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What is Masculinity? What is Femininity?

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    What is Masculinity? What is Femininity?

    I considered starting two separate threads for this - but it seems impossible to define one without juxtaposing it against the other. So, let's have at it. What is the essence of masculinity and/or femininity? Feel free to write posts about one and not the other, or to incorporate both into your post.

    #2
    There are two schools of thought: one as defined by society, one as defined by biology. There's overlap, of course. Buuuuuuut I'm not going into that. I see that distinction as largely irrelevant.

    --- --- ---

    Masculine: Yang, phallic, positive (charge), sun (day), conscious, extroversion,...

    Feminine: Yin, receptive, negative (charge), moon (night), unconscious, introversion,...

    However, this is entirely missing the Androgynous (neutral charge) element. The Enneagram addresses this more fully.

    IMakeLists
    Sleep on the Ceiling - Erosian Exile

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      #3
      I agree with what Daeva is getting at.

      The cultural ideas are arbitrary and what remains consistent is the biology that we can't get away from. However, transgenderism forces us to reconsider and ask ourselves: is masculinity and femininity purely biological? One might argue that some transpeople are 'going with the trend' (a very un-PC thing to say!) - but there are also transpeople who we would never know were born with the biology of another gender. So, how can we justify saying it's just biology? At the same time, cultural ideas are even less important because of how much they change. So what the difference really is - is energetic, like Daeva described.

      This was an old post of mine on a similar topic:


      Before Aphrodite, there were other depictions of the “Goddess of Beauty.” In the Sumerian Tablets, this was Inanna – somewhere between Te and Se. She was later known as Ishtar.



      She was the Goddess of War, and the way she went about warring was Se; in that she seduced men and tricked them at the last minute. She was sent to rule over areas near India, which is why Goddesses like Kali were given importance there later, endowed with war prowess and trickster-like sexuality. Kali embodies Se clearly.



      In these early cultures, someone like me would have been closer to what is seen as the Ultimate Feminine.
      Although it would be even better if I were an 8 core instead of 4 core, to fit that role. A little more war.



      Over the years, the Western cultures took the Sx and the 8 out of female ideals, and turned them into Soc or Sp style Goddesses with pristine morals. The ultimate Sp/So 2w1 "light 2" and "light SiFe" saint is Jesus’s mother who gave birth to the Messiah without having sex.



      This is, by no means, a universal, timeless way of viewing an ideal woman.

      Aphrodite is a cousin of Mary – in that Aphrodite is a "light" 2w3. She’s jealous of other women who are considered beautiful, but never warlike. Compared to Innanna and Ishtar, she is more modest – instead of squeezing her privates with a taunting smirk, she covers them with a coy smile.



      Yet, Inanna was here first.

      In the summaries I've read of Sumerian tablets, she was depicted as Sx 8w7. Lusty, dangerous, strong, seductive, magnetic, ruthless. Her visceral desire was Se to the bone, and her style embodied the trickster, tricking and laughing at her prey. There were major Te themes in “justice” and cunning tactics for war, and I might place her overall as Te > Se, but she was not Fe. Kali and Ishtar could be seen in many depictions as 2s, but always dark 2s with strong 8 components and heavy SeTe.

      The meaning of Beauty changes over the centuries, just as the idea of “Good guy vs. Bad guy” changes over the centuries.

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        #4
        Mysti - take note, this was what I was talking about with SeTe not necessarily being 'masculine' but being, potentially, 'forceful feminine.'

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          #5
          This Inanna chick looks like she might have been some sort of hybrid. Look at her feet.
          Turning pain into power.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Volcana View Post
            Dem hips tho.

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            • Animal
              Animal commented
              Editing a comment
              Yup. We want your gaze all to ourselves. ?

            • RALA
              RALA commented
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              https://giphy.com/gifs/ZaF4Vl1NQxwaVsStQU/html5

            • Vive
              Vive commented
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              I know the statue is supposed to be a goddess, but now that I look at it, the statue seems like a distant and wayward member of the barbapapa family. Like a proto barba-mama

            #7
            I don’t have much in the way of “this is men’s” or this is “women’s” areas or definition notions and I’m thankful for that, since my upbringing probably contributed to it.

            That’s not to say I don’t see differences. I do. Big time. But, the need to pigeon hole many aspects of it has always struck me as ?? I find it kind of interesting in an alien observant way when people do put markers on what is “feminine” vs. “masculine”.


            “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

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              #8
              Click image for larger version

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              Woman. No fem/mas division needed.
              “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.” Johannes Brahms

              Comment


                #9
                I think masculinity boils down to four archetypal energies in the male psyche, those being the king, the warrior, the magician, and the lover. You see these represented throughout time and across cultures, sometimes even whole cultures take on certain archetypal energies. Sparta, and Nazi Germany for example are both cultures that took on the warrior archetype to it's full extreme.

                At the heart of it is something darker, more dangerous, more wild, and more unrestrained than most energy you see with femininity. Although, the feminine can be wild, dangerous, and dark, but it manifests differently. Whereas the feminine in that mode tends to be more manipulative and calculating, the masculine tends to be more aggressive and violent. Men and women have the capacity, both of them, to take on masculine or feminine traits of the other, but how it manifests is usually still distinctly male or female. Joan of Arc, or Boudica for instance as good examples of female warriors in touch with masculine energy, or Picasso and Miles Davis as artists in touch with feminine energy.

                Because masculine energy is so wild and aggressive early on, ancient cultures had better leadership and guidance from elders, community, and specifically other men in the society to show boys what healthy masculinity is. There was initiation, ritual initiation, and a general sense that once you passed this initiation you were accepted fully into society as a man. Outside of the military or gang initiations, you don't really have that at all for men, which is why there is a crisis in masculinity. They don't know what it is to be a man because there is no guidance, they have a culture telling them that natural masculine traits are toxic, and a society and largely views them as expendable. This is why you have higher rates of addiction, suicide, and incarceration with males today. They've lost that essence of what healthy masculinity looks like, they have no role models, and instead they take on surrogate role models who aren't healthy either.

                To look at it another way, in a generation, they've grown soft, complacent, and a lot of them are just going through the motions. Addicted to video games, pornography, drugs and alcohol, with no real moral compass, no strong vision for themselves or society, struggling in romantic relationships, struggling in professional life, and overall pretty aimless. It's a sad state of affairs. And a big part of me thinks that if the males of today had to take on the axis powers in WWII, we wouldn't have been able to win today because the males of today have grown so soft. While the young men of today are protesting conservative speakers on college campuses, talking about toxic masculinity, and wearing their hair in man buns, the young men of the Great Generation were fighting on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, confronting actual evil. I guarantee you every 18, 19, 20 year old became a man on D-Day. Every young man fighting in Peleliu knew the great masculine potentials of courage, sacrifice, duty, and fighting for a worthy cause.

                To get back to what a healthy masculinity is, it's a sense of standing firm in your convictions and sacrificing for the greater good, whether that's going to war, taking on leadership roles in your community, or just raising a family. It is nurturing and generative, it is neither envious or threatened by the wild energy of youth, but seeks to mentor it and guide it into something stronger and better. Likewise, it does not fear the feminine, does not lash out in anger at it, but see's it as it's compliment. It is action based and results oriented. It focuses on solutions, not problems. A man in his full capacity will not fear challenge, but seek it out. He'll have the fire in the belly, and appreciate the grind, the struggle, the hard work. He'll revel in the sacred feminine knowing that his masculine essence compliments her femininity and vice versa. He'll not shy away from the hard calls, or duty, not for fame or glory or recognition, but because it needs to be done. And he'll have the highest respect not just for others, especially those in a weaker position than him, but he'll have the respect of himself.

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                • Animal
                  Animal commented
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                  Absolutely love this post.

                • Vive
                  Vive commented
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                  I think you're on to something. I can only speak for myself but, I used to be seriously addicted to video game. Even though I no longer have that problem, I'm still very lost in the sense that I still feel hollow. Not the I can't experience any fun kind of hollow, because I certainly am able to enjoy myself. Aside from a couple things I want to achieve, I lack a greater aim, a real goal that really makes me feel something, gets me passionate, makes me feel truly alive. Of course this maybe a different issue entirely that is my own, but perhaps what you've described has contributed.

                #10
                Very interesting topic of discussion. One that is quite important to me as I don't fit the stereotypical understanding of what femininity is and nor do I aspire to it.

                Can I just make note of this:
                To get back to what a healthy masculinity is, it's a sense of standing firm in your convictions and sacrificing for the greater good, whether that's going to war, taking on leadership roles in your community, or just raising a family. It is nurturing and generative, it is neither envious or threatened by the wild energy of youth, but seeks to mentor it and guide it into something stronger and better. Likewise, it does not fear the feminine, does not lash out in anger at it, but see's it as it's compliment. It is action based and results oriented. It focuses on solutions, not problems. A man in his full capacity will not fear challenge, but seek it out. He'll have the fire in the belly, and appreciate the grind, the struggle, the hard work. He'll revel in the sacred feminine knowing that his masculine essence compliments her femininity and vice versa. He'll not shy away from the hard calls, or duty, not for fame or glory or recognition, but because it needs to be done. And he'll have the highest respect not just for others, especially those in a weaker position than him, but he'll have the respect of himself.
                I would say, I would be more inclined to strive for this, even though biologically I am female and have no real desire to be male.

                Anyway, in terms of what femininity and masculinity is....

                I actually think femininity is defined in terms of masculinity. The cultural standards set for feminine behaviour lag the cultural standards set for masculine behaviour. I think the reason is because, ultimately, when it comes to the protection of a society, the burden fall on men. They are responsible for defending a society against any form of threat.

                In doing so, they also tend to dictate the terms to which women can respond to them, aka "submit" and it's up to the women to choose to do so. -- she doesn't have to submit if she doesn't want to. However, the request from the man comes first.

                So to me, masculinity sets the standard for femininity.

                Now, since @pleasure to burn has wonderfully described masculinity, I will go ahead and try to describe the 2 types of femininity I am aware of, which Animal as also mentioned.

                The first type is the Rebellious woman. In most circumstances, I would say this is unhealthy femininity. She seeks to destroy the societal structures men have built: stable family homes, stable communities and stable societies. She is a jealous female, every woman is a threat. Sometimes she is even threatened by children, she absolutely loathes anything vulnerable and weak. She is not forgiving, she is vengeful and scornful. She does not fulfil her traditional role in the home, she would rather do as she pleases when she pleases. She is loud, crass and highly neurotic. She is also incredibly self-destructive: either she drinks in excess, she takes drugs in excess, or she may even self-mutilate. This "archetype" expresses itself differently in different periods of time, but in modern day, these women tend to be what we call "feminazis" or "wine mums." LOL.

                People tend to avoid these women for the most part, though some people try to "save" these women from themselves, but instead they are consumed and spat out and left damaged.

                The second type of woman is the Receptive woman. (Also read as Submissive, or Obedient - didn't want to offend anyone too much, LOL). These women for the most part are an absolute pleasure to be around. They make the lives of those around them easier. They are more in tune with the needs of others, than of their own. However, because they are there for everybody else, they have no shortage of people willing to protect, and look after them too. They understand life is about give and take. They have huge drives to please people. They hate rocking the boat. Even if they are neurotic, they can soothe their fears or can rely on others to reassure them. They are highly in tune with nature and natural cycles -- what we call "mother's intuition" or "female intuition". They genuinely prefer to give rather than to receive. They can let other people walk all over them - but ideally, they have strong people (of both genders) to protect them from this. They have freedom, but choose to willingly submit to the strongest force in their lives - be this God, the government, her man, her father, etc.

                People are drawn to these women like moth to a flame. Children, men (both good and bad), and she is cherished, and loved. (Hopefully.)

                Now, reality is, these 2 descriptions are on opposite ends of a spectrum and most women fall somewhere in between.

                The main point I was trying to make though is that, both masculinity and femininity are a spectrum, and most people fall somewhere in between.

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                  #11
                  Originally posted by DAPHNE XO View Post

                  The second type of woman is the Receptive woman. (Also read as Submissive, or Obedient - didn't want to offend anyone too much, LOL). These women for the most part are an absolute pleasure to be around. They make the lives of those around them easier. They are more in tune with the needs of others, than of their own.
                  So like, as Te-leading woman... how do you feel you do with all this? 😅

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                    #12
                    Feminine: nesting, acquiring, discerning.

                    Masculine: testing, ability, achievement.

                    Now mix them up.

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