Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Women Owning Their Masculinity

Yesterday I posted an article on how one woman sees the difference between a guy and a man, a view which I do not support as it was presented. Today, I offer you a woman's perspective on what masculinity is, aside from physiology. This is quite a good post.

I think we can learn a great deal about masculinity from non-traditional embodiments of it, as is the case in queer studies and women embracing their masculinity.

This comes from Rabbit Write, a very cool gender studies blog I just discovered.

Getting in Touch with your Masculine Side


Men who are “in touch with their feminine side” are stale news. In the past few decades it has become almost the norm and the default for raising boys.

I have said on this blog that I prefer the femme-y guys to alpha bros. I favor the sensitive chaps for two main reasons: 1.) I don’t think that a blind adherence to one gender and it’s stereotypes can make for a complete or interesting person, and 2.) I am a woman who is pretty in touch with her masculine side, so I need a guy with a gender-balance to match mine.

While the sensitive, sweater-core male is ubiquitous in our generation, society still draws tight lines for women between being butch and femme. But why should guys get all the exploration-fun? I say it is time we explore our masculine sides.

Being in touch with your masculine side doesn’t mean being into sports or farting in public thank goodness, because I could not get down with that. Getting in touch with one’s masculine side is about finding your “masculine” traits and presence. For an opposite example: Ned isn’t a femme-y guy because he likes fashion and baking cupcakes, his femme side is about his gentleness and his capacity for empathy. Getting in touch with your masculine side is about taking those traits that are seen as traditionally “masculine” and owning them. And there are some fantastic “masculine” traits to be owned: strength, courage, power, competitiveness, independence, ambition, confidence, assertiveness, and being logical. From the time we are young and “dainty” girls, these masculine traits often are discouraged in us and eventually erased.

It isn’t about trying to act like one of the boys, but finding the masculine parts that are already inside of us. From the time that I was about three years old, there was a big part of me that identified more with boys, more as male. This part hung out with my boy cousins, was a problem-solver and a trouble brewer, yet also seemed pretty grounded and level headed. I also had a side that was over-the-top girly and giggly, an empathetic part who took care of kittens and created elaborate games. In my three-year-old mind the two me’s were different and gender-specific, they didn’t overlap. I would later realize that this static separation is where problems would arise, getting in touch with my masculine side was key, but it could not be at the expense of my femininity.

This tom-boy part has camped out inside of me my entire life. Yet, while I celebrate masculinity and revel in this part, I am still pretty clueless about what it means to be a boy. In college I starred in a friend’s short film and for the last scene my female character was shown with a mustache and beard. After calling it a wrap, I decided to try my new male look on my public.

Rabbit became Ryan.
Read the whole post.

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