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What makes you feel feminine/masculine?

Discussion in 'General (Off Topic)' started by eriffire, Jun 30, 2020 at 5:26 PM.  |  Print Topic

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  1. eriffire
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    This is something I often ponder, as a woman who has never been very “girly,” (and I actually question what even that word means) particularly as lines between genders become blurred ever more, and we move away from the idea of gender-specific roles, I find myself interested in what it means to be a man or woman these days, or what it will mean in the future. I actually went through some issues with my gender, partly as a result of feelings of not fitting in with the image of what I felt a woman is meant to be, but have since realised that I get to decide what that should look like for me personally, and I’m very secure in my identity as a woman nowadays. However, I couldn’t say what it is exactly that makes me a woman, other than a feeling of “just knowing.”

    So I was just hoping to get some answers from people on here, as I feel that this is an issue particularly important to the LGBT+ community.

    What does it mean to you to be masculine or feminine?
     
  2. john1010101
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    I swore to myself I wasn’t going to get involved in discussions here again but your post really has pressed by buttons.
    From an early age I could never understand why characteristics were supposed to be the exclusive property of males or females. When I read your “ - - not fitting in with the image of what I felt a woman is meant to be - - “. I thought (given the constant pressure society places on us from the cradle to the grave telling us what we should or shouldn’t be) how are we to know where our feelings of what we should or shouldn’t be come from? Then we have the question of the endless pressure the patriarchy continues to attempt to squash all of us under . Why can’t women be strong, brave, resourceful and determined without being called ‘butch’ as an insult? Why can’t men, or any shade of gender, be allowed to be sensitive, caring etc?
    I’m reminded of two scenarios that often puzzle me. The displays of hyper masculinity supposedly straight males make towards each other when gathered, for instance, admiring a new car. Their body language can be mind boggling. Without a hint of anything like self awareness they appear to be saying. ‘I’m a real man so don’t go looking at my arse mate’.
    Then there’s an even more puzzling scene I’ve witnessed more than a few times when I’ve been with straight female friends entering a gay bar only to have lesbian women treat my friends as pieces of meat in exactly the same way straight males ( whom they often claim to loathe) treat women in general. Granted in some western societies these stereotypes are changing. A woman entering the armed forces is less often accused of being a ‘bull dyke’ for doing so, and a male taking up classical ballet is less often regarded as a sissy. Interestingly these problems are still more common in authoritarian nations. Nations invariably run by male, chauvinist pigs - - and that leads to a whole other discussion.
    Excuse the rave Eriffire but your post really pressed my buttons. I’ll now retreat back into my usual silence.
     
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    #2 john1010101, Jun 30, 2020 at 5:57 PM
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 10:28 PM
  3. eriffire
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    john1010101 rave away! It’s precisely for my feelings of disillusionment with the different expectations of men and women that leads me to find myself feeling so confused about what it is that *really* separates the sexes, or genders. Nowadays it’s deemed acceptable for women to wear men’s clothes, but not for men to wear women’s. What causes that? As someone who is privileged enough to be able to express myself in any way I wish without feeling uncomfortable doing so, I can’t help but feel that perhaps some of the things we cling onto, notions, limitations, etc, are of our own design, put there to make us feel nice and snug in our cosy little boxes. Due to my position of privilege (in this case as a woman, who can wear clothes of whichever “gender” I choose,) I wonder if those feelings are influenced by my own bias.

    I’m getting too deep into this now! Lol. I really just want to know what makes people feel like the man or woman they are. We can’t really say “well, I like cars...” nowadays, after all.
     
  4. AudryLeigh
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    Sometimes they can. Never heard anyone call Xena the Warrior Princess 'butch' (gay, but definitely not butch). Or how about Cleopatra, Mary Magdalene, or Boadicea? My own personal feeling is that a strong woman is very HOT, very sexy! Farm girls are usually all those things and if you call one of them 'butch' she's likely to hurt you, in her lace trimmed gingham work dress or her jeans (gotta love farm girls). Most female athletes are not butch, but they'll run you over if you get in their way, Barbie doll pony tails and all.

    For me, feeling feminine is a subtle thing. I'm a 'ruffles and lace and ribbons and bows' girl, but bully someone in my presence (or try to bully me) and I'll turn into the Warrior Woman from Hell, no matter how big or masculine or butch you actually are. Ruffles and lace (and a little perfume) make me feel like a girl, justified, active, defiant defensiveness makes me feel like a woman, but both make me feel female. I've scared the Hell out of plenty of misogynistic bar turds, and no one has ever called me butch, nor does standing up to such people make me feel anything less than feminine. A true gentleman (read that gentle man) seems much more masculine to me than mouthy bar jerks. A man who can keep his cool and still dominate a situation is, to me, a man's man (think James Bond's 007). Though many males don't get it, winning a fight neither makes you right nor cool. Right is determined by facts, and cool is being able to handle a dick head without messing up your hair, or spilling anyone's blood. Masculinity seems easier to describe to me than femininity. I lived as a man in a sometimes very toxic masculine world for 59 years, yet actually being a woman didn't lose me any respect. Oddly, now that I'm a woman, I can make an aggressive person back down easier than I could when I was a man. Maybe it's because I learned all the intimidation skills of a man and now confuse aggressive males when I get more defensive than they are aggressive. I've seen petite, pretty little girls take out big "manly" men without losing a touch of femininity. Earrings back in and back on the dance floor, the girl hardly missed a step, while the bully ends up in a corner sucking down beer and licking his wounds -- and talking big (while acting small). Females are mysterious while most guys are transparent. Anyway, I'm rambling, but those are some of my thoughts. I guess having been both, my views are pretty complex.

    Hugs,
    Audry Leigh
     
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  5. Jayme82
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    Being gender fluid myself I can be wearing a dress and feel masculine or vice versa be wearing men's dress pants and a men's button up dress shirt and feel very feminine. clothing doesn't really make the person in my opinion the person wearing them can make them into whatever gender they wish them to be or none at all if that is what they wish their clothing style to represent just themselves and not their gender.
    I didn't always look at things that way but now I just look at my wide variety of clothes designed for both sexes as my clothes, clothes for me Jayme and not my men's clothing or my women's clothing. I in settings where I need to be in a gender box I do think oh well I need to wear what people perceive as men's clothes today but are just Jayme's clothes to me.
    I find it a shame that people want to put us into boxes when I and many others don't fit into one specific box we are just ourselves and I wish one day that would be our new reality that I'm just Jayme and you are just you not that your either a man or a woman.
     
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  6. unicorndice
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    I am a cisgender woman but have never fallen into the traditional ideas of femininity. I was a tomboy growing up, I hated skirts and dresses (I still do most of the time), I've never liked wearing makeup, and my wardrobe doesn't scream "girly" (it's mostly t-shirts and jeans). I've even kept my hair short for many years but recently have grown it out past my shoulders due to COVID-19. My only real feeling of femininity has been being secure in myself as a woman. I'm sorry I couldn't provide a more helpful answer, but I'm commenting because I myself am curious on how others define their femininity and masculinity.
     
  7. AudryLeigh
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    I'm sorry, but I find that to be irresistibly sexy. I can't pull off the look, but on those who can... O M G ! I probably offended some people and I'm sorry for that, but I'm just saying how I feel, not making any kind of statement -- just how I feel.

    Hugs,
    Aud
     
  8. Rinxie

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    For the life of me, I couldn't tell you what masculinity and femininity feel like. That's one reason I think I'm nonbinary. I've always associated masculinity with strength and handiness, and femininity with sensitivity and nurturing, but those are the roles our society says we should play.
    As a "boy", I used to want to be strong, tough, silent (though this was also my way of dealing with being bullied).

    Growing up, I always made myself shy away from anything remotely feminine. Pink colors, hearts, even shows or games with a female main character. But after coming out as trans, I've been able to buy a bunch of women's clothes... only to largely gravitate towards more neutral-looking clothing. But I've also started to paint my nails, because it's pretty. I'm generally uncomfortable in dresses, but that may be because of my body; dresses aren't really made for my proportions.
    Really, the more I think I'm nonbinary, the easier it's been for me to just wear whatever I want without worrying about masculinity and femininity.
     
  9. Kahlan

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    Is femininity/masculinity linked to science in that when a male produces testosterone, they are masculine, and when a woman produces estrogen, they are feminine? When a trans person takes estrogen or testosterone, or that which blocks what they want to stop producing, is it in an effort to become more masculine or feminine, or more male or female? and are the two irrevocably linked? So is a woman more masculine because she produces less or more of one or the other? Are behaviors learned and imitated, a sign of anything but cultural understanding of what the two poles are?
    I've never felt clothing, makeup, jewelry, and even behavior are definers of what it is to be fem/masc....these are adjustable based on customs, culture, and timelines of civilization. So does the answer lie is science or perhaps the soul? I don't know, I'm not sure anyone can really "know" but we can make shit up and often do.
     
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    #9 Kahlan, Jul 1, 2020 at 3:37 PM
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 3:40 PM
  10. eriffire
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    I’ve enjoyed all of these answers (and those given to me in person too.)

    What I’m getting from this is that it’s a very personal thing, different for each person, and everyone has their own independent sense of what makes them masculine or feminine. Somehow this has been very affirming to me.

    I am aware that the answers on a forum for LGBT+ people are likely to be fairly in line with my own way of thinking, so I’m going to make it my mission to try to talk about this to a range of people I know.

    I’d love to know what answers would be given by children: “what makes you a girl/boy?” I’m assuming that some of them would be rather amusing and blunt, but I’m intrigued to know.
     
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  11. AudryLeigh
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    I hope you pass those along. I too am intrigued to know what children think and how they see this in the 21st century.

    Hugs,
    Audry
     
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  12. Jayme82
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    I having two younger nephews (8 and 4) have a little experience in the kids matter although I haven't talked to my youngest nephew on the subject I have my older nephew about 6 or so months ago he bluntly said because he had boy parts and just was one because he had boys toys and liked boy things (camping, fishing. Etc)
    This all came up because he played with his cousins dolls when he visited her I saw how it bothered him as if he had done something wrong I reassured him that he could play with dolls if he so chose to that there wasn't anything wrong with that he seemed to be happy to hear that.

    Kids seem to see things in black and white right or wrong we learn as we get older it's not that simple. I remember at 5 or 6 putting on my mom's clothes and not understanding why i had such a urge to do so any time I could.. I felt as comfortable in her clothes as my own supposed boys clothes. I thought it was wrong and couldn't understand why I kept doing it over and over and in the moment it didn't feel wrong but after I took them off I worried my mom would figure out I'd been wearing them and I'd go through terrible shame for having put them on. As I got older and the internet fired up with all the information we have at our fingertips now I learned about trans people and gender fluid people and looking back at my childhood it all clicked for me who I was and that I never had anything wrong with me I just hadn't discovered who I truly was and on that day my life as I knew it changed for the better it felt like I was seeing things in black and white and finally realized the world was in color.
     
  13. Akchaya
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    I look at being feminine and masculine as the type of personality a person might have. Eventhough i consider myself as feminine, i dont associate it with my gender. i love wearing skirts and putting on makeup, but i identify as agender. I guess, what i'm trying to say is that being feminine or masculine doesn't represent your gender, instead your personality and interests, but, i mean, it is possible to be both as well.
     

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