, cursive writing, a great blowout, super high heels, dancing, wrapped presents, nesting and creatively changing up and decorating my environment, delicate stemware, and really good red lipstick.”— Bethany Lyons, Founder and CEO of Lyons Den Power Yoga

    It’s A Social Construct

     

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    “I guess for me femininity is the current western social construction of traits like empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, being cooperative/collaborative, being a good communicator etc. framed as valuable, desirable human qualities. I grew up in a feminist household where these feminine traits were highly valued and celebrated, even especially by the men in the family.”— Jill McDevitt, California-based sexologist and CalExotics’ Resident Sexologist

    It’s In The Soil

     

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    For me feminine energy is the soil. It’s this powerful vessel that can develop any intention into manifest reality. That might all sound rather flower-y (to use a pun), but any time I tap into that energy I feel more feminine. Femininity to me means listening to my body—receiving its input. Listening to when I need to slow down or keep pushing. The feminine energy within me knows that with consistent care and attention, reminds me that progress isn’t always linear when it starts to take root, but my feminine side is there to be the container and the nourishment.”Adele Jackson-Gibson, CrossFit L1 Trainer and Fitness Writer

    It’s Abstract and Aloof

     

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    “Femininity is the loving, compassionate nurturing energy that speaks from a deeper part of you.  It is the part of you that understands life through birth, death, and rebirth. It is the principle that balances out overly aggressive tendencies and judgement.  Femininity is the Goddess living through you. This definition of femininity is abstract and aloof. But, the physicality of movement and exercise can ground you and help you access your feminine power—movement promotes clarity of mind, builds stamina, dissipates toxins, and releases resistance. Combined with a conscious food intake, and increased confidence, you have the potential to move closer to your feminine energy. Physical exercise is a powerful tool in the cultivation of the feminine principle.  Coupled with spiritual and emotional exercise, accessing your divine feminine is accelerated.”—Nyaima Taylor, Co-Creator of Art & Alchemy

    Doing You Better Than Anyone Else

     

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    “For me, femininity means finding and tapping into your own special skill set and doing YOU better than anyone else. Tuning into and making use of your unique abilities is the ultimate feeling of I AM UNSTOPPABLE! Building on your skill set with confidence, knowledge and a certain conviction is the ultimate form of power. My skill set: my outgoing personality and ability to bring people together. I’m great at reading people and creating friend groups across the globe. I use this skill set in my business as an owner of StarCycle, I create communities around fitness. Women who acknowledge other women and respect their femininity to boost them up is important. We have to be supportive of each other’s milestones, success, loss, mistakes. This loyalty to each other makes females collectively unstoppable.”Erin Moon, Co-Founder of StarCycle, a boutique indoor cycling franchise with 11 locations nationwide

    It’s Gray, A Spectrum

     

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    “The word “femininity” to me is just as “gray” as is the spectrum of gender. Femininity to me strays far from appearance, it’s about your energy. To be feminine means to be powerful, courageous, strong-willed, compassionate, fearless, and unapologetic. As a lesbian woman, I am often questioned about the “appropriate” way to present my appearance but the fact of the matter, is that there are infinite ways to be “feminine” and express “femininity”; and frankly, I say, to each their own.  While I understand that the traditional notion of femininity (fragility, virginity, purity, etc) stems from historically male gazes and perspectives, I acknowledge that it is now up to this generation of women to change the tide of thought. Opening up daily dialogue and presenting oneself authentically is one way to ensure inclusivity of all voices for representation.

    As a trainer, I try to challenge the traditional views of what it means to look “feminine.” I have made it a mission to instill the mindset of “strong, not skinny” into my female clients. I challenge them to reevaluate what it means to them to be “fit and female” and to take that journey with me by their side. Fitness is not just about physical growth, it is about mental and emotional growth. Being female is synonymous with power and courage and any time a woman takes the extra step to walk into a place of fitness to better themselves, they inch closer to empowering themselves in all arenas of life. To summarize: I personally feel more feminine when I am empowered, physically and mentally strong, and when I choose to redefine what it is to be traditionally ‘feminine’”.Cake, trainer at Brrrn, a fitness studio in NYC

    Strong and Soft, Grit and Sexy

     

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    “To me, femininity means confidence in being a woman. In being a woman who balances both strong and soft, grit and sexy. It means owning my assets and leading with confidence. It means not hiding my attributes but wearing my gender and body with pride. To me, the sexiest humans possess both confidence and hustle.

    I started box + flow, a boxing/yoga hybrid in NYC because boxing gives me strength and confidence and yoga has always forced me to slow down, and feel, and open up my heart. This balance channels my feminine/masculine duality everyday. Beyond fitness: As a single 32 year old, I also connect through my femininity through my vulnerabilities, writing a dating blog, speaking about experiences that are not unique to me, but I am unafraid to share, talking about sex, story telling, and connecting with others. I connect to my femininity through my connection with myself, because how I feel about myself, how I show up,  shows up. So I choose to be connected, to me, as much as I can.”—olivia young, founder box + flow

    Not One-Size-Fits-All

     

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    “There is no one-size-fits-all definition of femininity. It’s not perfectly applied makeup or a fresh manicure. It’s confidence, and not being afraid to be yourself and pursue the life you want.” Laura DiBiase, content creator for Perfect Gym

    Loving, Nurturing, Confident, Sexy

     

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    A post shared by Janeil (@janeilmason) on

    “Being loving, nurturing and confident are in my opinion, qualities of femininity. I’ve always seen these qualities in my mom, who is my role model of femininity, and observed how they have fared well for her to navigate various parts of her life from, work, home and interactions with anyone she comes into contact with. I feel connected to my feminine power doing all types of movement from dance to HIIT, strength training, boxing, running, everything! I know by moving I am loving and nurturing my body, doing this boosts my confidence because moving well is important to me. But dance definitely makes me feel the most connected to my femininity. Dancing is fun and I love to look at myself in the mirror while dancing, I feel sexy! Sexiniess is one of my favorite feminine powers.”—Janeil Mason, trainer at Brrrn and SweatShed in NYC

    Being Comfortable In My Own Skin

     

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    Body confidence doesn’t come from trying to achieve the perfect body, it comes from embracing the one you already have. I workout out because I love my body not because I hate it. The only way you will become your best self is by loving yourself first. Once you embrace YOU and your unique body type then you can make the changes you want in a positive way. Change your thoughts to change your actions. Mentally fit =physically fit. We are all beautiful but sometimes we forget to realize that. 💪💪 . . . . . . . . #thursday #mentalhealth #selfcare #fitness #fitnessmotivation #fitnessmodel #fitnessgirl #mom #mompreneur #fit #fitmom #strongwomen #bodyconfidence #selfcare #girlswholift #weightloss #weightlossjourney #fatloss #performance #coach

    A post shared by Jen Cohen -Performance Coach (@therealjencohen) on


    “For me, femininity means being comfortable in your own skin. It means wearing what you want, when you want, and not feeling bad or ashamed for it. Femininity means being able to look in the mirror and think, “Dang, I look good and I feel good!” Taking care of myself connects me to my femininity: working out, getting mani’s/pedi’s, dancing, making up choreography, getting a massage, and pampering myself after a really tough workout. And of course, hanging out with my girl squad!.”—Jennifer Cohen, author of Habit Nest Badass Body Goals Booty-Building & Waist Trimming Journal. 10-Week Workout Program. Your Ultimate Fitness Planner

    Accepting Myself

     

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    “Femininity means that I am accepting myself as a woman and I am embracing my own uniqueness. Showing myself love, kindness, and care are key for connecting with my femininity. Being a mother and giving life to two of my children, moving my body,  having female friends that are positive and supportive who also celebrate their bodies, and being true to myself are all important for me to feel feminine.”—Nina Crawley, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist

     

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    About Gabrielle Kassel

    Gabrielle Kassel is an an athleisure-wearing, adaptogen-taking, left-swiping, CrossFitting, New York based writer with a knack for thinking about wellness-as-lifestyle. In her free time, she can be found reading books on queer theory, bench-pressing, or practicing hygge. Follow her on Instagram at @gk.fitness