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What 'Femininity' means to me: Devanshi Arya

Devanshi Arya

I did an interview with a couple of friends and acquaintances to launch the series on expressing femininity and masculinity (hyper, powerful, perfectionist, traditional, and unconstrained). I am looking at understanding and persuading the audience at the same time that expressions are infinite. This makes a person unique and beautiful in their own way.

I did an interview with Devanshi Arya, identifies herself as a cis-het (cisgendered-heterosexual woman). She had a lot to express in view of femininity. As this page focuses on women and men working their way through in terms of expression and breaking societal norms, this series will be centred around this particular generation (Gen-Z and Early Millennials) independent of their identities.

The Interview

Q: What is your understanding of femininity?

A: When we talk about femininity, the first thing that pops in my head are the gestures or behaviours I perform seated in society while these have become a subconscious aspect of my life from keeping my legs crossed to ensuring I check my cleavage before I bend.

Femininity for me is breaking these norms, these subconscious gestures, attitudes I have been taught and have incorporated over the years regarding how the society deems feminine.

Not being conscious of how I sit, stepping to a cafe with a bare face and feeling confident in my own skin to shifting my style statement according to my moods and not adhering to what only conforms under the bracket of 'feminine'.

Q: Does your understanding of femininity differ from society's idea of femininity?

A: In a lot of ways yes, it does. It's a constant battle not only with society but also within myself to rethink and teach myself all over again of what 'femininity' stands for me individually and not from a societal lens.

I'm constantly trying to evolve myself and change ways from ensuring I wear what I feel comfortable in to something as major as choosing my own career choices not altered from the lens of the society as to what is the right choice for a woman to be a part of. We are still battling major issues and minor ones are a list for a long tea sesh!

Q: Do you think the media has reaffirmed the idea of hyper-femininity?

A: Media plays a very significant role in our lives, and hyper femininity has been majorly instilled in us as kids especially through advertisements which focus on the need to reaffirm heterosexual relationships and ensuring you're using 'fair and lovely' cream just so you look beautiful and white washed all the time to ensuring you as a woman in an expected traditional attire are constantly on the run to find a groom at all times adhering to the 'sanskriti' (culture) of the nation.

Looking beautiful, finding yourself a groom, doing household chores are all attributes that make a woman and it is reaffirmed by various media and admittedly, they do get instilled into us subconsciously.

Q: How have you evolved as a person from being someone that conformed to societal pressures to someone being comfortable in your own skin?

A: I wouldn't say I have changed completely as a person, I am still evolving and always will be. But, I try to make changes in my life from time to time like stepping out of the house without a bra and also making it a point that I too can have an opinion on politics because being a woman doesn't entitle the society to decide my IQ. As far as I remember intelligence was never gender specific. From breaking the norms of what counts as the ideal picture on Instagram and posting what I like to choosing what I wish to indulge in irrespective of the gender norms associated with that field of interest has made me my own person.

It is still a battle on the larger front but, we all have to fight it to ensure femininity is more individualised than generalised from the lens of our society.


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