NOTE: This conversation runs backwards! For the benefit of regular readers the newest comments are put at the top.
Women have always appreciated feminine attractiveness - that is why the way to sell a magazine to women has always been to put a pretty girl on the cover, very rarely a man. Heterosexuality for women contains a high degree of narcissism which is natural and good. Men are not sex objects to women in the same way that women are to men. A generation of feminists has attempted to simulate male-type sex reactions in women (the use of the word 'hunk' being a good example of the project) and the whole thing still seems artificial and ridiculous, as it always will.
A great deal of a woman's sensual stimulation in a heterosexual marriage or courtship turns on her consciousness of her own attractiveness. She is the sex-object, not only to her husband, but to herself.Wow! I've been learning a lot about myself through exploring your site (along with Femmeworld), but this was a revelation. Perhaps it's been obvious to others all along?
It's worth noting that I'm young, a mere 24, and have grown up in this society. I've always been fascinated by older clothing, movies, and other trappings. But I realize that I've been conditioned by a society that is very different from the way things Once Were.
I'm a heterosexual woman, this I know. And the majority of my friends are men. It's always harder to get along with other women, but once I do, it certainly is remarkable. But I digress... (trying to give enough context so my comments make sense).
I always wondered why I never was moved by pictures of attractive men. You know, many of my friends had pinups in their dorm rooms or would gush over certain guys ... "oh he's so cute," "what a hunk," and so forth. I never got that. Was I weird for not being particularly inspired by the male form? Sure, I knew guys were more stimulated by appearance and images.
Yet, I've always been drawn to, admired the feminine form. Pictures of women and women's clothes and stuff was much more interesting to me. Pleasing. Yeah, occasionally I'd feel a bit of envy. And wonder why I found that more interesting/appealing than the corresponding pictures of guys.
I think this causes many women to question their sexual orientation. It's not something many talk about, either.
Your words were so dead-on accurate! I never thought of it that way,
but it's so so true. But it seems if a woman admires another woman, so
many assumptions are made. Many tend to assume this implies lesbian tendencies
(which, of course, it could be
Sometimes I wonder if this isn't a weird kind of reaction to how society seems to view appreciation between women. That it's odd, when it's perfectly natural (regardless of one's sexual orientation).
I appreciate beauty wherever I find it. Women are beautiful and I'm
a beautiful woman. That's a source of great joy in my life and I can't
believe I ever felt strange about that. Thanks to the folks at Aphrodite
for the insightful and thought-provoking commentary.
I would add, though, that it is one of the curious things about sexual differences that the same thing does not operate similarly the other way round. When Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet and other great male roles, her performances were genuine interpretations of the roles and not just grotesqueries; and it is entirely conceivable that other female artists of similar spirit might do the same at any time. I recently saw an Aristasian production of part of A Midsummer Night's Dream in which all the parts were taken by girls, the male parts not in any way masculinised but played entirely feminine. The performance charmed a mixed, mainly heterosexual audience. I can hardly imagine a similar all-male production charming any audience except perhaps a homosexual male one.
Some one will be sure to remind us that all Shakespeare's heroines were originally played by boys. But note that they were boys, not men and this only happened under the inescapable pressure of women being barred from the stage. As soon as the restriction was lifted, at the time of the Restoration (in the 1660s), all female parts were taken by women, and, as far as I know no one has since voluntarily produced the plays with men taking female roles, while the reverse has happened and been delightful. Note also that in the popular English pantomime, where role reversal is traditional, the "dame" (a man playing a woman) is always a figure of broad comedy, while the Principal Boy (a girl playing a boy) is the romantic lead.
I mention this not in order to defend female role-reversal (indeed,
the whole charm in all these cases lies precisely in the fact that the
female player is never seriously de-feminised), but to point out that in
our aesthetic reactions to the two sexes, not only are they not equivalent,
but they are not even mirror images of one another. Our psychic experience
of the sexes is as of two quite different species to whom different aesthetics
and different possibilities apply.
MISS ALICE LUCY TRENT
The rather silly pretence that men and women are equivalent, expressed in allowing female infantrymen or male nursery governesses, is really the symptom of a society that has lost all grip on reality.I feel moved to question you further. It is true that most women would make poor infantrymen and most men would make poor nursery governesses. But what about the minority who can do these things. Should they be denied the opportunity.
Let me say that my instinctive feeling is that you are right,
but I know this is what many people would ask, and I'd be very interested
to know your answer.
Thank you. One of the problems with the late 20th century is that it tends to dump everything in the same bucket. To ignore distinctions between things. The point you raise is usually a good one, but not always. Under normal circumstances most women are never going to want to be air traffic controllers or computer scientists, but if a certain number do wish to do these things and have real aptitude, then there is no reason in the world why they should be prevented. This is true of most cases of this sort, but not all.
For example, if a male actor wanted to play Cleopatra, he might be very good at playing the part, leaving aside the fact that he was a man. But that is just what we cannot leave aside in this case. Most people do not want to see the part of Cleopatra played by a man, however well he does it; and even those who do want to see it want to see it for special reasons. It is clearly not the same thing as seeing a woman play it, even if we do want it. It is something else.
Similarly, some men are good at looking after small children. But they are never good at it in the same way that women are. There is a masculine kindness and comfort which is different from the archetypal feminine and maternal kindness and comfort. The best father in the world is never a mother and the best male-nurse in the world is never a nurse.
In the case of the infantry, we admit that it is possible (though not likely) that a few rare women might do the job as well as a man if the mere job was all there was to it. But it is not. A male army is a very particular thing with its own esprit de corps. It is a masculine phenomenon. To introduce a woman into it is to disrupt its very essence. In truth it is not actually possible for a woman to join the infantry, because as soon as she joins it, it has ceased to exist and has changed into something else.
There have been warrior-women in the past but their armies were very different from male armies in spirit and essence. Nothing could be further from their spirit than a modern woman in drag as a male "grunt".
It is these fine and subtle differences between the sexes which (in part) make us what we are, along with many other fine human distinctions that are overridden by the cheap sloganised culture of the late 20th century, with its whole language reduced to the argot of the market-place, the labour-mill and the political slanging-match.
It is time we recovered a little sense and sensitivity.
I wonder if some of the denizens of the site might recommend some of their favorite books, stores, and other such things. Now I want to read some romantic fiction and am unsure where to start.
I'm surprised by my favorable reaction to this site (and others like it). I'm at once fascinated by androgyny and by ultra femininity. Is this strange? I guess I'm fed up with the societal norm. It seems we're told at once that we're all equal and women are discouraged from being ultrafeminine, yet at the same time we're told what men want (pouting sex kittens wearing crotchless panties and wonderbras). It doesn't compute, does it?
Hmmm. We're told too many things, really. I hate the fact that I have to be careful what I wear in certain situations-- be it for the workplace or if heading into a city area and so forth. Heaven forbid we not match what others want/expect-- those cookie cutout images. Or, worse yet, we look too attractive and get scary attention on city streets. Sigh. So we resort to wearing pretty things undercover, where no one can see. Sometimes we can't even afford to let those glimpses show.
Sigh. Women should be free to be whomever we want. Dress however we want, whenever we want. We can be powerful whatever clothes we wear. It's only clothes. I hate that so many place such stock in such things.
I adore wearing silk, suede, velvet, lace, sheers, and the like. Just because it pleases me and makes me feel wonderful. Pity that if I express this attitude (vocally or by wearing the clothing) I get some men drooling over me (which is fine and good until it gets scary) and making assumptions about me. Others don't take you seriously. What's with that?
Oh I could rant some more, but I won't. This isn't a place for ranting,
per se. This is a lovely place, I'm happy to be here. With sisters who
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Kaelissa. You write, very perceptively:
It seems we're told at once that we're all equal and women are discouraged from being ultrafeminine, yet at the same time we're told what men want (pouting sex kittens wearing crotchless panties and wonderbras). It doesn't compute, does it?Yes, at first that does seem like a contradiction, but once you see what is going on, you realise that it does compute. It computes very well. You see, if a society denies the importance, and indeed the very existence, of femininity it is left with nothing but crude animal femaleness. All the qualities that make the human female attractive in a spiritual, intelligent and specifically human way are denied. Women, after all (we are endlessly instructed) are the exact equivalents of men, except in the shape of their bodies (the dogmatists really can't deny that one, otherwise they undoubtedly would). So what have men left to concentrate on? Well, crotchless panties etc.
It is barren and ultimately unsatisfying, but it is all that is left after the demythologisation of the post-60s world. The crushing of femininity and the promotion of raw, physical femaleness are not contradictory, they are two sides of the same false coin.
Only by rediscovering the true magic of femininity, by learning that
romance is real and the debunkers are bunk, are we going to get out of
this impasse, which is why letters like yours
I love erotica, but can do without the sweating and heaving images that men seem to find appealing (did they ever leave the stone age). Some men do seem to have a 'feminine side', but even that phrase seems to patronise us. Why can't a man choose to be feeling and sensitive without denying that such traits can be a part of his own nature. The other side of the coin applies to women who feel they have to become men to succeed. We have our share of thugs and lager louts without the excuse of testosterone. Why - the army even lets us join the infantry now if we're stupid enough to want to and can meet their fitness criteria.
I like the opportunity, but now I want men to understand that I also
have the freedom to choose a world of silk and lace without implying any
kind of betrayal of feminine freedoms. For now only women seem to understand
Thank you so much. Although we would suggest that there is a validity in speaking of the 'feminine side' of a man or the 'masculine side' of a woman. Certain characteristics do belong to the archetypal feminine or masculine without actually being the exclusive property of one sex. The rather silly pretence that men and women are equivalent, expressed in allowing female infantrymen or male nursery governesses, is really the symptom of a society that has lost all grip on reality. A society in which dogma and ideology have replaced actual human experience, where policy is based not on life as it is, but life as it is officially supposed to be. If it is "correct" to believe that fishes swim in the sky then millions of fishermen (or rather fisherpersons) will be sent up mountains with nets, and if the population starves as a result we will be told that a) at least we have not committed the crime of incorrectness or gone back to the bad, repressive, intolerant days when wicked oppressors told us that fishes swam in the sea and b) the problem of starvation can be solved by an enlightened campaign to send twice as many fisherhumanbeings up the mountain next year.
My sisters and I would play dress-up with my mother's old clothes and
girdles. Anyway, when I was a girl, I wanted nothing more than to be like
my sisters and mother as soon as I could be. I remember being ten years
old, with everybody getting ready for school in the morning (the four girls
sharing two bedrooms) and the whole place being a flurry of girdles, slips,
crinolines, nylons, my elegant mother coming in to help with difficult
back garters, etc. and hating, hating the fact that I was only ten years
old. I remember the first time I was allowed, after all that waiting, to
wear a girdle. It was Easter Sunday, 1962. I can still remember the joy
of that "first girdle" shopping trip, being allowed into the inner sanctum
of the corset shop. I remember the pleasure of feeling myself wearing the
dress I wore, with hat, gloves, and a tight little girdle with real nylons.
I was officially a woman! And I pestered my mother until she allowed me
a few months later to wear them all the time. I remember loving the ladylike
way they made me look, walk, and sit, the way my girdles hugged me, held
me in, reminding me at all times of my adult femininity. I never lost those
feelings and they were even intensified when I began to date. While others
have mentioned the fact that they served as chastity belts (which they
did), there's also the fact that their tightness in that area (I must blushingly
admit) increased the erotic arousal of a date, while providing protection
at the same time. I liked them so much that, like a small minority of women,
I didn't give them up when pantyhose came in. I continue to enjoy them,
and they continue to mean to me what they've always meant. I suspect I'm
not alone. So, I guess my point is that all of us who were inundated with
the culture of girdles back in the sixties were affected by it, whether
we were male or female.
While the term "Aphroditism" in the way you use it is relatively new to me, I am certainly familiar with the concept, which is ageless. While it is grounded in times long past, this sensuality certainly evolves just as fashion does. This helps explain the enduring allure of the stocking hem, and the promise that it implies.
Please tell me more about how I can share my thoughts with your group, and how I can learn more about theirs. I am excited about discovering more about myself and my femininity, and yearn to see others doing the same.
For purposes of communication, you can refer to me as "LaValliere",
who certainly lived in the spirit of Aphroditism.
I would rather see an active promotion of a feminine ideal where a woman can be strong, intelligent, successful, and so forth, yet still be feminine. Taken in this regard (and I will apologize only for my lack of clarity if this is misunderstood.) I believe that the sexes were never meant to be equal. Equality, of course, is a heavily loaded concept, and perhaps things would be better served by saying that an ideal such as yours allows gender roles to be celebrated for their differences, without being divisive.
I will end my ramblings, then, by saying that I am concerned over your
presentation of the site as "by women, for women" while seeming to somewhat
exclude men. (I haven't explored it enough to be sure, yet.) Although I
agree that in many ways, our two sexes do seem to be different species,
I would rather promote a greater understanding between us. I applaude your
efforts to educate, and hope that your exclusivity can instead expand into
a greater openness between us.
We actually say "by women about women", which is a little different, although we freely admit that our material was produced primarily for ourselves and other women. If men like it too, that's fine. Our aim is to discover a new feminine erotic sensibility that is valid for women and for those who love women regardless of their sex.
Whether men or women were meant to be equal or not (in any case, are any two people ever equal?), they certainly weren't meant to be, aren't, and never can be, the same. That is what is too often meant by "equal" in the late 20th century and it just makes a hopeless, hostile, neurotic mess of both men and women.
You rightly say that you have been exposed to and participated in (as a consumer) negative and hostile images, etc. It is rare for some one (of either sex) to recognise her own responsibility in these matters. Let us throw away our televisions (or keep them only for pre-1960 films). Let us stop participating in the poisoning of our culture.
... Except for the bouncer concept ...
My life experience has shown me up to now, that there is something to hide, were there is a need for bouncers ...
... However, if she looks like Marilyn Monroe, I'll be glad to let
her throw me out every night ...
But of course there is something to hide, darling. That is the whole point of Aphrodite!
Eight years ago my views on what was female were beaten up by a radical feminist girlfriend and The Women's Room by Marilyn French; I became a "New Man". Since we split up (six years ago) I had been a mess, unable to communicate with women on the level since I thought any problem they had was my fault by dint of me being male, and eventually ceased to have any close relationships with women for 2 years.
Only this year have I started to relate to women once more, and the existence of your site and your explanation of the Aphrodite sensibility has been a major relief. I had suspected the existence of this true eroticism through my response (or lack of it) to so-called "pornography", whilst the sight of a well-dressed unselfconscious woman could send me to raptures, so finding a discussion point for this on the Net, more importantly run by women, is truly liberating.
"A great deal of a woman's sensual stimulation in a heterosexual marriage or courtship turns on her consciousness of her own attractiveness. She is the sex-object, not only to her husband, but to herself."so you said, and this for me is the crux of it all.
Thanks again, YAN
Yes. Yes, I too am overwhelmed, no, astonished to discover this pastel oasis of femininity.
Internet. Erotica, no, pornography is everywhere. For men, by men. Lusting. Testosterone effusing the Ethernet. Pinching us. Glaring at us. Slamming into us. But not teasing us. Not alluring us. The mystery, lost. The mystery, given away.
But are we not to blame? Our insecurity. Our quest for comfort. We have unveiled ourselves.
And then there is here. Frilly, pink, yellow stucco, and legs. We are
allowed to peek at ourselves and our friends. To be naughty. Again.
A thing that makes us sad is to see how shell-shocked many straight
men are after the constant bombardment by the mass-media. You half-expect
us to be intolerant, because you know that every one is encouraged
to be intolerant
Yes, there are still plenty of obnoxious straight men out there. We hear from a few, though we don't bore you with their postings (censorship? Well every good Cocktail Bar has a bouncer. Ours is an eight-foot brunette with a figure like Marilyn Monroe and a grip like Charles Atlas). But many of the decent straight men have been scared into an inferiority complex by the weird=good, normal=bad philosophy of the mass-media establishment.
Well, we are not straight and we are not men, but we are not intolerant. Our message is here for every one.
ADD YOUR COMMENT TO THE CONVERSATION
Some one has described Aristasia as "one long conversation". Well, Aphrodite is rather like that. If you want to catch up on the conversation so far, the Archive is the place to do it.
BACK TO BELLADONNA