Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feminine Manner, Part 2

Helen Andelin devotes the whole sub-chapter to the discussion of refinement. Refinement "implies good social breeding", otherwise knows as good manners, that is, such qualities as courteousness, consideration of the feelings of others, good taste, tact etc. (Fascinating Womanhood, p.260, Bantam Books, 1992).

A refined person is never impolite, crude or vulgar. Such a person won't interrupt other people speaking, monopolise the conversation, bring up the embarrassing subjects, or speak only about oneself.

A refined lady won't swear or use profane language. She will avoid doing certain things in public, such as blowing her nose. Another thing to avoid is to openly demonstrate your affection for your husband in public, by stroking his hair, for instance. This and similar displays of emotions belong in the private sphere.

Mrs Andelin reminds us that refined taste is shown in the way we dress, style our hair, use make-up, but also in interior decorating of our homes. The way to cultivate the refined taste is to study fine art and listen to good music. Refinement means basically being courteous in the company of others and avoiding to hurt other people's feelings unnnecessary.

We should also try not to impose on others, for instance by fishing for dinner invitations or constantly borrowing things from other people. Helen Andelin points out that a woman doesn´t need to be beautiful to be feminine. You still can attract men by being ´tender, soft, fun~loving...innocent and pure` even if you are not a classical beauty (idem, p.263).

Helen gives a couple of real life examples of the women who had improved their marriages by following her teachings. One story is that of a woman who was raised like a boy, worked hard on a farm and `never had any frilly feminine things` and used to think that `perfume...and frilly lingerie were for fancy town women who never did anything useful...´ (idem, p.265)

When she got married she went on to dominate her husband and to boss him around and he allowed her. As a result, their relationship deteriorated, they kept fighting about money, the dissatisfied wife found a job and started preparing for divorce. Fascinating Womanhood changed her life as she finally understood that the man needs his `freedom, acceptance, praise...and love` and that `feminine wiles and ways` are a better way to motivate him than aggressively pushing him into doing things. (p.266).

In the end of the chapter, Mrs Andelin reminds her readers that outdoor parties should not be seen as occasions to behave unfeminine, which is especially facilitated by wearing casual clothes (pants) and cautions against such actions as slapping men on the back, yelling, roaring with laughter and the like. She then sums it all up by providing a list of do´s and don´ts.

Next time I´ll discuss feminine nature.


  1. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 6, 2015 at 4:58 AM

    That example of "the farm girl" is very good. Laura Doyle speaks about the same matter on her book "the Surrendered Wife". It was a real eye-opener to me years ago, when I realized that we would both be happier if I would be less dominant and less feminist in our marriage. I didn't even WANT to be in charge of everything but I thought I should, because feminism and my mother had told me that that's the way it goes because men are like little boys. Well of course they are, if you never let them be men.

    It is relief to hear that one doesn't need to be pretty to be feminine. :)

    I have to share couple of images with you. Julia McKenzie is my favourite Miss Marple, both her acting and style are very restrained or plain, I like that. What a disappointment it was to see her in modern clothes; that classy lady just didn't exist in real life.
    Miss Marple in Caribbean Mystery:

    Mrs. McKenzie IRL:

  2. I thought you'd like this example:)

    The lady you mentioned, didn't she die recently? By various reasons I prefer old Miss Marple, from the 1980s.

  3. Housewife from FinlandFebruary 6, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    Not that I know -or Wikipedia.

    I think all miss Marples are grea but mrs. McKenzie somehow resembles my grandmother so I like her best. :) .

  4. I read it somewhere in the news a couple of days ago, though I could be mistaken. I think the lady played her part very well, I just didn't like how they adapted the stories comparing to the old movies (at least, those I have seen)


No anonymous comments. Anonymous comments will be deleted.