Magistral

Being a female doesn't always mean that you have to fit into a pre-set role of femininityI am frustrated. I am frustrated because people think it’s their job to police others’ femininity or masculinity.

It’s like, we’ve all been prescribed a quota-a level of femininity or masculinity, that we are required to meet, and if we don’t, other people are entitled to confront us about our shortcomings, so that we may make adjustments.

I, like each of you, have been socialized into performing my gender by means of behavior, dress, grooming, etc., and I happen to feel secure in conducting myself in a feminine manner, which falls in line with society’s expectations of the way I’m supposed to behave and interact with others. However, this is not the case for a lot of individuals.

I have a very dear friend whose significant other has been exceedingly critical about what he perceives is a lack of femininity. Consequently, she has been adjusting her appearance and behavior in order to please him.

I find this disheartening, because I really admire this friend of mine for her ability to be herself un-apologetically, and regardless of what anyone else might think. And I like the person she is.

Men are also prescribed a very rigid list of traits to obtain in ordered to be considered as adequately masculine. For both genders, and any gender in between, the societal expectations to behave a certain way are very constraining to individuals.

Real men are buff, real women have curves; men can be scruffy, women should be void of all body hair; aggression is acceptable for men, but women should remain passive; men must be diligent breadwinners while their wives maintain their households.Being feminine is a personal choice, and should never be decided by society

You get the idea-there’s a lot of rules to remember. And if you choose to disregard some, or take on characteristics of the other gender, your femininity or masculinity is called into question.

Managing to conform into a functional member of society while simultaneously developing an individual identity can be dizzying, and quite the balancing act.

There’s no wrong way to be a woman, and no wrong way to be a man. I just wish that society would allow us to perform our genders in an authentic fashion, rather than jumping through hoops in order to meet the expectations that have been prescribed to us before even our grandparents were born.

Imagine if these hegemonic masculinities and emphasized femininities didn’t exist-I think that we all would have turned out vastly different.

M.

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3 thoughts on “Magistral

  1. hmmm….a colleague celebrated her birthday at the office today…and my man insisted I do not partake in the alcohol intake coz its not lady-like; then and there I knew I would never be able to become a perfect lady; coz am a free woman.

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  2. Umm I understand what you’re trying to say, but at the same time, I feel like that’s pretty sexist, even though it’s internalized socialization. I truly do feel that emphasized femininity is a social construct, as well as hegemonic masculinity. Additionally, this couple I mentioned has been together for two years-why has it taken him THIS LONG to vocalize his desire for her to fit into a mold that he made for her?

    If a man needs femininity in order to feel masculine, is that not insecurity in his own masculinity? I feel pretty damn feminine without even interacting with a guy.

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  3. How much do you consider sexual attraction to be genetically programmed? As a cis-male, I feel very attracted to women who express a traditional sense of femininity: beauty, confidence, and even what you might consider stereotypical gender attributes such as a love of flowers, decor, fashion, and homemaking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breaking traditional gender roles such as who is the stay at home parent or who does the cooking. But for me, there’s something magical and beautiful about traditional femininity and how it empowers me to be masculine. It’s hard to explain, but find me such a girl and I will enthusiastically rise to compliment her femininity with my masculinity: I’ll body-build to be fit and muscular. I’ll be her gentleman one day and her tough guy the next. I’ll find a good job to offer support, and I’ll mow the lawn, do the dishes, and whatever else to please her. I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe your friend’s significant other simply wishes she were more traditionally feminine because that’s what he’s attracted to. He wants someone with the right attributes to get him energized and motivated to make sacrifices and demonstrate his commitment. Maybe he wants someone more feminine so that he can feel empowered to be more masculine. Does that make any sense, or am I just rambling?

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