So Just What Does it Mean to be Masculine or Feminine These Days, Anyway?

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seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,168
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#1
Hey Everyone,

With all the discussion about what should be considered feminine in another thread, I would like to ask everyone just what DOES it mean to be masculine or feminine in today's culture, anyway?

The past few months, I have been watching several propaganda videos from life in the United States and UK in the 1950's. Back then, gender roles seemed clearly defined, evenif only for the camera: Dad polished off his briefcase every morning and left for work, Mom stayed at home and manned (pun intended) the home.

But in today's world where broken homes seem to be the norm and more and more people of both genders have to take on various roles in order to meet the hectic demands of life, do we still have any distinct lines as to what is considered masculine or feminine?

For instance, I know one of the chores I hated taking over after my ex-husband left was mowing the lawn. NOTHING about that entire task--being covered in dirt and yard clippings, changing the oil, sharpening the blade with a file--felt feminine to me in any way, shape, or form. But of course, it was a job that needed to be done, and so it's not like there was a choice.

And so, this topic has me thinking about such things as:

* Is washing dishes (and doing other various domestic chores) masculine or feminine?

* Is working on cars, or shooting a gun masculine or feminine?

* Is caring about your appearance and putting a lot of effort into self-care masculine or feminine?

* Is being good with technology and computers masculine or feminine?

* Is choosing to wear a scent, like perfume or cologne, masculine or feminine?

* Is being a single parent masculine or feminine, since any single parent feels the burden of trying to fill BOTH roles?

And so the list goes on. If everything these days seems to be one big blur, how DO we define what's masculine or feminine in our modern world?

Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on this topic, but as a conversation starter, how would you finish the following statements:

1. Being feminine means...

2. Being unfeminine means...

3. Being masculine means...

4. Being unmasculine means...



I find this to be a fascinating topic, and I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts. :)
 

Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
15,047
2,789
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#2
All I know is it seems to be really important to God that people be able to tell at a glance whether you are a guy or girl. The Bible talks a lot about what pertains to a man or woman, and effeminate men are not regarded highly. (Though the Bible never says anything about butch women... guess that wasn't a problem back then.) But yeah, God seems to care a lot that you look and act like what you are.
 
G

Gracie_14

Guest
#3
Is washing dishes (and doing other various domestic chores) masculine or feminine?

Hmm, this is hard. Because I believe it's both...sometimes. Of course, when you see your mum washing dishes it just naturally comes that it appears normal and feminine. But, wait until you see a man doing the dishes. I don't know but it looks just right! You know? What about sweeping/hoovering the house? That too is masculine and feminine....so, it's hard to judge.

* Is working on cars, or shooting a gun masculine or feminine?

Lol, I saw this story on CBN about this woman who has this organization that helps women to fix their cars when they break down just to avoid men to take advantage of them. And you know what, you can change your tires, change the oils or whatever while still maintaining your feminity ( like wearing your high heels!). But, in my opinion being a mechanic should remain a man thing buuut, I don't mind a female doing it lol. Honestly, who does really get the real grip on cars?


* Is caring about your appearance and putting a lot of effort into self-care masculine or feminine?

Caring about appearance is so feminine lol. But, I know male relatives who are so driven by the way their looks and making sure it's maintained in the right position. I don't know. In today's culture, males are sometimes driven to put a lot of effort into self-care.
 
G

Gracie_14

Guest
#4
All I know is it seems to be really important to God that people be able to tell at a glance whether you are a guy or girl. The Bible talks a lot about what pertains to a man or woman, and effeminate men are not regarded highly. (Though the Bible never says anything about butch women... guess that wasn't a problem back then.)
Yeah, I agree.
 

Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
15,047
2,789
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#5
One thing I do know, and this applies to a LOT of aspects of my life - it is not my responsibility to ensure other people are meeting what I think are the standards they should meet. "Dude look like a lady" was a song that was accurate, but unnecessary. (But it keeps running through my head ever since this thread dropped.)

It's like the job I do at my workplace. I am responsible for me doing a good job. I'm not responsible for making sure my coworkers don't slack off.

I know what is masculine for me and what is effeminate for me, but I have no interest in setting rules for every other guy in the world. It would be like trying to teach a pig to sing - it wouldn't be very productive and it would annoy the pig.
 

PennEd

Senior Member
Apr 22, 2013
7,784
3,973
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#6
It is masculine to love your wife, to care for her, to protect her. Now how that has been implemented in twisted ways is one of the reasons why marriages fail. We warp the beauty of that mandate with being overbearing and abusive.

It is feminine to respect your husband, to care for him, to build him up in his own eyes, and the eyes of others. That has been warped into either allowing destructive behavior, or conversely attempting to feminize him.


Obviously men need love, and women need respect too, but the Biblical mandate has revealed what our respective roles should be.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
1,489
1,254
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#7
Speaking for myself, I'm fairly open about gender roles. But that's not to say I don't feel some things are not gender specific.
For example, to me, short hair on a woman is not feminine. So I find myself attracted to women with longer hair and rarely attracted to women with short hair. Ironically long hair on a man is not feminine to me, but I did grow up in the hair metal era, so no doubt that swayed my view.
Also the way a woman speaks can seem masculine or feminine. A lot of cussing sounds masculine to me. Or things such as calling people dude a lot.
I do often feel more comfortable if, outside of the home, roles are more traditionally performed. I may feel awkward taking my car to get repaired by a female. But if she shows herself capable then that will dissolve and I will be fine with her doing repairs in the future.

I'm odd in I prefer traditional roles, but I'm not rigid about it. I'd rather a good female mechanic than a bad male mechanic haha.
And I can out vacuum most women, strange as it may sound. And I'm pretty good about washing dishes as I'm picky about them actually getting clean.

But whatever my views are I don't criticize others usually for not abiding by my standards. I may not like it but it's not my business. And I know sometimes reversals from the traditional can't be helped for outside reasons.
 
J

Jennie-Mae

Guest
#8
I think being feminine, amongst many other things, is respecting your husband, acknowledging his position as the head of the family, taking care of the domestic chores and care for him in a way that only you, as a loving wife can do.
 

cinder

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2014
3,146
1,164
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#9
My first thought on the topic is something about why do we need such categories and do people really spend the much time thinking about such things in relation to themselves? Some of that may be because women with my personality type are often viewed as
" not being kind, wholesome or affectionate. And of course, they were seen as not feminine or interested in the opposite sex. It was generally found that Thinking women as a group were viewed in a more negative light than Feeling women." (from the secret lives of INTJ's). But we're good at analysis so here's what I come up with when I analyze my associations with those words:

Feminine is usually used as a synonym for emotionally warm and caring, beneficial but unecessary enchancements or adornments, and those things that seem welcoming, inviting, and hospitable.

Masculine is usually used as a synonym for strong, excitingly adventurous, a bit untamed and rough around the edges, emotionally independent, and having the courage to make the difficult decisions regardless of emotional factors or costs.

Looking at it that way it seems we're trying to divide up people into those who get stuff done (the masculine) and those who create space for being and connecting (the feminine). Or at least if we have to categorize I think that's a good start on a rough outline.
 
R

RodB65

Guest
#10
Well, I've sat here and typed a reply, only to erase it three times. I agree with Lnyx, I know what is feminine and masculine to me, I just keep it to myself.
 

Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
15,047
2,789
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#11
My first thought on the topic is something about why do we need such categories and do people really spend the much time thinking about such things in relation to themselves? Some of that may be because women with my personality type are often viewed as
" not being kind, wholesome or affectionate. And of course, they were seen as not feminine or interested in the opposite sex. It was generally found that Thinking women as a group were viewed in a more negative light than Feeling women." (from the secret lives of INTJ's). But we're good at analysis so here's what I come up with when I analyze my associations with those words:

Feminine is usually used as a synonym for emotionally warm and caring, beneficial but unecessary enchancements or adornments, and those things that seem welcoming, inviting, and hospitable.

Masculine is usually used as a synonym for strong, excitingly adventurous, a bit untamed and rough around the edges, emotionally independent, and having the courage to make the difficult decisions regardless of emotional factors or costs.

Looking at it that way it seems we're trying to divide up people into those who get stuff done (the masculine) and those who create space for being and connecting (the feminine). Or at least if we have to categorize I think that's a good start on a rough outline.
That's the problem with trying to define all this. It's like trying to figure out what chili tastes like. Different people have eaten different kinds of chili, and even if we had eaten all the same exact kind we have all filtered it through different sets of taste buds. No way you can put a hard-and-fast definition on it.
 

melita916

Senior Member
Aug 12, 2011
9,865
1,962
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#12
as a teen/young adult, i believed femininity was about being girly - hair and make up, clothes shopping, shoe shopping, and giggling.

and for the longest time, i struggled because i didn't fit this definition i had in mind. i always felt like i was doing everything wrong. one time, i overheard my brother say to someone i was a tomboy. i thought, "what? i'm not a tomboy. i don't like sports and i hate being outside!" lol
 

Solemateleft

Honor, Courage, Commitment
Jun 25, 2017
1,281
1,116
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#13
So regarding the terms Femininity and Masculinity - I will merely revert to and offer the wikipedia descriptions copied below.

Femininity (also called girlishness, womanliness or womanhood) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Femininity is partially socially constructed, being made up of both socially-defined and biologically-created factors.[2][3][4] This makes it distinct from the definition of the biological female sex,[5][6] as both males and females can exhibit feminine traits.
Traits traditionally cited as feminine include gentleness, empathy, and sensitivity,[7][8][9] though traits associated with femininity vary depending on location and context, and are influenced by a variety of social and cultural factors.[10]

Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with boys and men. As a social construct, it is distinct from the definition of the male biological sex.[1][2] Standards of manliness or masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods.[3] Both males and females can exhibit masculine traits and behavior.[4]
Traits traditionally viewed as masculine in Western society include strength, courage, independence, violence,[5] and assertiveness.[6][7][8] Machismo is a form of masculinity that emphasizes power and is often associated with a disregard for consequences and responsibility.[9] Virility (from the Latin vir, "man") is similar to masculinity, but especially emphasizes strength, energy, and sex drive.

For the time being I will defer on what I think is intended as one of the underlying question for addressing male vs female roles... Still pondering...
 
W

Wild

Guest
#14
I wash dishes and work on my car and am a man last time I checked. But living alone will force one to do such tasks.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,168
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#15
Well, I've sat here and typed a reply, only to erase it three times. I agree with Lnyx, I know what is feminine and masculine to me, I just keep it to myself.
Aw, Mr. Rod, I hope that in time you'll feel comfortable enough to share. :)

Thanks to everyone for putting in the time and effort to answer this, and I hope people will continue to do so.

As I was reading through the answers, I think it's interesting that what is "masculine" or "feminine" seems to be a deeply personal subject, and PennEd's post has me thinking about what God would say vs. what our culture says.

I've been thinking of the very simple example of putting on a fragrance. Some scents are deemed "masculine", some are labeled "feminine", and some claim that they are "unisex" (I used to be a big fan of Calvin Klein's CK One.)

I have to wonder what God would say... Maybe He'd say, "Who cares? Get back to doing what I called you to do..." :)

Anyway... Thank you all for the great discussion and I hope that people will continue to voice their thoughts.
 
R

RodB65

Guest
#16
Aw, Mr. Rod, I hope that in time you'll feel comfortable enough to share. :)

Thanks to everyone for putting in the time and effort to answer this, and I hope people will continue to do so.

As I was reading through the answers, I think it's interesting that what is "masculine" or "feminine" seems to be a deeply personal subject, and PennEd's post has me thinking about what God would say vs. what our culture says.

I've been thinking of the very simple example of putting on a fragrance. Some scents are deemed "masculine", some are labeled "feminine", and some claim that they are "unisex" (I used to be a big fan of Calvin Klein's CK One.)

I have to wonder what God would say... Maybe He'd say, "Who cares? Get back to doing what I called you to do..." :)

Anyway... Thank you all for the great discussion and I hope that people will continue to voice their thoughts.
A :(! .. You have me a :(?
:cool:
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,168
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#17
A :(! .. You have me a :(?
:cool:
Hi Rod!

I put a sad face by your post because it sounded like you wanted to share, but maybe didn't feel comfortable doing so. :(

I am hoping you'll change your mind. :)
 

17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
542
255
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#18
I'm pretty sure the gender lines are blurred because men and women just don't follow God's Word. If you want to know the truth, I think many roles of men and women have melded together because of sex before marriage or of non-commitment (usually both). It has diminished the strength of males leaving the females to compensate. And when the female indemnifies the male role the male is left to recompense the female role. Bottom line, you end up having shared washrooms and guys in dresses.

For we that call ourselves Christians, this ought to ring a bell a little? Our witness to Christ our Savior to others isn't about kumbaya or getting folks to come to church. It's about solving this kind of crap.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
1,489
1,254
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#19
@seoulsearch
"I have to wonder what God would say... Maybe He'd say, "Who cares? Get back to doing what I called you to do..."

It seems to me, at least up to a point, some of these things may be dictated by culture.
To my knowledge there is a very limited given explanation on such topics in the bible and thus fall into that grey area of personal conviction.
There was a time when a woman wearing pants of any kind was seen as wrong as women were expected to only wear dresses. Current culture sees that as ridiculous, but at the time it could be thought of as spiritually wrong that a woman wear pants, to a degree at least.
Current culture has different values on such matters and this means the perception by modern culture will be different.




And before anyone accuses me of saying to only follow culture, that is not what I said. But culture does influence perception and unless something goes against the bible then go along with that cultural standard may be a benefit.
 

Solemateleft

Honor, Courage, Commitment
Jun 25, 2017
1,281
1,116
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#20
Regarding Male and Female roles: I’m all for sharing duties with my future life partner.

Although I grew up a momma’s boy, blessed with a mother who tended to do everything for everybody… I was accustomed to doing my own laundry, making my own bed, cooking and doing the dishes well before I ever married. Even while I was married, I found myself sharing the household chores while taking on all the traditional male roles myself…

BTW, I never sharped my own mower blades – I’ve always taken the mower in every couple years for routine maintenance at a local rural farm equipment shop that employs HS boys and girls…

I suspect that I would be deemed a Masculine person who demonstrates strength, courage, independence and assertiveness (only when it is called for to stand up for truth, fairness and justice…). While at the same time I’ve never been afraid to show my feelings, passion, or sensitive side.

Funny, I laugh that my son is so confident in his masculinity that he is not afraid to wear a tutu during a race or spirit week; I too was known to do my Flip Wilson Geraldine impersonation when I was a kid.

Of course I absolutely appreciate and admire the finer famine qualities of a woman who demonstrates gentleness, empathy and sensitivity. At the same time, having been raised by the strongest woman I know (widowed and raised 6 kids on her own) – I have so much respect and admiration for women who demonstrate some of those same masculine characteristics: strength, courage, independence and assertiveness (to a degree lol)…