Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Ladies' Sewing Circle - 2015

Report by Jasmine Tomlinson - 15 May 2015

With the astonishing speed of female empowerment and dominance, female only social and networking clubs are mushrooming all over the country. In a gesture of supreme irony, they have been dubbed "Ladies' Sewing Circles".

The ladies who attend such clubs, and they are doing so in increasing numbers, certainly don't waste their time with knitting or needlepoint. They have far more important things to do, such as connecting with their sisters, establishing contacts and sharing their knowledge and experience with each other.

I went along to one of these "Ladies' Sewing Circles" in Richmond, Surrey, and I was truly stunned by what I witnessed there.

After driving to one of the most affluent areas of the country, I pulled up outside a modern mansion belonging to self-made businesswoman Marion Gilmore. Gilmore, a woman in her fifties but looking over a decade younger due to what she describes as "a mix of surgery, hormone treatment and the benefits of founding and running a good business", ushered me inside the exclusively female inner sanctum, Gilmore's sitting room.

There I found a select group of six other females. They were roughly the same age as Gilmore and dressed in designer business suits. Like most women nowadays, their hair was cropped short, their nails were clipped and free of any varnish and there was no jewellery or make up in evidence.

Far from being a feminine environment, the room and the ladies occupying it projected masculinity. There was an aura of power and confidence surrounding these women that was faintly sinister.

Gilmore introduced me to "her sisters", as she described them. They all owned or ran businesses. In spite of the fact that each woman in that room was a millionnairess many times over and that they were in complete control of their lives, it was clear that they looked to Gilmore for leadership.

Gilmore, the unofficial chairwoman, proceeded with the agenda with almost frightening efficiency. The women discussed tactics about how to put male competitors out of business by slashing prices in their own companies and which rivals should be targetted. There was no danger of their own companies suffering, since each woman had enough financial resources to simply outlast the competition.

Gilmore stated simply that she predicted that, by the end of the current fiscal year, they would have driven most of the male competition out of business and that they would be poised to pick up the pieces. By the end of the current decade, Gilmore smugly predicted that no significant business concern in the county would be controlled by a man. All of the Ladies' Sewing Circles in the county were co-ordinating their efforts to secure this outcome, with Gilmore as the go-between and the driving force.

Their business concluded, Gilmore asked her sisters if they would like tea. The other ladies, awed by the power and authority shown their de facto leader, nodded enthusiastically. Gilmore picked up a bell and shook it. The tiny bell gave a delicate little tinkle. That was the only delicate thing in this room.

The door opened and an apparition that appeared to be a female maidservant appeared. But she was attired like no maidservant that I had ever seen. The maid was dressed in an elaborate gown that an upper class lady in the eighteenth century would have worn. The gown was in pure silk and was in a pale pink colour, except for the lace and embroidered detail of roses empanelled on the bodice. The gown encased the wearer's arms in a quilted pink silk, and featured trailing pink chiffon sleeves that reached almost to the floor.

The gown had the widest skirts that I had ever seen, the pink silk billowing out so that the lower part of the wearer's body was wider than the doorway. The maid had to turn her body slightly in order to enter. The skirts were hooped and bounced energetically at the maid's slightest movement. As the voluminous skirts of the gown rose as the maid minced her way towards us, we caught glimpses of a frothy sea of lacy petticoats. Just how many petticoats the maid wore was anyone's guess but there was a great many, as many petticoats as the skirt of the gown could accommodate. The skirt of the gown had layers of white lace and flounces at regular intervals.

It was also obvious that the maid was wearing white frilled and beribboned pantaloons, the bottoms of which could be seen with every movement. She also wore a pair of white boots that had heels of such height that the maid's rather large feet were cantilevered up, forcing the maid to mince and totter along at a daring angle. How on earth she managed in them, I could only guess. They must have been excruiatingly uncomfortable to wear.

The maid's waist was clearly tightly corsetted and had been so reduced to tiny dimensions that it was almost like that of a child. I could placed my own small hands around it and have plenty of space to spare. The maid's throat was decorated with a lace choker with a pink gemstone of some sort as the centrepiece. The girl's neck was laden with necklaces that seemed to drag her head down with the sheer weight of them. The rounded and frilled neck of the gown showed off a large area of creamy flesh, in spite of the amount of jewellery the maid wore.

The maid's hands were large, I noticed. They had a creamy, milky complexion and the nails had been manicured and painted with the same pale pink colour as the gown. Dainty and delicate gold and silver rings, set with stones that sparkled brightly even in the fully lit room, adorned each of the maid's thumbs and fingers.

Above the lace choker was the visage of a woman, though clearly not a young woman, judging by the obvious signs of lines and wrinkles. The maid clearly could not afford the age defeating techniques employed by her mistress. I suddenly worked out that the maid, whom I had assumed to be a girl or young woman, must be about the same age as her mistress. Nevertheless, in spite of the lines and wrinkles, the maid's features had been beautifully made up.

A deep, cream foundation had been applied to her face that instantly gave her a refined and ladylike complexion, a deep pink blush had been daubed onto her cheeks to make her look younger in spite of the evidence to the contrary, kohl eyeliner made the maid's green eyes stand out, her eyelids had been painted with a blue colour as a contrast to her natural eye colour. The maid had beautifully long eyelashes. They were far too long to be natural, and must have had extensions added. The woman's lips had been painted pale pink and made her look more girlish than her years.

The overall effect was to make the maid appear younger and extremely feminine. The only thing that spoilt the beauty and femininity of the maid's face was that the maid's thin lips were set in a grimace.

The maid's longish hair had been dyed blonde and styled into corkscrew curls that descended almost to the maid's shoulders. Like the skirt of her dress, the curls bounced wildly as the maid moved about. On top of her head, the maid wore a very ornate headdress of roses and orchids, attached to her head by an expansive band of white lace that surrounded her head and was secured underneath her chin. The maid's ears had been pierced and heavy looking diamond earrings hung from them.

The contrast between the ruthless, businesslike, mannish women of the Ladies' Sewing Circle and the servile, classically womanly creature who had just entered the room could not be greater. The women exuded power and masculinity. The maid was subservient and could not be mistaken for being anything over than feminine.

The maid lumbered her way towards us in small, dainty steps, carrying a large tray of cups, saucers, cutlery and a flower detail teapot. That she had been heavily perfumed with some fragrance with a flower base of some kind was obvious. Her perfume had hit your nose as soon as the maid had entered the room and it grew stronger, almost unbearable. The noses of all the ladies present, my own included, wrinkled in disgust. None of these women had worn fragrances for some years. A perfumed body was an experience revisited for them.

With difficulty, given the wide skirts of her dress, her impossibly high shoes and sheer weight of the fabrics and jewellery worn, the maid walked to a table and set her load upon it. Then, grasping the skirts of her gown, she gave her mistress a low curtsey and stayed in that position, acknowledging the power of the woman she served.

Gilmore observed the maid's curtsey and let her remain in her servile position for a long minute. The maid was clearly struggling to maintain her pose under the weight of the gown and petticoats she wore, but somehow managed it.

"You may rise, Derek, and pour me and my guests some tea!" Gilmore ordered the maid.

The other women present were unfazed. They had obviously seen this, or variations of it, before. They studiously ignored the maid and began to talk quietly amongst themselves. Totally unprepared, I was momentarily stunned by this revelation.

Gilmore was highly amused by the expression on my face. She confirmed that person presently occupied in pouring tea for us was none other than her wife, Derek. She openly referred to the man to whom she had been married for over thirty years as her "wife". I wondered what poor Derek had done to warrant being made to dress fully as if he were a female in the eighteenth century in a ridiculous and over elaborate costume, shown off and publicly humiliated in front of a group of women, and made to wait upon them as if he was a maid, which, in fact, he effectively was.

Gilmore explained that, many years ago, Derek had been the breadwinner and she had been the housewife. Then, Gilmore had become a feminist and this had spurred her to make herself independent of men. Meanwhile, Derek had lost his job and had been unable to find another. Gilmore managed to find a job as a shorthand secretary and the couple switched traditional gender roles.

It had not been an easy transition. Derek, used to being the breadwinner and having the power in the relationship, was bitter at the loss of his status. Gilmore was loving having her own money and having the power, but was tired of the arguments with her husband over money and power and his unwillingness to do housework. Of course, once she had launched her own business and had become a millionnairess, her position within her own marriage had become unassailable.

Gilmore was happy with how her life had turned out, but she had resented the "wasted years" she had spent as a subservient housewife and intended to turn the tables on her husband.

The threat of divorce, an event that would leave Derek homeless and penniless had it gone through, was enough to make Derek completely submissive and subservient to his wife's every whim. She had told Derek that he was now the "wife". She would refer to him as one and treat him like one. His wifely duties included doing all of the housework and shopping. At first, Derek had been allowed to continue to dress in traditional male clothing, his only concession to his feminine state being to wear a pinny when he did his housework.

Then, one day, Derek had arrived home from grocery shopping to find that his wife had made a bonfire out of his clothes and his beloved collection of golf clubs, painstakingly acquired over a period of many years. Some of the clubs had even predated his marriage. Derek had openly wept as he saw them wither and burn. But worse was to come, for Gilmore had, purchased ladies' clothes and underwear for him and had insisted that he wear them. He was a wife and so he should dress like one.

Derek deeply resented this humiliation and he had tried to resist it, but had to back down when Gilmore threatened to throw him out of the marital home, which she now owned outright.

Gilmore said that her "wife" had not worn any traditonally male clothing for almost a decade now. Over the years, his costumes had become ever more elaborate, starting with mainstream women's clothing, then maid's outfits and now Gilmore's latest craze, historical costume. Derek had Edwardian and Victorian ladies' outfits in his wardrobe, but the eighteenth century one was by far her favourite and Derek had to wear it often. This was the first time, though, that he had had to wear the costume in public.

What made it all the more delicious was the knowledge that Derek absolutely hated wearing the costume. The fifty-eight year old man was reduced to tears when he was instructed to wear it.

I looked with pity as Derek, tottering about in high heels, voluminous skirts and petticoats, attempted to pour tea for women who smirked at his feminine condition or simply ignored him. He was as totally restrained and petticoated as any woman had ever been. That he was unhappy was evident from the misery etched on his cosmetically enhanced features, but what he must have been feeling and thinking was unimaginable. I felt uncomfortable watching him.

I then looked at Gilmore. Regal as a queen. In total mastery of her world. Her face was devoid of pity as she watched Derek mince about. I was inclined to disbelieve that her treatment of her "wife" was for revenge only. To a person like Gilmore, power, and the show of power, was everything.

What had just occurred was Gilmore showing her acolytes that her power and authority within her own household was absolute. She was showing that not only had she forced a reversal of the traditional roles of husband and wife and that she had complete control over her man, to the point where she could make him wear humiliating and uncomfortable outfits and make him be her "wife", but she had even reversed the masculine and feminine dynamic inherent in any marriage. Gilmore, although female, was now the masculine element within her marriage, whilst Derek, a male by nature and instinct had been forced down the road towards total femininity.

Looking at the couple, it was clear who was the "man" and who was the "woman".

And it is unlikely that the Ladies' Sewing Circle will stop with Derek. All of the other women present had husbands who had been reduced to househusbandry. They had whispered to me, when their imperious leader was not within earshot, that they had initially found Derek's feminisation distasteful, but of course they had dared not object. Now though, with Derek's latest delightful metamorphasis into a femininity that these genetic females doubted that they could ever emulate, their eyes had been opened. The complete feminisation of the male so that he could never again threaten the inevitable domination of women was the way forward.

If the Ladies' Sewing Circle have their way, the male of the future will be reduced to being a helpless and pathetic specimen. He will be a prettifed creature, restrained by corsetry and high heeled shoes, cocooned in many layers of silk and lace, his neck, fingers and ears weighed down with pretty jewellery, his long hair styled to please his mistress in a feminine way, his features feminised with cosmetics and even the essence of his maleness imprisoned in the dainty silk, lacy be-ribboned underwear that traditionally symbolised the total femininity of the wearer. Powerless, he will be conditioned to accept the superiority of women and he will become meek and submissive in contrast to the masculine traits now exhibited by his new mistresses.

And I cannot see how the gradual feminisation of the male can be stopped. The Ladies' Sewing Circles are growing in numbers and in power with every passing day. Their members, like Gilmore, are ruthless and focused on expanding control, female control, over everything.

The Ladies' Sewing Circle, traditionally associated with a group of refined, ladylike females getting together to gossip and exchange sewing patterns, has been masculinised by a new generation of females, determined to create a future world where masculinity and femininity are inverted. Whilst I'm not sure where this is going to end, the future is certainly going to be interesting.

3 comments:

  1. I guess it is sooner or later.
    It reminds me wonderful books about gender role reversal:
    MODERN GIRL PUBLISHERS by Patti
    Giving Him The Slip by SANDY THOMAS

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  2. I read the books - thanks, they were good.
    I would only hope my wife would like me to wear something more comfortable ;-) Having said that, it would of course be her decision..

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  3. i wish some mistress would feminize me...

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