Gender

Lol-taire's picture

Alright so it's de rigueuer nowadays for the girlies to be questioning their gender, right?

Well what is feminine anyway?
Or masculine, for that matter.

I'll weigh in later, because this time I'm more interested in what you have to say than in the sound of my own voice.

wilma wonka's picture

de rigueuer?

means what? anyways, femeninity and masculinity are all mostly stereotypes. but i think most people naturally fit a good portion of most of them without even trying to. So does that mean that they're not really stereotypes because they're so true, i don't want to be sexist but i can't help but have noticed how girly so many of the girls i know are. anyways, gender identity doesn't really have much to do with which stereotypes you act like, it's more about who you identify as. I think this identity matures or at least our awarness of it does as we age. Well, I did anyways. We just started a unit on gender in my health class, I'm sure we'll have a disscussion on this sort of thing in the very near future and I'll post anything i gain from that disscussion on here.
Why did i use the word anyways that many times? i'm so wierd

"gay: cheerful and lighthearted; merry." - The American Heritage Dictionary.

Icarus's picture

maybe you mean: de rigueur:

maybe you mean: de rigueur: a French expression that literally means "of rigor" or "of strictness". In English language usage, it means, "necessary according to etiquette, protocol or fashion."

in any case, feminine and masculine are basically psychological roles given to the male and female sex. feminine is used in order to describe delicate, womanly attributes, while masculine is used to describe more harsh, tough, male attributes. to be honest, i think the whole gender role thing's a crock.

to be masculine or feminine is really a societal thing. what's considered feminine in one culture could be considered masculine or even freakish in another. i mean, in parts of Africa, neck rings, which elongate the neck to astounding proportions is considered feminine and beautiful.

the ideals of masculinity and femininity have also changed throughout the years. masculinity once meant to be openly affectionate with other males without worry about reputation, but now that would be considered taboo and even effeminate.

really, these gender roles are stereotypes society and the media try to force us into. they make girls think that they're not normal unless they wear dresses and makeup and play with dolls and all that stuff. for boys it's even worse. boys aren't "Boys" unless they rough house and fight and play in the dirt and all that. if they show the slightest hint of being effeminate, they're labeled as "wusses" or in this day and age "fags".

in summary:

A.) Psychology probably had a lot to do with this, in their effort to compartmentalize and label everything in order to "understand" it. What people don't seem to understand is, psychology isn't about labeling and putting things into boxes because the human mind is wholly unknowable.

B.) Masculinity and Femininity really in essence don't exist. in terms of mental gender, we're all genderless for a while and even then, some don't go in the direction that parents and society want us to take. Girls take to wearing overalls and playing in the mud while boys are happier playing with dolls and singing along to Christina Aguilera.

that's just my 2 cents.

Lyddie's picture

Dude. I totally thought it

Dude. I totally thought it was just fancy way to say "The regular."

Oh, and I pretty much second what you said.

Ginger's picture

I believe that the

I believe that the terminology in the field of sexuality has been adopted by the field or practice of gender studies in a way that is both as understandible and inevitable as it is misguided. It isnt that I dont believe that everyone does have a very distinct and unique gender identity, just that the concept of labeling that gender identity or of "questioning" that identity is not practical or accurate.
Gender identity should be, really, something that has to do more with you than with other people. Is it really neccessary to announce something like that in terms that have become so specific and alienated from popular culture that we have to explain the meaning with the label? labels should cause things to become less ambiguous, which is helpful in situations where there are a few, distinct labels that most people are familiar with and which apply to qualities which do affect the people or society that you interact with.
The term questioning as applied to gender identy seems very misguided and it seems as though exploring would be a more accurate and descriptive term.
I think that terms such as genderqueer, male and female should simply apply to the anatomical situation that your gender identity relates to instead of to your actual gender, which i feel is best left unnamed.

Inkblot's picture

It's all sort of silly

Do what you want, call yourself by your own name, wear whatever looks good and fuck all the rest.

Do I shock you darling?
-Sally Bowles, Cabaret

Adam A's picture

meow

i like u u'r cheeky. u'r a smart older girl right, or a smart older guy when u'r gay there's barely a difference.
about u'r topic, who gives tities? like inkblot our resident gothic vampire lady said, only less agressively, do what you want and if others have a problem with it it's their problem. i love all the freaks anyway.

INKBLOT, OMG I LOVE YOU I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE STILL HERE YOU SILLY GOTHIC RETARD LETS GET MARRIED AND HAVE EMO CHILDREN! I HOPE U'R KEEPING WELL MY SWEET SEND ME A PRIVATE MESSEGE AND WE'LL HOOK UP IN AN ELEVATOR OK DARLING?
toodles

Disney's picture

lost_in_wonderland aced it!

Wonderland's response seems spot on to me, but for reference to today's Western/modern cultures, I think I would add a question of: What isn't a stereotype? Every adjective we ascribe to someone comes with a reference to past experiences, biases and society's perception of that adjective.

So when someone is called a "dwarf", in Canada that might seem highly offensive to some people who are aware that dwarfism is a difficult reality for thousands of people, whereas in the Southern USA, it might seem funny and like something out of Snow White. To someone with little people relatives, it might seem a mix of the two, but more serious than not. And then my interpretation of those three individuals/groups (Canadians, Americans and a relative of the stereotyped group) is tainted by my own biases and learnings, so my alluding to Southern US people as potentially being rednecks might be highly offensive to a GLBT Texan here who doesn't agree, or is patriotic.

To me,
Feminine = Delicate
Masculine = Strong

Men and Women can be both, those in-between the genders (you know what I mean, don't get nit-picky over my wording!) can be both as well. But if someone seems feminine, they are likely to seem more innocent, in need of protecting, willowy. Someone who extols masculine virtue would probably seem ready to step in and take charge or protect, youthful but not YOUNG, fatherly but not ELDERLY.

I think Western (and for the record, Western primarily = European nations and North America, with Australia, Japan and some other nations included from the late 20th Century onward) societies have progressed a lot as Wonderland noted, with Victorian masculinity equating to acting like a gentleman with serious mental intellect in addition to courtesy, fitness and the will/determination/passion and fire of a man somewhere in there (at other points in time, religious strength might have been key, think of a masculine preacher or evangelical). Now, masculinity has been stripped of a lot of that, amounting to purely *strength*. An Abercrombie ad (or any major male US retailer's ad for that matter) highlights that well enough, but youth is tied up in there for marketing, and so is sexuality. Still, you don't see gentleman, intellect, will or drive in there. Some determination or passion maybe, but it's sad if you think of how reduced the connotations behind a meaning have gotten. Or vice versa even.

As for femininity, I think that it's gained some attributes over time, as well as lost them. What was femininity hundreds of years ago? Well, subservience was warped into it, but so was being homely. Then things varied more between classes for the femininity of a noblewoman and that of a peasant's wife for instance. A feminine noblewoman might have been expected to converse softly in different languages, be skilled in the *arts* of weaving, drawing, painting, piano/music etc. For a poorer woman, femininity might revolve around baking, smiling, being a mother, tending to your work-tired husband, being the homemaker. Over time, it would seem that the noblewoman's femininity has died out, only to see a resurgence in a lot of ways, i.e. the ideal of sexy. You can transform a lot of things to make them seem sexy or dirty, but the 1950's homemakers seem to have been obliterated in place of the sexy, feminine, multitasking, educated, thin, demure European girl. I'm not sure if I could call modern femininity innocent any more, but then the concept of Eve is entangled with innocence lost so hmm.

All of these characterizations are rather big generalizations though, but that's what stands out to me right now typing. Still, I think femininity being equivalent to delicate and masculinity equating strength has applied very well off and on, and in the case of masculinity, it always has. Look at the way delicate and strength are noted back there, bolding one and italicizing another does make a difference, all because of connotations.

Imagine what gay or lesbian may mean in 20 years. Imagine what femininity and masculinity may mean. Personally, I think the best way to look at it is know what society was, is and may become, but to hold your own values and considerations of others, especially if approaching a relationship. Don't fall for someone because you like stereotypically femme girls, or men who are bears. Fall for them and realize what attracted you outside of a stereotype, look for what differentiates them from a stereotype.

Hmm, delicate+strong = ?

You're Amazing.