Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Masculine and Feminine Traits: Are they legit, or are they just society produced?

This is something I've always questioned.

I grew up with a sense of being a Tomboy. I was very sensitive, but I wanted to spit, play in dirt, play outside, and be tough like a boy. I remember that very well. Until middle school, which ensued and awkward phase of wanting to be feminine. I wanted to be girly so the boys would notice me. Like every middle school girl. Then high school, where I went through about 10 different phases and ended up like a "jock", letting myself become consumed with my letterman, swimming and sweatpants. It was pretty masculine, the way I dressed and acted.

In college, I took on the primary identity of a musician, and I haven't looked back since. I became almost a combo of masculine and feminine. But now I wonder what the real definitions of these are? So I looked up each definition in the dictionary and found:

  • Masculine
Mas-kyuh-lin, adjective:
Having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness.
  • Feminine
Fem-uh-nin, adjective:
Having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, as sensitivity or gentleness.

I felt strange when I read these. I knew what I was getting myself into. My mother use to joke that I would have the perfect personality to be a male. Driven, determined, strong, bold. But I have less traits of feminine as a female, like this gentle, quiet, and nearly submissive role. I want to push those traits away. I don't think it would make sense to waste my personality and down what traits God gave me to please society or any labels. Luckily, we live in a world were the labels and the lines are starting to blur, so now, it is less of a taboo to think of myself more masculine.

Don't get me wrong, folks, I'm well aware I'm female, and inward, I'm a female. I'm a woman, I accept. I'm not a transsexual. But to be forced with a label that implies that I'm the opposite of strong really frustrates me. Sure, there's exceptions to the rules. Women have shown that they can be strong, yet sensitive and gentle. I will dress "woman-like" in professional situations, like working in an office or observing in a classroom to appear "conservative" and older, or because it makes me appear less like a marshmallow. Occasionally I do enjoy the feminine things. However, in how I act and think, it tends to be more male. In a novel I'm currently working on, I'm writing as a first person male. And I've had people tell me that the way I write makes it sound like a man is writing it.

Why are some people in society still against women taking on the male role? What is wrong with a working mother and stay at home father? I see nothing wrong with it. Some people just don't like change. The church especially. I still see myself as part of the body of Christ, but not the physical church. Church frustrates me to no end. Every time I go, I'm always asked about a male. Or I'm told the same message of: women are to be submissive. What about the passage of men to also be submissive? I don't understand. Why must I bow to a male figure? And on top of this, I've been told that "no, it's not like that, they just have their roles." Right, nice politically correct way to put it. What about people like me who are good for masculine roles and leadership? Why, because I am biologically female, must I get married, have a bunch of babies, be a housewife, and submissive? I don't understand this logic! I am both masculine and feminine. But I tend to lean masculine.

This post was a bit disorganized, because my head is a bit disorganized. But you get my drift.


  1. You should take a gender and communication class as well as a human sexuality psyc class, it might answer some of your questions, and I found them very informative. Women of power often have to put on more of an androgynous persona to be taken seriously in society. Gender is social. It doesn't matter what traits you have as long as you're happy. Don't let people label you.

    I like girly clothes, but I'm usually not submissive by any means. Just because the underwear I put on in the morning is pink with lace on it doesn't mean I conform to what it is to be "feminine." I am who I am, and I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks. I encourage you to be yourself. People will love you just the same.

    - Cody M.

  2. There is an interesting phenomenon in society today, which shows that a woman doesn't have to wear a dress to be female, and a man does not have to be strong to be a male. The househusband is becoming more popular, as some women would rather work than stay at home.

    The church...well...
    I can't really put this nicely. The church is old fashioned. In a modern era they still cling to gender stereotyping. It's getting better, slowly, but change is a slow thing. Think of how weird it would have been to have a female pastor 50 years ago. Now, they're everywhere, most churches have a least one.
    Few pastors see God as more than a male figure, however there are a few verses in the bible that say things like "God is like a Mother Hen.", which should show us both that; 1) "God" is more of a multi-gender figure, and/or 2) Men can be soft and nurturing.

    I agree with Cody, Gender is social. Be who you want to be. Say screw you to labels.
    Lord knows I have. By dropping all labels (Ok, not all. I'm a Geek. That's a label I accept.) it frees you to be who you really want to be.
    You've heard me say "You wouldn't love me any other way.", well, it's truth. If you're not yourself around those closest to you, who can you be yourself around?
    Anyway, TL;DR: Be yourself, screw the world, you know who will support you.

    You know, you could call me sometime. ;)