It is, however, important to distinguish between the construction of femininity, lived femininity, the feminine ideal and the feminine stereotype. The construction of femininity refers to the psychoanalytic and social account of sexual differentiation. Femininity is a lived identity for women either embraced or resisted. The feminine ideal is an historically changing concept of what women should be, while the feminine stereotype is a collection of attributes which is imputed to women and against which their every concern is measured.
In other words, there is a significant difference between acknowledging the construction of femininity in the family and its maintenance in social institutions, and accepting the cultural representation of women imposed upon us. The feminine stereotype categorises everything women are and everything we do as entirely, essentially and eternally feminine, denying differences between women according to our economic and social position, or our geographical or historical place.