Hey GIT Girls! For my first Sex Health Saturday post, I want to talk to you about femininity.
According to Wikipedia, the word femininity is “a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with girls and women. It is socially constructed, but made up of both socially-defined and biologically-created factors. This makes it distinct from the definition of the biological female sex, as BOTH males and females can exhibit feminine traits.”
Femininity and masculinity go together like yin and yang; you cannot have one without the other. At least, not in a balanced life.
However, we live in a society that places masculinity far above femininity in many areas. There is an overload of hyper-masculinity in our culture, to the point where there are women hating other women, just for being women.
I’ve been there myself – I grew up with my father mostly, and he took me hunting, fishing, dirt-bike riding, and I often dressed in boy’s clothes. I tend to be more laid-back, analytical, and less emotional than the “typical female,” and in school, I had a hard time connecting with other girls my age. As I got older, I began liking more “feminine” things such as makeup and clothes. But for a long time, I had an aversion to other girls.
One could argue that there is also a problem with hyper-femininity; many girls feel that they have to be sweet and quiet in order to be worthy, or in order to earn the affection of a man. I’ve also experienced this for myself. I allowed societal expectations to cloud my judgement, as I’m sure most of us have. And in a way, this forced me to dislike parts of myself.
As I got older, I grew to hate my body. In my mind, I related more to boys in many ways, but I had the body of a female. And according to society, it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t thin enough, or pretty enough. There was a constant competition with those around me, and I constantly wished I could just be one of the boys.
It wasn’t that I wished I had a male’s body, but it just seemed easier for them. But boys didn’t have to worry about their bodies so much, and they didn’t seem to be as shy and anxious.
But eventually, I realized…they did.
Males can struggle with the same things as any female. Maybe it manifests in different ways. Most people who identify as male would probably rather be muscular over thin, but they aren’t so different. I realized that it isn’t an issue of male or female – especially since not everyone identifies as male or female.
Gender Is Fluid
There are so many variations that it’s silly to box anyone in because of their genitals – something that is personal and private. Sex is the biological description of male or female. But gender does not apply in the same way. There are women with penises, and men with vaginas.
There are people who choose to identify with neither, or both, and all variations.
Now, there are obvious differences between a typical biologically male body and a typical biologically female body. Nature has made us this way for the sake of procreation (I’m assuming we all know how babies are made). And in the past, men were likely built to be stronger in order to protect the women and children around them. Women were built a bit softer and smaller, most likely to nurture their children.
But this is 2017. There are millions of children without parents in this world – our sole purpose in life is no longer procreation. And we should not be boxed in based on our body parts. A woman can grow to be stronger – that doesn’t make her any less feminine. A man can be softer and sweeter – that does not make him any less masculine. It is not one or the other – we are meant to express both.
Ask yourself this – does gender really matter? Does it truly affect you if a “man” tells you “he” is really a she? Does it make any difference in your life if a “girl” chooses to dress like a “boy”? These social constructs were CREATED. Not by any God-like being, not by the universe, or whatever you believe in. Human beings created them. And we can collectively demolish these constructs. We can choose to love one another, regardless of how one chooses to express themselves. We can respect one another’s decisions and desires, without grasping onto them as if they affect us in any way – because they simply don’t.
What does affect us, each and every one of us, whether directly or not, is the epidemic of depression, anxiety, suicide, drug abuse, and other mental illnesses often caused by feeling unacceptable.
When we, as a society, refuse to acknowledge that, maybe, someone can have a completely different experience of life from ours, we are doing a disservice – to ourselves, to others, to the world. You do not have to agree with something in order to accept it – and your disagreement will not change a thing, anyways. The world does not revolve around any single person, nor any specific group of people. We are all inter-connected. We are all affected by the actions of one another.
When we act out of fear, hate, or simply misunderstanding, we affect the entire system. As adults, we have the ability to create a better world for the people living today, and the people of our future. We have the ability to choose acceptance and unconditional love.
There is no “us vs. them” and there is no “you vs. me” because in the end, we are all human, and we all have our struggles.
When we tell children that “boys don’t cry”, or that “boys will be boys”, or to “sit like a lady”, or “a man won’t like you if you do that”; we create ideas in their heads of what a woman or a man should be like. We group femininity with women, and masculinity with men – making us believe it is a bad thing for a man to exhibit femininity, or a woman to have masculine traits. And when we cling so tightly to labels, it can have a negative effect on us all.
We repress parts of ourselves, and in doing so, we are not able to fully love ourselves. We are not fully able to love each other. We often judge, instead of trying to understand; instead of seeing things from another perspective.
Femininity is often associated with gentleness, understanding, nurturing, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, selflessness, vulnerability, patience, intuition, emotional intelligence, and sensuality.
Masculinity is often associated with strength, logic, confidence, competition, aggression, protection, toughness, and dominance.
But there is strength in the feminine just as there is vulnerability in the masculine. There is no right or wrong way to be human…unless you’re just being an asshole.
Let me know your thoughts on femininity, masculinity, sex, or gender.
Until then…get it together girl!