A little over a century ago, a young woman in high society coming of age was judged not only on her beauty but also on her skills. She was expected to have mastered an assortment of arts by the time she was ready for marriage, in addition to having mastered being a poised, graceful young woman. These were often skills that she could pass on to her own children, use to entertain guests, or just make her family’s life better or more pleasurable. In less well-to-do families, a young woman was still expected to master certain skills by the time she was of marrying age, skills that she could also use to give her family a better life, teach to her children, or even make a little money on the side should her family fall on hard times.
One of the chief complaints about young women today is that they have few skills outside of those required for the office or that center around social media or TV shows/movies. When I ask someone in my generation what they like to do, I usually get answers that involve binge-watching Netflix, going out and drinking with friends, going out to eat, or something about social media. When I ask my mother’s friends or or my grandmother’s friends, their hobbies tend to focus around making or producing things: sewing, knitting, playing an instrument, etc.
I know that hobbies focused around buying things or consuming what others create isn’t just a problem for young women, but finding hobbies and building skills that allow you to be creative and that challenge you is key for self-development. A hobby that allows you to make something or master a skill gives you more confidence, because you are learning to do something with tangible results of your efforts. What’s more, seeking out hobbies that help you tap into your creativity and femininity, as well as teach you useful skills, help you to become a more well-rounded and level person. As it stands, younger generations today spend too much time in front of screens (something I’m guilty of myself at times) rather than living life. Developing hobbies that allow you to get away from your phone, laptop, tablet, etc. will also help you to get out and meet new people with similar interests, a bonus for single women in search of a partner.
So, let’s explore a few ideas for feminine hobbies that will help you develop your femininity and grow as a person:
- Reading: Reading might not seem like much of a hobby to many people, but reading challenging and/or educational books is a hobby that will help you to become a more well-rounded person. Books expand your knowledge and your perspective, and reading the classics (both fiction and nonfiction) is a good way to keep learning once out of school. I’m slowly working my way through the most famous books in the Western Canon, both fiction and nonfiction, and I’m encountering philosophical ideas that I never did when in college. Also, I am paying much more attention to the moral lessons of books from the 19th century and earlier than I did when in school, and there is a lot of wisdom to be found even in fiction.
- Cooking: Cooking is both a necessary life skill and something that can be practiced as a hobby. Challenging yourself to cook one new recipe per week is a good way to expand your repertoire and practice cooking healthy, delicious meals for when you’re married. Cooking is also a good way to stay healthy, as cooking meals from scratch saves you from unhealthy preservatives and high-calorie/sugar processed foods–your body will thank you.
- Baking: Baking is another life skill that can be a hobby (and great for saving money if you bake bread!). Baking cookies, cakes, bars, etc. for family, friends, neighbors, classmates, hobby groups, and others in your community is a good way to always have gifts to give and build stronger relationships with the people around you. Baking is also something that takes skill, and the more you practice the more intricate and complex your bakes will be.
- Knitting/Crocheting: Needle arts are good hobbies for building patience and for having a useful skill. Knitting and crocheting old-fashioned hobby that is great for those who like hand-making gifts (I personally am knitting a blanket for one of my family members as a Christmas gift). I find that both these skills are becoming more popular, so finding a knitting/crocheting club can be a great way to meet new people and get project inspiration.
- Sewing/embroidering: Sewing is another hobby that is also a useful skill. It can also be incredibly therapeutic, and also very useful. Learning to sew is, like knitting and crocheting, a great way to build patience and is a skill that can be used for years to come. My mother taught me simple stitches when I was younger, and I was able to mend clothes all through college, rather than throwing them out or taking them to a tailor. Now, I’ve started making clothes, and my mother and I are working on a simple circle skirt that I can wear to church or out at local events. My mother has embroidered since childhood, and she monograms clothes, toys, and bags for friends as a way to make extra money as a housewife.
- Painting: Painting is a great creative hobby for women, and one that is incredibly rewarding. I know artists who have practiced for years, and the difference in skill between a few years of drawing/painting is astounding. Some have even started making good money on the side selling small paintings at local farmers’ markets.
- Singing/playing an instrument: This doesn’t mean singing karaoke in a bar or screeching the latest top 10 hits. A couple centuries ago, young women were expected to master an instrument and/or singing arias, classical, and religious music. Learning to sing classical songs, folk songs, or even opera is a great way to build a feminine skill. A smooth, clear singing voice and building the lung capacity for difficult songs translates into your every day life. Many young women today speak with a vocal fry, running out of breath at the end of sentences, and singing can help with remedying this, as well as helping build a skill that can be taught to your children.
- Gardening: Gardening is a great way to practice caring for something other than yourself and to save money on healthy food (and ensure the veggies/fruits you’re eating are pesticide free!). This summer, I started a container garden, planting greens, radishes, beans, peppers, carrots, and more in metal tubs. The initial set up was time consuming, but now my seeds have sprouted, and weekly maintenance is maybe an hour at the most. Now, I’m starting to harvest peppers, which will be great for trying new recipes.
- Exercising/Sport: I’ve mentioned the importance of staying fit in a previous post, but finding an activity or sport you enjoy is key to staying fit long-term. Personally, I love weight-lifting and rock climbing, and even though I’m not very good at either, I love how easy it is to set myself challenges to overcome. I have friends who enjoy ultimate Frisbee, tennis, volleyball, and other sports that help them to meet new people and make friends.
- Dancing: Dancing is a dying art for many young women, whose only knowledge of dancing comes from bars and clubs (though some may half-remember childhood dance classes). Ballroom dancing, folk dancing, and other traditional dances are great ways to develop grace and poise and, for many, get in touch with your culture.
- Learning foreign languages: While many young women might think themselves cultured, most young, American women can only speak one language fluently. Learning new languages helps to create new pathways in the brain, allows you to learn more deeply about other cultures, and can help you get closer to your roots. Personally, I am learning French, as my great-grandparents were fluent, and I have many familial links to France.
- Canning/Preserving/Fermenting: This is a skill my grandmother taught me, and one that is incredibly useful, especially if you garden and have extra produce. For example, my parents have pear trees, and I was able to make a vanilla-pear jam and can it, so my parents can give the extra jam as gifts to friends and family. Fermenting and preserving foods is a great way to save batches fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste and is a great skill for a homemaker to have. I often see housewives selling extra preserves and jams at farmers’s markets, as well.
- Volunteering: Getting involved in your community is a good way to meet new people, and is also great for developing character. As I’ve mentioned in my last post, volunteering not only helps others, but it helps teach you how to be less self-centered, a good lesson to learn at any age.
- Firearms: Most people tend to think of learning how to shoot a gun/gun safety as a masculine hobby, but any good mother has and knows how to operate and safely store a gun and ammo when there is no one at home to protect the family. A feminine woman is soft and vulnerable, but also knows how to handle herself when her boyfriend/husband is away. Joining a local gun club, taking firearms classes, and even women-focused self-defense classes centered around firearms are great ways to build a potentially-life saving skill. A gun club or firing range is also a good place to meet traditional and like-minded men.
I hope this list has been helpful in getting you thinking about hobbies and self-development. Building skills while young is incredibly important for a traditional, feminine woman, especially if she wants to be a successful homemaker.