I’ve observed that women don’t always think it’s OK to be ‘feminine’. “I hate pink, I never wear skirts, I never cried when I fell over,” and so on.
I wonder if going beyond a certain level of femininity is not so much a gender issue as a ‘character flaw’ in any person and any age – but has not been perceived as such. You can imagine people saying that weakness is weakness, or softness softness, no matter where it’s found, and that it’s nearly always to be despised. Nobody wants to be seen as a ‘mark’ in any way, and yet it’s still described as a predominantly feminine thing.
Giggling is regarded as feminine, but I remember going through a spell of that, and was helpless! It must have been a hormonal thing for older girls. It’s bad enough when you’re on your own, but when there are two or three of you, all about the same age, you can keep each other going. You don’t even know why you’re laughing. Life just seems as though it’s bubbling over with peculiarity. Something that’s not mentioned so much, if ever, is that around the same time I found just about everything made me cry. Not sure that has changed, though the giggling has long since gone.
It can’t just be girls, though…? Boys giggle and cry too.
I’ve lived a sheltered life in many ways, but it’s also been a life of freedom. The world ‘sheltered’ brings up the image of a girl living confined under one roof for most of her girlhood (and maybe beyond), but if that girl is living her life not knowing about certain assumptions or ways of life, and not fearing all the same things that other people fear, then she’s free in many ways.