If femininity is wearing dresses, blouses, skirts, make-up, jewelry, and heels (or hijabs or saris), then a lot of women aren't feminine. If femininity is being soft spoken, demure, modest, shy, reserved, and meek, then a lot of women aren't feminine. If femininity is being a wife and mother, cleaning the house, and watching soap operas, then a lot of women aren't feminine.
One website I'm looking at says: "Femininity means having qualities or characteristics traditionally ascribed to women, (such) as sensitivity, delicacy, or prettiness" It says it's a dictionary definition, but the definitions I'm finding are less specific: "the quality or nature of the female sex" (Merriam-Webster.) One problem with trying to define something like femininity is that stereotypes tend to paint an unrealistic picture.
Think about it; 'The Princess and the Pea' is a testament to the concept of a sensitive woman. A Prince has searched the world over for a true princess, only to be disappointed every time. One day a woman happens to come to his castle to get out of the rain and stay the night. She claim to be a princess, but the Queen decides to test her by placing a pea under several mattresses. The next morning, she reports that she was unable to sleep well, she tossed and turned all night because there was something in her mattress. The overjoyed prince proposed on the spot because 'only a true princess would have had sensitivity.'
Even though the more desired trait is emotional sensitivity, our world isn't exactly an environment that fosters that. Even from youth, students in school have to figure out how to co-exist socially, to do that a high degree of emotional control is necessary; no one, boy or girl wants to be known as the crybaby or one who flies off of the handle at a moments notice because that little girl becomes the target of "Who can make her cry?" and other such games. Without a certain degree of desensitization, it would be difficult to deal with the news as of late. Not only that, but too much emotion in others is uncomfortable and tiresome, to be honest.
Delicacy's definitions points to the definition of dainty: marked by delicate or diminutive beauty, form, or grace. You'll find many of these feminine words point back and forth to each other - one would call that circular in nature. It makes it a challenge to discern where the definition meets the description. Delicate also means 'fragile' - so 'fragile or small beauty'. Remember how beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Since beauty is: "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight." There's really no way to make it fragile or small in nature as no matter what a woman does she will never know how others see her. 'Fragile or small form' is easier said than done - countless women have experienced eating disorders to try to maintain delicacy, risking their very health in the process. Our country is a super-sized one, big houses, big food, and subsequently, big men and women. It's something that most of us wouldn't notice unless we were put side by side next to our third-world counterparts. Americans are taller and weightier. "Fragile or small grace" that is, " a charming or attractive trait or characteristic" is also subjective - have you notice the pattern here? There must always be an outside observer to tell the woman that she is and has delicate beauty, diminutive form, and delicate grace; she really doesn't get to decide for herself if she is any of these things.
Prettiness is "pleasing by delicacy or grace, and having conventionally accepted elements of beauty, and appearing or sounding pleasant or nice but lacking strength, force, manliness, purpose, or intensity." Our secular world is constantly changing it's mind about beauty, smokey eyes are in one week and a flash of color in the next. Christianity's attitude has been more of - "if the barn needs paint, then paint it." Which means, don't wear make-up unless you need it. So that aspect of prettiness is out. Some of the fashions are also out because they're immodest. It sounds like the church is telling women to fulfill every worldly aspect of beauty but to not do it in a worldly way.
That's not even discussing the rest of the "feminine" traits of: gentleness, modesty, humility, sacrifice, supportiveness, empathy, compassion, tenderness, nurturance, intuitiveness, sensitivity, unselfishness. Some of them, by the way - are masculine too - soldiers support each other, are unselfish, and are no strangers to sacrifice, for example.
Christianity tends to call upon feminine stereotypes to tell teach Biblical Womanhood and Godly Femininity, they do that by declaring these things to be the opposite of Biblical Manhood and Biblical Masculinity. They forget that believers have common ground in christlikeness and to do that some elements of these teachings really don't fit in the light of that truth. If Christianity is not supposed to be like the world, then when it comes to femininity, it cannot rely on the world's definition. What is femininity without stereotypes? What is is truly beautiful that cannot change?
As it was explained to me, Christian femininity is embracing the roles that God designed into the world. Women are, first and foremost, wives and mothers. Except for women whose husbands cheated on them and divorced them, or women who are incapable of having children or whose husbands are incapable of fathering children. Look at the Psalms 31 woman, she is a wife and mother. Naomi was a wife and mother, Ruth married and had children, Esther was a wife who became a mother ... you'll find few examples of ladies who weren't one or both in Scripture.
Christian femininity is:
helping (which is gift of the Holy Spirit to build up the body of believers it is also given to men),
exhibiting graciousness (the verse here says 'kindness' which also is masculine),
living a pure life (true of men, too),
dressing modestly (Scripture specifically says 'not wearing expensive fashions' though it is taught as 'not wearing anything that causes a brother to stumble' - I don't see why guys shouldn't dress modestly as well),
developing a quiet and gentle spirit (How? Certain women have a lot of personality and no matter how much they try to stuff it in a jar or bury it, it tends to come back louder. The implication is that God made their femininity flawed in the first place and that they have to change, die to whatever uniqueness God created within them, to be biblically feminine),
submitting to your husband (so women who don't marry aren't feminine? I knew I'd find the core of the problem somewhere; women aren't women unless they're the wife of their husband and they submit to him),
and teaching the younger women (preferably Proverbs 31 so that they can work themselves to exhaustion from dawn until dusk trying to live up to a standard that cannot possibly exist in the modern world.)
But that's not all, there's more to it:
being physically fit,
and fearing God.
What femininity is not, apparently: Embracing who you are as an individual, choosing your own fashions to your own tastes, selecting outfits that make you feel radiant, finding things to do that make you happy, searching for the one you love, taking care of yourself so that you can take care of those you love, knowing your limits, expanding your horizons, pursuing your passions, and being a whole person who is happy in your own skin.
I really do believe that it is an impossible standard to set for women, it is asking too much of them, way more than they should give. We all have freedom in Christ, freedom from expectations, freedom from being something we are not - this is true of men and women. Set your eyes on Jesus, and everything else will fade away. Trying to be the perfectly Christian feminine woman and biblical woman is a distraction from Jesus - the way, the truth, and the life.