How to be Charming :: Disclaimers + Definitions

I tweeted the other day that I have this weird fascination with etiquette. I'm constantly looking up ways to do the proper thing, whatever that may mean. It may sound odd that a twenty-something girl living in in 2014 loves to read the rules of etiquette, but it's true. I think there's this lack of respect, both for ourselves and for others, that could really be fixed by basic etiquette training. 

I've posted a few things on this topic, though I mis-labeled it Ladylike. I've wanted to write more, but the term just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Because, you see, I identify as a female, a feminist, and very feminine. My dilemma, always, is how I reconcile these. If I identify as a feminist, is it still okay for me to write about femininity? My heart tells me yes, because being feminine makes me happy and comfortable. But I've just always been terrified at how people will perceive it.

So, consider this my official disclaimer post. I am planning on starting a series called How to be Charming, which will include writings on femininity and etiquette, and I don't want to be afraid of what people will say. I'm not saying that women should do these things in order to be a woman, or even feminine. It's my own personal perception of femininity and etiquette, and it may not be right for everyone. 

I think my biggest pet peeve about blogs in general are those who write from this perspective - as if their how to is the end all. Mine is not. I'm not all knowing, and I will never write something that I feel contradicts my personal beliefs about choice and gender. I'm writing about my experience and how I want to be. That's all. 

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I also wanted to use this post to define a few things. Mainly, what do I envision this series to be. 
Well, first of all, what is charming? I've read a few different definitions of the word, but the one I like most is a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty.

This. This is exactly why I use the word charming in my branding. It's not a physical representation of beauty, nor is it solely how you act or feel. It's a broad definition of pleasing others and making them comfortable and happy in your presence. 

A few other words I've chosen to define this new chapter in my life and my blog include authentic (not false or copied; genuine; real), elegant (gracefully refined and dignified, as in tastes, habits, or literary style), lovely (having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye), and generous (free from meanness or smallness of mind or character). It's a combination of all of these that, to me, make up this ambiguous concept of charming

For me, it also has a lot to do with etiquette, or the conventional requirements as to social behavior (remember, I was a sociologist major, so etiquette has always fascinated me in one regard or another). And why does etiquette matter? Because how we act affects other people. I'm not doing these things because it feels right, but because it's the polite thing to do for others. It's to makes others feel important; to let them know that their feelings and comfort are important to me. 

I guess the most important thing now is why. Why am I choosing to do this? Why am I making a conscious decision to research etiquette and share it with you? Why do I want to explore my femininity, and most importantly, why do I want to write about it?

Call it a rut, or just a really difficult month. April was hard you guys. Really, really hard, in many, many ways. It's not that I necessarily did anything wrong, but I know that I could have acted differently in situations to make those situations easier. I just think I need a new perspective, explore different ways that I can act to make life easier for both myself and others. 

So! What topics are you interested in reading more about? Think, table manners, wedding etiquette, how to act on social media. And it's not just limited to etiquette either. I'm attempting a different lifestyle, one that makes me feel better about myself and the way that I treat people. I'd love to know your thoughts and ideas!


Joelle Duff said...

I'm looking forward to reading a bit about your definition of charming! Other people often characterize me as "charming" and I would like to agree, though both you and I know that "etiquette" and "Jocelyn" don't usually go hand in hand. I'm the girl in the pretty dress and shoes talking about things "boys talk about" ;-) This should be fun!

Joelle Duff said...

I love the way you wrote this, because it's SO TRUE--frequently, these sorts of posts convey the "this is THE! ONLY! way to live" message rather than "here's one way to live". I'm looking forward to the series! I know you'll knock it out of the park.

Joelle Duff said...

I love this idea. I don't think kindness or social etiquette are anti-feminist at all. I'm looking forward to learning a few things :)

Joelle Duff said...

Wow. Amazing post, Joelle! I especially love the part where you wrote "If I identify as a feminist, is it still okay for me to write about femininity?"...because it's SO true! Why can't we be both? Why can't women be everything they believe in and want to be, even if they may not stand side by side? We should choose who we want to be and how we want to live without having to worry about what others will think of us or judge us. I love how you describe yourself and I encourage you to stay true to who you are, girl! I'd love to see more posts about etiquette, because so many people have thrown etiquette out the window. Its fascinating to see how you approach it from a sociology POV...I'm really interested to see more of this!

Joelle Duff said...

I love this idea! I haven't written about etiquette or manners in a couple of months, but I used to write about these topics in my Little Bit of Class Tuesday posts. Now that my wedding is over I have more time to blog more frequently and I have plans to revive my Tuesday theme. If you are ever interested in collaborating, please let me know, because I love the topics and I know my readers will love your posts. If not, I may just link to you because your posts are fantastic!