awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice

Femmephobia, Tutus and the P Word


It has come to my attention that people are wearing tutus while running and that femmephobia might somehow be involved. A thoroughly intelligent discussion ensued and I was intrigued. Unfamiliar with the term, I initially thought femmephobia might describe my fear of pink feather boas being placed on me at workplace special occasions. I was confronted with this fear many times when I worked at an organization where the women outnumbered the men 8 to 1 and the managers were struggling for team-building activities. I sometimes enjoy wearing more romantic than utilitarian styles and smile at the occasional costume as motivator but a pink feather boa may as well be a meat dress on my very vegetarian shoulders.

Femmephobia has been described as the devaluation, fear and hatred of the feminine. I don’t think it is femmephobist to not want to be surrounded by costumes and pink everything. There are individuals who don the pretty party with the most sincere intentions, but most companies and media coverage distort the image in a way that is demeaning to the wearer and their cause by highlighting the sartorial sensationalism rather than the reason for wearing it. We have all read countless articles about people doing something out-of-the-ordinary for a charity from cutting their hair to fasting, to wearing every kind of accessory possible during an athletic event (all of which are rather too close for comfort on the misogynist sadistic side for my taste) with precious little article space dedicated to the actual social, medical or other problem this act was trying to benefit. So, while the tutu might inspire the crowd to cheer for you, are they cheering for you or for the tutu? The tutus and the pink also hint of consumerist fad, and we know that national chains and social media companies profit more than charity from that. Meat dress and the once salmon colored ribbon as cases in point.

Essentially the media follows the entertainment value and often I suspect, so do the participants. What’s more, hyper-feminizing anything does not disentangle us from the misogyny against our fundamental femaleness. Instead, media coverage tends to utilize jujutsu techniques to throw the feminine and many actual women once more into the ditch, and soon enough people will toss their tutus and their feather boas into the back of the closet and forget why they ever bought them in the first place.

Watch Pink Ribbons Inc. – trailer at

2 thoughts on “Femmephobia, Tutus and the P Word

  1. I know a few women, like myself, who are disgusted with the pink-ribbon hype. Leave it to the marketplace to distort a symbol, excising it from what it really stood for. Marketers can always depend on the herd mentality to push along an idea. Frankly, I think it’s time to retire the pink ribbon, but there’s too much money in it going into the hands of advertisers for it to go away. But, yes, it’s now meaningless.

  2. Precisely. There is a difference between individual expression and mob mentality. I would cheer one woman in a tutu and probably find out why she was wearing it (or just enjoy her free spiritedness). But a gang of 5,000+ would push me over the edge and that is where I think it is important to examine the larger social implications and ask if people were still connecting to the message.

    Also, we can retire the pink ribbon by refusing to buy it or any products with its mark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s