In the past, expressing one's femaleness was done through expressing femininity. In addition to the female roles of wife and mother, there were numerous ways of doing so. One was, of course, dress. But in the name of equality and comfort, distinctive female dress -- such as dresses and skirts -- has been largely abandoned. A young woman who wore a dress or even a skirt and blouse to a college, let alone high school, class would probably be considered stranger by her peers than one who wore a see-through top.
Today, instead of women wearing feminine clothing, they either wear essentially male clothing (such as pants and pants suits) or flesh-baring sexually provocative clothing. Feminine attire -- i.e., clothing that is very female but not very revealing -- is rare.
Femininity was also expressed by sexual reticence. Again, such a notion is laughable in much of contemporary society. The idea that a man made great efforts to be allowed sexual contact with a woman rendered women feminine in men's eyes. They are different from us -- they are feminine. Women who act as sexually available as a man -- through their behavior or their dress -- are not perceived as feminine, since they are perceived as being male-like.
Likewise, the myriad ways in which men treated women as women -- such as opening doors for them -- all declared that women were feminine, i.e., different from masculine. That is why many feminists opposed men opening doors for women -- it reinforced notions of femininity, a value that feminism has sought to extinguish.
So, femininity is largely a dead concept. Ask most young women -- or men -- what it means, and you will get either a blank stare or a hostile reaction.
Thus, many women are now saying: "I am a woman. And I will declare it in one of the only ways left to me -- I will show you my female body."
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”