Tag Archives: Dolly Parton

Femininity in the family

My feminine influences growing up!

I was raised by an unglamorous tom boy, who was never without her pair of jeans, white t-shirts or turtle necks under thick jumpers or oversized blouses, she preferred sandals to heels or trainers and she never wore make up and her hair was always cropped short and her nails were always bitten back and sore looking.

That thankfully, was not my only feminine reference growing up and I yearned for my mother to be more like her sisters or cousins, because the majority of my family oozed femininity – even my mum would say she was the black sheep of her family and to see her amongst her sisters and cousins in photo shoots you’d believe it!

I spent a lot of my childhood being shunted around – again, thankfully!  Because I grew to be influenced by other people about what it means to be a woman rather than taking guidance from my mother, which was practically non-existent!

What did my mother teach me about being a woman?  That women are always burdened upon and are doomed of having a life of sexual harassment and fighting for their rights on a constant basis.  That when you get married you have to train your husband  and she was being serious too!  She really believed these things!

She never wanted me to grow up and have a relationship or have children, but she did tell me if I were inclined to do so that I’d need to get a professional man who doesn’t want children and who is smaller than me and submissive!

Not on your Nellie, that’s not my type at all mum, sorry!

My influences were from women who insisted that just because you are married to a man it doesn’t mean you let yourself go, you know?  You have to keep a certain standard, you have to make an effort or then whose fault is it if they strayed?

Don’t bite your nails dear, put nice things in your hair and if you are not going to bother wearing make up at least make an effort to pinch your cheeks and wear lip gloss instead!

You want a nice man who will look after you, protect you and make you feel loved and safe and you want to be able to support him as much as you can and treat him like a king!

Hearing this being spouted to me at a young age, my mother’s reactions was often covering my ears up and giving short nasty criticisms to whoever was poisoning her daughter to become a man’s slave!

Shame on you!  Shame on the lot of you and to think where women have come from, only for stupid women like you to talk the next generation back a hundred years! 

Don’t you listen to them my girl, they are wrong; you don’t need that, you are better off far away from all of THAT!

That was my influence growing up and I still stick to my aunts and cousins concepts and steer well clear of my mother’s!

On my dad’s side of the family, up until the 90s it was quite common for the older generation to help you look for your husband if they knew you were leaning towards wanting a family at a young age.  My mother hated that about them – my grandmother knew when I was fifteen that I only wanted a career because my mother and big brother expected me to have one of their choosing, not my own.  But ultimately I wanted a large family and work from home either as a writer, designer or childminder. 

When I was seventeen my grandmother had found some nice young gentlemen to set me up with, but my mum got furious about it and it is one of the many reasons why mum decided never to speak to my dad’s mum again.

I had to listen to my mum, though I liked what gran was doing, because it’s been a thing I’ve wanted my whole life – a large traditional family.  Had I of started young, it would have been fun to see how many children I would have had by now!  I know a second cousin who is the baby of 17 and she too had 17 children of her own so large families are not uncommon in my family!

But I am forty now and only with one child and it really has never been my intention to have such a small family, fate was taken out of my hands.

It has left a deep hollow in me; it is something I have never accepted looking back in my life.  I am hugely envious of women who are running alive with kids!

I think I would have been healthier for it too, if I had got my way.  I don’t live for myself, I live for other people and when you have just one child and his father completely takes over and pushes your nose out of the way all the time, it makes you feel unwanted and useless – I think that’s why I got sick.

On my dad’s side of the family, they are feminine too, but they are a different kind of feminine than my mother’s side of the family.

My mother’s side of the family are very glamorous and are often mistaken for rich women.  The kind of women who feel naked without make up, stink of expensive perfume, wearing heels and have three inch long decorated nails with diamante on them.  One or two are unethical fur enthusiasts and all of them spend an hour on their hair a day!

Their focus is mostly to please their man, care for their looks, socialise with friends and then the children come somewhere after all that! 

My dad’s side of the family are the old fashioned but very maternal types.  To the women in that side of the family, it is you feed the man and take care of him when he is sick and support him in most of his endeavours if he is sensible, but outside of this you don’t dare come between a woman and her children!

The children come before everything after the basic care of the husband, the house cleaning is next, self-maintenance and then friends if you have the time – but as long as self-maintenance and friends doesn’t interfere with you becoming a good citizen, volunteering at charities and attending church or entertaining the elderly in nursing homes.

These women dress in simple country clothing, floral dresses with lace and mid shin and tend to wear pearls.

They also have the same ration ratio per family, the man gets the biggest portion, then the kids and the women tend to go hungry if they are poor or have meagre rations in comparison.

This is why almost all the women in that side of the family are gardeners, they grow most of their own food and have a “be prepared” attitude to life, as most of them were girl guides in their past!

They are the women who will eat left over from the day before or make soup from them, unlike my mother’s side of the family who seem to have a phobia of all food once it’s been opened or cooked!

As I was growing up, my mother’s family regarded me as an anomaly, because there I was a mere slip of a girl telling them what they can do to budget their food and how to save money.   Because I had learned it all by staying with my paternal relatives!

My dad’s family also taught things like sewing by hand, basketry and all sorts of things. 

Whereas my mother’s family knit only when they are past 50yrs of age and before then have no idea about darning socks and whatnot.

My family to onlookers would appear to be like Last of the summer wine ladies at tea Vs the Kardashians.  Or putting them as individuals my dad’s family as a whole woman would be Emma Thompson’s Karen from Love Actually vs Elizabeth Taylor.   Whereas my mum is more like Ellen Degeneres!

I like to consider this has made me more like Dolly Parton, well eventually lol!  She is like a good healthy mix of the two!

Anyway, those are my feminine influences according to how I was raised by my family and I have a lot of sprucing up to do, because being sick for so long has made me lazy.  I am looking forward to transitioning back to the old vain me again! 

Thank you for reading!

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