Continuing to bounce off issues raised by One Pot Meal.
I asked my women's history class (about a third of whom are practicing Baptists) what being feminine means to them. Lots of them talked about wanting to be attractive, wanting to dress up. I didn't push them on who they wanted to attract (it was, after all, the last class before Thanksgiving), but I think they would first have said they wanted to feel good about themselves. However, they didn't think being feminine meant deferring to men. After some discussion it came out that while they absolutely thought women should be assertive, they did think that to be feminine involved putting others first.
I think the issue here may be understanding authority. They seemed to like the model of the mother who makes all the decisions for the household but never puts herself first. But I'm suspicious of that model both because it seems like a way of borrowing authority instead of having a right to it and also because I think putting oneself first in subtle ways can be more dangerous than being upfront about it.
I'm off for a few days, will be back here Dec. 1.