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What is femininity?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Norsemaiden, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    If I ask you to imagine the most masculine man that you can, surely everyone has a fairly universal idea - big, muscular, powerful, deep voice, good at fighting, courageous, etc etc. In fact this goes for animals generally too.

    So now try to imagine the most feminine woman possible. This is difficult imo.

    Is femininity a lack of masculinity or is it a thing in itself?

    I would say the latter, but have trouble in defining it!

    Can anyone help?

    One point is that there is this idea that perhaps characteristics like talking in a babyish voice, wearing pinkness and fluffiness, and being physically feeble are examples of extreme femininity - but I would say these things are rather more examples of prematurity/childishness.

    Is there a confusion in people's minds between this childishness and femininity? If you look at tribes (of all races) living outside of civilisation in particular, they have always had roles for men and roles for women so there is the masculine and the feminine - yet their women have none of that pink fluffy feebleness.

    In the times when Tacitus wrote about the differences between the ancient Germanics (barbarians) and the degeneracy of the Romans (civilised) the pathetic kind of so-called femininity was common amongst pampered Roman women and absent amongst the Germanics.

    And if that's not feminine then when homosexuals behave in a "camp" so-called "effete" way I would say that actually NOT feminine but rather a regression into childishness.
     
  2. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    When a characteristic that is relatively new within the evolution of a species becomes attractive because those who are attracted to it leave a greater genetic imprint on the future due to the characteristic's correlation with higher phenotypic health, we have what is known as runaway sexual selection. This is the natural process that drives the evolution of such elaborate, species-specific ornamental displays as a peacock's tail. Even if a characteristic provides no practical benefit to the organism's ability to survive, it is still an indicator of high phenotypic health, because the organism's ability to compensate for the energy demands of the characteristic provide it with an advantage in intraspecies sexual selection that outweighs the risk of predation, starvation and other natural factors.

    The differences between some masculine and feminine characteristics may have evolved this way in humans as well. The deeper voice, body hair, and larger stature of a man all correlate with the higher testosterone levels that drive a man's sexual performance, as well as serve as representatives of his phenotypic health and overall verility.

    Additionally, males are typically more aggressive and more physically powerful because it gives them a reproductive advantage in intraspecies sexual competition. By being able to dominate females and other males, he increases his genetic assurance, which is necessary for a male because he cannot guarantee that he is the genetic father of any offspring.

    By contrast, females always have genetic assurance, because it has always been impossible (until the advent of recent medical intervention) to have another woman's offspring. Concequently, women had no selection pressure to compete for mates through physical dominance or aggressive behavior, while these traits have always been a necessity for males.

    As far as "feminine" characteristics, they are not anti-masculine. Rather, they are simply the expressions of such characteristics that indicate phenotypic health and fertility to a male. For example, a softer voice, full breasts and lips, smaller nose, reduced brow ridge, narrow waste and wider hips are all strong indicators of female fertility, so naturally, they are viewed as feminine.

    Even preferential behaviors can be defined by the adaptive circumstances from which they originated. Because women must carry their offspring in their own bodies, they are naturally more picky about the phenotypic quality of their reproductive partners, because they can't afford to make a mistake. By contrast, men have no physical burden and are much more lascivious and indiscriminate as a result.
     
  3. Resonator

    Resonator Member

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    When I see the feminine I see a vision of Wisdom before my eyes. Without question, the qualities of a woman make my head spin, from all the physical attributes to the basest of qualities in self. The woman I would see as most feminine is one with strength, caring, and tact.

    Without a form of strength the feminine I seek is weak and will always need an arm and never need one at the same time. Their willingness to accept an arm without invitation shows willingness to let her man participate in her life like that.

    If a woman cannot care, or does not feel like being cared for, where does a real relationship lie other than friendship? It just goes hand in hand with strength, when accomplished in the right fashion.

    Tact is hardwired into the skull of every woman. I never met a woman in my life who didn't enjoy acting in such a fashion, and personally I love the humor. Sure, you can call that being "Bitchy" but to be frank I would rather share in the humor and accept my defeat then be proud over nothing.

    I suppose the list could go on, but those are what I see as feminine, other than what obvious physical qualities would make them. I never said I didn't enjoy those just as much as the others :p
     
  4. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    Care, compassion, and an inability to park a car :p
     
  5. Resonator

    Resonator Member

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    I love the humor here. If there are feminists around, can we ask a big favor and ask you to embrace this humor rather than reject it? It makes peoples lives brighter at the cost of nothing (Except the amount of shit you decide to give).

    Ty. And rock on :headbang:
     
  6. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    It is a scientifically established fact that women have less spatial awareness than men. I really struggle to reverse and never attempt parallel parking - but it is great to just blame that on being female! Men can use their sex as an excuse for other things.
     
  7. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    All that stuff about the evolution of female physical characteristics and hormonal differences kind of misses my point in some ways.

    Another thing is that physical stuff isn't necessarily going to mean the woman is feminine. You get Eastern European shot putters with big hips and breasts who are very unfeminine while little prepubescent girls are not lacking in femininity just because they don't appeal in a sexual way.

    The big breast thing is extremely culturally defined and I know someone with very small breasts who had no trouble giving birth and breast feeding several children. Chinese women mostly are not curvy but none-the-less fertile or feminine.

    Also in a number of primitive tribes large breasts indicate lactation and are a turn-off to men as they look for signs of readiness to conceive.

    No one can clearly define the epitome of femininity like you can with masculinity. It exists yet is somewhat elusive.

    Do (non human) animals have any femininity?

    There is: scent, having vagina, caring for offspring (but males can do this too and in some species take primary care while the female doesn't bother).

    What is feminine about the limp-wristed variety of homosexual? Is that really femininity? I suspect its not.

    If a man is less masculine than another does it mean he is more feminine? Does one aspect increase as the other decreases?
     
  8. Resonator

    Resonator Member

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    Nothing. It's a bunch of men who share a common interest in butt sex trying to fit in with each other.
     
  9. OldScratch

    OldScratch Member

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    A little Schopenhauer comes to mind:

    "Women are suited to being nurses and teachers of our earliest childhood precisely because they themselves are childish, silly and short-sighted, in a world of big children, their whole lives long: a kind of intermediate stage between the child and the man, who is the actual human being, 'man'"

    That should set the feminist tongues a-wagging!:heh:

    Nevertheless, this is a good question. Schopenhauer's hyperbole notwithstanding, it might be said that a certain "childishness" in women is actually an endearing quality. Personally, I do not find particularly agressive women appealing, and much prefer a touch of the reserved "shrinking-violet" syndrome - not unlike a timid child in some ways. That is not to say immaturity is a good thing, but rather a retention of that innocence we associate with childhood. It's a harder to articulate than I though it might be. Have to think on this more...
     
  10. Norsemaiden

    Norsemaiden barbarian

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    I had been thinking about that exact same quote from Schopenhauer when I was writing earlier posts. My experience is that men are in fact more prone to behave like little boys. The women have to clean up after them, tell them to get a wash, allow them to play around with gadgets/toys etc. I have even had to say to a grown man: "I think you need to go to the toilet" and at first he was baffled at my perception before agreeing that indeed he did! :erk:

    Both sexes have the potential for childishness!

    Schopenhauer was particularly observing pampered women, rather than hard-working farmers' wives for example. He is not entirely wrong, but his comments do make me laugh (with genuine amusement).

    Here is the basic problem as I see it:

    If men become more feminine the less masculine they are, do women become more masculine the less feminine they are?

    That's the way everyone normally talks about it, but how can someone become more of one just by being less of the other?

    Or is there some kind of neutrality in the middle? In that case men who are less masculine might move into the neutral ground rather than break through into being feminine - and the less feminine women may also be in this neutral androgenous state - approaching from the other direction as it were. Hmmmm. It really is a puzzle.

    I think Julius Evola has written something that may shed light on femininity and masculinity in "Revolt Against the Modern World" so I will have to dig that out.
     
  11. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    As a man I cant speak for what femininity is to a woman. I also never placed the emphisis on femininity as I do on masculinity. In reading these posts I determined that to me masc/fem are simply physical traits, none of that how they act or whats in their heads business. Are we going to say being afraid of snakes is feminine ? I've seen many men come out of their shoes at snake sighting. Are we going to say a woman who is outwardly strong willed gave up some femininity ? Are we going to say the extreme example of a butch woman ready to tear anyones ears or head off over the slightest provocation is very masculine or just an asshole with issues, just like the men who are the same way ? These needy pampered ways of some girls I suppose could be called feminine, but I think they are learned and cultural as well as very disgusting. I dont like scared women but I have known many very feminine shaped and desireable girls who are very strong and non wimpy. I believe many girls develope these scared/whiney characteristics because they think it makes them "cute" and Im sure that works for some men. I believe this is also the case with... flamers. Nothing is carved in stone when dealing with personalities and so many personal characteristics are learned and developed.

    I do find it sad that our modern cultures primary target is the castration of masculinity (not assholes) and that so many males are becoming... well physically whimpy and cowering... masked as compliance to be "tolerant" of all things, "politically correct" and basically a bunch of worthless sheep, handing over the reigns to "what women want". On the reverse we have women deciding how the world is going to spin and carrying that new found obligation to extremes with a pile of worthless trivial laws, aggressive outward behavior and condemnation... all of which is amusing by way of the all tolerant views also forced into place.

    So as usual we have the extremes, in this case both of masculinity and femininity makeing a mess of the works but at the end of the day they are still just simply assholes who need to stay out of other peoples business.
     
  12. Resonator

    Resonator Member

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    I think, on reflection, this is probably more important than what it is to a man, though both go hand in hand.
     
  13. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    As masculinity and femininity are just descriptive labels for a range of traits, I don't really see that the sex of the describer is relevant. If I can't speak for what femininity is for a woman, I equally can't speak for tasty, good, disgusting, etc - which may be true but seems beside the point.
     
  14. Vimana

    Vimana Member

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    Doing the dishes and making me sandwiches.
     
  15. Methadrenal

    Methadrenal Addicted to the cold

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    In my opinion femininity is, or should be, purely a physical thing. If you are obviously physically female then you are feminine.

    Dividing personality traits into those that are masculine and feminine just creates problems.

    That said, I think it is mostly older people and very reactionary ones who still feel the need to do that. At least, it is only older people who feel the need to bug me about 'not being feminine' because I like moshing, I can growl, and I don't really present myself as open or vulnerable emotionally.
     
  16. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    you can speak of what is tasty, good and disgusting to you... but not for someone else. In this instance I personally feel only a woman can acurately explain most of whats involved with femininity cause frankly Im clueless..... :lol:
     
  17. BlackMetalWhiteGuy

    BlackMetalWhiteGuy Manly Man!

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    There are differences though and while a great deal of them may be culturally defined, there are biological differences in the types of behaviors and thought processes that men and women are naturally predisposed to. You can measure this by examining the differences in test scores on average by male and female students with equal educational backgrounds and you can also look at an MRI of a male and female brain and see that they are anatomically different, thus predisposing men and women to different proficiency levels for different skills.
     
  18. Methadrenal

    Methadrenal Addicted to the cold

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    I have no problem with the fact that there are certain neurological differences between men and women.

    I have a problem with the fact that as a society we seem to like to exaggerate these differences greatly, then label anyone who doesn't fit them 'abnormal'. These attitudes are on the way out, but still there.

    Am I really not a female inside because I mosh and growl? Is a man really not male inside because he is openly emotional?
     
  19. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    Does the state of being 'feminine' really have that close a connection to being 'female'? I don't think so - which leaves you female 'inside', but not feminine. If you and others are going to confuse the terms then I can imagine it could be bothering :)
     
  20. Methadrenal

    Methadrenal Addicted to the cold

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    Well it is a grey area, but one would assume that being feminine is linked to being female.

    People's attitude seems to be that if you don't conform you're physically female but you have a male mind.

    I fail to see how getting in a moshpit erases my femininity. If it does, then femininity is a frail thing and not worth having.

    This is why I prefer to do without ideas like masculine and feminine. We should be free to be people, not have qualities taken away according to whether you are male or female.
     

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