Female Weapons

 

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Lipstick illustration from Tumblr (? artist?)

Those of you from English speaking countries, do you use this expression also in metaphoric sense? Because when you say “female weapons” in Czech, it doesn’t go for self-defense objects for women but something completely different – (mainly) bodily features they use to get what they want from men. Therefore, when you hear someone saying: “She used her female weapons”, you can be sure the mentioned person has exposed, accentuated or generally made more noticeable the things that men (supposedly) appreciate on women.

I can hear the feminists shouting out loud there; I don’t like the meaning either, nor do I approve of when someone uses her (or his, to be fair) appearance to get something, be it better grades, higher salary or simply attention. It’s embarassing for me as to witness such behavior. However, the original purpose of this article wasn’t to judge others but to talk about what do “female weapons” mean for me.

Although the tomboy-me who hated pink, ruffles, bows or anything considered “girly” has no longer such a strong voice when it comes to clothing, I still think of myself like that. Kind of. In these times the term “tomboy” may be outdated, at least when we speak of girls doing the same activities as boys or dressing like boys. (And while we are at the topic of gender equality, do boys borrow style elements from girls? How do the society view them if they do so? Here – a problem. Men are probably pushed more to be “manly” than women to be “feminine”. Men even don’t have equally wide range of fashion goods. Their departments in stores are smaller in this country.)

 

But when I’m about to face something very important – to defend my thesis or to interview  for a job I’d really like to land in- it’s true that certain things help me feel more confident, more secure. And that these things might be considered as typically feminine and few years back I wouldn’t tell using them would empower me. Knights have their armors and swords, and I have… a lipstick and heels.

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Art by René Gruau

Lipstick in dusty rose. It’s not screaming for attention (even on fancier occassion I don’t feel good with red lips, don’t know how to pull them off) but it accentuates my natural lip color enough to be noticed.

Heels – I always thought I’m just not the type to wear heels. It was too uncomfortable, I felt unstable and ridiculous while waggling on the streets. The revolution came when I finally found a pair of very nice, comfortable and stable shoes that allowed me to walk all day without noticing – something that I thought was generally impossible for heels.

Of course the walking may be a little bit slower because dependent on the heel height you have to adjust the length of your footstep. But unless you put on 15cm stilettos you’re fine. My optimal height is 5-7 cm – can do anything in them. And I’m not talking wedges as I don’t like how they look. I never had problems regarding being petite but those extra centimeters definitely boost my confidence.

Do you have some “female weapons”, too?

 

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8 thoughts on “Female Weapons

  1. The specific expression: “Female weapons” I’ve never heard used in the US. “Feminine wiles” can be used in the US but that is very old-timey, like someone’s grandparents would say that. Maybe “gold-digger” or “sugar baby” is closest thing I can think of right now—but that is too specific.

    Regarding men, they may not have as much variety in fashion but they definitely have better quality. I read an article once about the men’s dept being the smallest, on the 1st floor, and closest to the exit because they want to get in and out ASAP.

    I loved watching/reading interviews with Alexander McQueen and Daphne Guinness, and they described clothing as armor but for protection rather than confrontation. Guinness literally had a diamond encrusted armor glove made for her. Audrey Hepburn said this about Givenchy dresses, Catherine Denevue about Yves Saint Laurent. Other designers: Yohji, Haider, also have described their clothing as protection for women. I totally subscribe to this concept. Clothing has always had a major impact on my mood and confidence. 10-11 years ago, it was the androgynous, rock and roll, Dorian Grey, Hedi Slimane era Dior Homme vibe that made me feel more confident—especially as I looked younger than my age. As I’ve gotten older, I’m more comfortable looking more feminine, but for me that translates to Rick Owens rather than pastels. (I love vivid pink and poppy red lips though) Late last year into January, I relied heavily on certain pieces for inner strength. My Trinity ring (not the religious one) saved me. There were days when I **needed** Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, All Saints or my “I cannot save myself, at least I can Save the Children” necklace to get through.

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    1. Here even the mens clothes quality may be a problem. The Czech Republic is not very fashion conscious country and people don’t pay so much attention to what they wear, unlike, e. g. the Germans. (Of course, in Prague the situation is different due to higher salaries, etc. but every capital is specific and cannot be generalized on the rest of the country, I guess.) But yeah, when I recall shopping with my man, his departments were smaller but he could find clothes of quality that would be more expensive on the womens side.

      And that department being closest to exit sounds hilarious! I chuckle every time I go in the shop and there are sofas or armchairs – usually occupied by tired men waiting for their wives and gfs.

      Yes, when I was writing the post I also thought of clothes as armors to be worn to protect myself and feel confident, too. When I prepared for my thesis defense, I really took time for that. It was a kind of a celebration, a ritual, like a knight would prepare himself to battle. I put not only my “weapons” (lipstick and stable heels) on but my armor as well (red dress). Those Rick Owens pieces you showed on your blog are truly beautiful and strong at once. And talismans are used frequently by many of us. The power of thought and faith is undisputable.

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  2. Zia, I think I found my style twin on the internet! This is exactly how I am. I am a feminist. I believe in equal pay for equal work and defend women’s rights very strongly. But I also love a conservative wardrobe. I love wearing a berry or a rose color lipstick. Heels, lipstick and simple, blow-dried hair are my “weapons” of choice. They make me feel more confident. My heel of choice is under 3 inches too! I don’t like wedges either. They make me feel like I am standing on tiny platforms! I have never been overly sad about being short. But, I like the little boost of heels. Red Lipstick never looks good on me and I don’t know how to pull it off.

    As far as using these weapons to get something – Here is how I look at it. These things make me feel more confident. They just put me in a happy mood and when I am happy, I become a better person. I listen better, I respond better, with assertiveness. I am not really seducing someone to get a job or get something done. Don’t men use their boyish charms to get things done too? I routinely see men asking each other out for friday drinks or talking about sports, trying to find common ground. That’s how they get things done or get people on their side. Don’t you think?

    Btw, those illustrations are so pretty!

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    1. So good to hear that we share so much, at least regarding style! I would like to challenge the red lip, though. At least to masquerade balls to begin with, haha!

      With that “female weapon” Czech meaning I was more thinking of seducing, showing a lot of skin, exposing decolletage in deep necklines, etc. – this kind of meaning. There is nothing bad to wear what you feel good in, unless you’re almost stripping off to get better grades or salary. Or consciously using bodily or every other features to manipulate someone into something (like certain behavior, playing “damsel in distress”, etc … now I’m having troubles with formulating what I want to say so I hope you understand). I don’t like such behavior because it reinforces the stereotype of women as only concerned with their appearance and relying on it when they’re not good enough with their abilities. But we are as good as men when it comes to work or study, aren’t we? And of course that men use their features, too. I just met only few of them doing that.

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  3. I don’t know what my sartorial weapons are. When I need strength at work on a tough day, I wear all black and try to disappear into it. On date nights, I sometimes wear red. But not really … I am still looking for mine.

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    1. I feel well protected in black because it doesnt show anything – its a very neutral color. Red, on the other hand, says a lot. Perhaps youll find your weapon is the complete look, not only the elements…?

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      1. I thought i had everything figured out. I am glad I dont. So much to look forward to.

        Was thinking : maybe its not one look. Maybe I already built a closet where I feel that sort of thing with what I wear everyday ? Not sure. need to think about it some more.

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