As freethinkers, we should be aware that just because a woman can beat you in softball, doesn't make her any less "feminine".


I came across a thread this morning on the topic, and the things the men listed irked me to no end. Examples: tattoos, cursing, smoking, being able to be her own auto mechanic, short hair, being drunk, etc etc etc. Now, I don't know about the other ladies of the A|N, but I personally love having tattos, cursing (within "reason"), and being drunk (though I rarely drink).


But what is femininity?


Men and women, I want your thoughts!

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Yeah, but whatta social construct! Hubba, hubba! When I'm out drinking with my fellow ball-scratchers, we see pretty women, elbow each other in the ribs, and say, "Dude! Check out the social construct on that chick! Ssssmokin'!" Then we punch each other in the face and drink more.
I may be unpopular for saying this, but while it is currently trendy to assert the socially-constructed nature of gender (and, to some extent, sexuality), I feel it is highly unlikely that concepts surrounding gender are entirely socially constructed. There are real biological differences between the sexes which presumably have some impact on our psychology, and our psychology helps frame our conceptions. So I would simply put in a little word against the "blank slate" position.
I don't know about unpopular, but you might want to elaborate. Give examples. I agree, it may not be entirely socially constructed, but a damn good percentage of this "feminine" bs is lol.
I think a "damn good percentage" is probably right. As for examples, I would be speculating rather than providing concrete cases, and anything said on such a sensitive topic has the potential to offend, but I'll suggest one thing. Female human beings have evolved the capacity to carry children, which male human beings have not. Part of the developmental trajectory which enables this involves, generally, the production of significantly higher levels of estrogens in women than men during reproductive age. Since hormones affect how we think and act (as well as how we look and sound, for example), this would presumably play into ideas as to what constitutes "feminine" and "masculine".

This does not mean, though, that any conceptions of gender that oppress people are acceptable.
My ex had higher estrogen levels than I did because he has congenital adrenal hyperplasia, whereas I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Heck, his estrogen levels were higher than an ovulating woman. The only physical signs really on him are a little more breast tissue than normal (although, not enough to require a bra). Despite high estrogen levels, the only non-masculine thing he ever did was art. *shrug*
While we as women may be more likely to take on nurturing roles in society, as it is instinct to do so, to claim it is merely a woman's job is to give it the social construct. It demeans the role and pushes men away who may also be inclined to be nurturing. For every "rule" nature gave us, nature has also given us exceptions. Which is why we have nothing to human nature that is truly black and white. There is no true dichotomy anywhere. So while it may have an effect, I would say it is quite marginal at best. What we try, really, is categorizing things into dichotomies, and that is what creates feminine versus unfeminine. While some huge percentage of the world does easily fit in male and female, it leaves a small percentage flustered with being forced to choose one, or having the wrong one chosen for them.
I agree broadly with this, although I suspect that the effects are significantly more than "quite marginal at best". Pinker does an excellent job exploring these sorts of issues in "The Blank Slate", documenting how those on the liberal side of things tend to understate the role nature plays in our psychological makeup (that includes me as well!).
Is fashion all that fuels current interest? I'd think that one of the converging streams is it being slightly more socially acceptable for gender "variant" people to be out and about, and not living under a rock. I'm grateful that there are a few places in the world where people who don't fit easily into the assumed gender binary won't automatically get the shit kicked out of them, and that it's become more acceptable in some places where it traditionally wasn't.

Maybe it's time to start a discussion on the difference between gender and sex, and how sex may or may not influence gender. I'd be curious to explore how much sex does or doesn't influence gender, with links to current research. Unfortunately, I've been ill the past few days, and don't have the whatever it takes to ride herd on such a discussion.

If I'd thought clearly when I posted, and not just had a knee-jerk reaction, I would have replied with something like "femininity may be, to greater or lesser degrees, a social construct".
Maybe it's time to start a discussion on the difference between gender and sex, and how sex may or may not influence gender.

I think this is extremely well-put.
The defining characteristics of femininity can change based on each individuals conditioning, and the integration of past experiences. I don't think there is an absolute femininity, since everyone's idea of "being feminine" is completely different. Societal structure, gender roles, religion, and other factors play a substantial part in defining this term. Asking what is feminine is comparable to asking how high you have to be before it's considered up, in my opinion.
Some days I consider it a major feat to be standing upright. I self-designate as being up on those days.
Good comment, John.




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