Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Kooper » 週二 8月 05, 2014 10:30 pm

Please allow me to revive the "Ask Kat" tradition but extend it to "Ask Kat and all." :wink:

If you hear a man tell a woman (1)"That dress makes you look very sexy" (2)"That dress makes you look very feminine" (3)"That dress makes you look very ladylike," does it draw you different pictures in mind? What difference will it be?

If one day a tomboy surprisingly wear a skirt in front of us, shall we say "That dress make you look very feminine?"
Kooper
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Wayne » 週三 8月 06, 2014 12:39 am

Kooper 寫:Please allow me to revive the "Ask Kat" tradition but extend it to "Ask Kat and all." :wink:

If you hear a man tell a woman (1)"That dress makes you look very sexy" (2)"That dress makes you look very feminine" (3)"That dress makes you look very ladylike," does it draw you different pictures in mind? What difference will it be?

If one day a tomboy surprisingly wear a skirt in front of us, shall we say "That dress make you look very feminine?"


Based on my word sense:
(1) Sexy means "attractive", focusing on the looks..(2) "Feminine" is intended for the contrast to "masculine". (3) "Ladylike" emphasizes polite and quiet behavior.
Knowledge is power -- when shared.
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Kat C » 週三 8月 06, 2014 8:10 am

Great question! :D

First thing first: Only comment on someone's appearance if: 1) you know it's welcome by the person on the receiving end (i.e., they care about how they look and want to know what you think); 2) it's flattering! (or if you can take the consequences of its being perceived as less than so...) :mrgreen:

So to tell someone who doesn't like to act girly that she looks "feminine" is asking for trouble. :)

Now the three words. They're certainly different. "Sexy" is attractive in a physical way (so be VERY careful using it! :sun: ) And as Wayne has mentioned, "feminine" goes against "masculine." The former carries a "traditionally for women" connotation, so sometimes it can be taken as "nicer" but other times "weaker."

"Ladylike," well, is quite old-fashioned. It's from when we had gentry and nobility and a not-so-equal world. So again, it can be a dig.

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What's the takeaway here? Use them only when you're pretty sure the other person will like to hear them! :D

Kat
最後由 Kat C 於 週日 8月 10, 2014 12:32 am 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Kooper » 週六 8月 09, 2014 8:32 am

Hi Kat and Wayne,

Thanks for your explanation! I'm still curious to know under which scenario will you use feminine to describe a woman's look. Putting individual differences or preferences aside, is it generally considered a compliment to women when they receive a comment like "That dress makes you look very feminine."

The reason I am asking is I've found some examples from dictionaries like below. It seems to me they are commonly used to describe women's look.

Ex: That dress makes you look very feminine.
Ex: Her clothes are always very feminine.

Another question is if I describe a women's behavior as "She is feminine" or "She has always been feminine," is it typically considered a positive comment?

How much do you think the similarity is between feminine and 有女人味的 in Chinese?

I am left with the impression that "masculine' is a positive comment to describe a man and tend to think of "feminine" the same way. Is it correct?
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Wayne » 週六 8月 09, 2014 1:56 pm

That dress makes you look very feminine. {Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary}
It's translated into 那件衣服你穿起來很有麗人風韻。 Here "feminine" is defined as "having the qualities or appearance considered to be typical of women; connected with women. (指氣質或外貿)女性特有的 Therefore, I think it's safe to say it is typically considered a positive comment. However, in another example, the subject is a man: He had a delicate, almost feminite features. The translation goes into 他眉清目秀,跟女性差不多。Without context, I think the comment is neutral or complimentary. To make things complicated, "womanly" is another word to describe "behaving, dressing, etc., in a way that people think is typical of or suitable for a woman; it is an approving word. Note that the word "feminine" refers to qualities or appearance, not behavior. By the way, two words to describe a male acting or behaving like a woman are "sissy" and "womanish".

As for "有女人味的", it means more than "feminine". When we say a woman is "有女人味的", it means the woman is physically mature, grown-up, well-behaved, and sophisticated, although everyone may has his own definition. Is there one single Englsih word to connote all these qualities? I doubt it, since, as mentioned above, "有女人味的" has various definitions.

Her clothes are always very feminine. {Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary}
A definition of "feminine" is "acting, or having qualities which are traditionally considered to for a woman.

The dictionary also has an example using a man as the subject: With his long dark eyelashes, he almost looked feminine. {Personally, I think this is a poor example: Do all women have long dark eyelashes?} {Cambridge Dictionaries Online}
Another definition is "having characteristics that are traditionally thought to be typical of or suitable for a woman".

To conclude, "feminine" can be applied to a person, be it a he or she, who has "qualities which are traditionally considered to for a woman". On the other hand, "masculine" should have similar usage to "feminine".
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Rock » 週日 8月 10, 2014 9:12 pm

Hi, Kooper, I guess you are just afraid of some hardcore feminists who could take a compliment as an insult, right?
Don't worry, at least, someone still believes being feminine is a great thing for women, mentally or physically.
http://www.practicalhappiness.com/femininity/

就算用中文,「妳好有女人味」這句也要小心使用。我個人從未用過這句來形容女性同胞。因為很容易本來要拍馬屁,結果拍到馬腿上。女性同伴中彼此使用的情形似乎比較多?
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Re: Ask Kat and all: sexy, feminine, ladylike

文章Tina Sun » 週一 8月 11, 2014 11:35 am

Actually, as a woman (should be no doubt?! :shock: ), a compliment of “妳好有女人味” is far behind the compliment of some good and SPECIFIC characteristics, like pretty, smart, or considerate.
(my personal feelings lah!!!)

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