Femininity & Masculinity
"Femininity" (F) and "masculinity" (M) are words with different meanings throughout history depending on the society they've been used in. These however are based on a flawed binary system (instead of a more true-to-life spectrum), but as I do not know any replacement words, I will be using F&M in this post.
F and M are presented as a collection of traits that define what it is to be a "proper" woman or man, and are then linked to being desirable. This categorization leads to gender stereotypes.
I fell on articles that illustrates the epitome of these stereotypes: "There comes the point where a guy goes a little over the gender line and it makes you want to go, ew! Being sensitive is okay, being too feminine is definitely not. If you're seen as one of the feminine guys but want to be attractive to girls, stop these things." Then followed a list: "Don't cry at chick flicks, don't wear shorts that go above your knees, don't cross your legs, don't eat neatly, don't decorate, don't notice when someone has an awesome purse, you need to have owned a plastic figure or a plastic gun in your life," and, bafflingly, "don't love cats." These dictate taste, style, personality and emotions in ways that range from absurd to harmful. The same thing applies to F: "Be flexible, lose that fat, sound beautiful and polite, don't be clumsy, smile for him, don't throw yourself at him, dress attractively, don't be easily available, don't always agree with him, don't let him know you've fallen for him, be busy, never show him something bothers you, inflate his ego." All these instructions can be harmful if taken literally, as men and women might repress part of themselves in fear of being undesirable if not "feminine"/"masculine" enough.
I believe "F" and "M" - which are undefinable concepts far removed from these stereotypes - lie in everyone, are expressed differently in each individual, and can't be dictated and generalized. How could anyone define a human being by sensitivity = feminine and virility = masculine? It's upsetting to see that the online dictionary's synonym for M is roughness, and for F it's docility.
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