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Masculine and feminine

  1. Oct 19, 2016 #1

    wolram

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    I often hear about men having a feminine side, what ever that is, I am sure i do not have one.
    Do women have a masculine side? well many women wear mens clothes is that an indicator?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 19, 2016 #2
    No one is purely masculine or feminine. Those are ideals that don't exist in reality. Each one is somewhere on the continuum. It's a theoretical construct similar to "pure" temperaments in psychology.
    Men can be caring and gentle, women can be ambitious and fighters or explorers. Maybe wearing men's clothes can be viewed as a masculine trait, but it doesn't have to be, depends on culture and fashion at the time. For example, I consider trousers a unisex clothing and I wear them because they are comfortable, not because I identify myself as a man.
    There were exceptions in the past, such as Scottish men wearing quilts, togas that resemble more woman's dress than men's clothes and women used to wear trousers in Sahara to protect themselves against sand. So it's quite relative with the clothes.
    At the same time, if one intentionally wears clothing that is not typical of their gender in their culture, then it might be a sign that they are closer to the other side of gender spectrum.
    My personal belief, however, is that there are statistically significant differences between the genders and in general, needs, expectations and attitudes of men and women are different.
     
  4. Oct 19, 2016 #3

    russ_watters

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    I'd go further to wonder whether the traditionally labeled masculine and feminine traits even exist.
     
  5. Oct 19, 2016 #4
    What do you mean?
     
  6. Oct 19, 2016 #5

    russ_watters

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    You gave these examples:
    Who decided which are masculine and which are feminine to begin with?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  7. Oct 19, 2016 #6
    That's a good question. :)
    I guess these kinds of characteristics are something that is naturally present in the society and consciously and/or unconsciously taught to children so they are prepared to take their expected role in the culture. It may be something similar to teaching people how to behave in a role of a mother, father, a friend, an ideal leader, ideal worker, citizen, etc... None of these things really exist, but during history each culture tries to define these ideals in order to create a functional society that operates based on some relatively stable principles.
    Who defines these ideals? Well, in the case of male and female it is obviously partially based on physiology and evolution, it may also come from experience, myths, or ideology. Some of the characteristics remain stable during millenia, some may change faster as the culture evolves.
    I often observe how parents teach the stereotypes to their children. I sell children's magazines and it is interesting to watch how parents either approve or disapprove if their young child chooses a magazine (usually containing a toy- car, train or princess tiara and pink magical wand) for the other gender. I watched it several times how they intentionally bring "suitable" toys to children's attention and how they try to persuade them to change their mind if they choose "wrong" item. In some parents, I can intuitively sense the fear of their son becoming a gay, while in others it seems so natural that they don't even think that their child could enjoy playing with unsuitable toys. As might be expected, from my observation, there is a higher chance that a girl will eventually get a car than that a boy will get pink fairy wings.

    edit: I must also say that from what I've seen the wast majority of children instantly chooses a toy "suitable" for their gender.
     
  8. Oct 19, 2016 #7

    fresh_42

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    A (female) friend of mine once told me I'd have a strong feminine side. If so, it didn't pay out well ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  9. Oct 19, 2016 #8

    Borek

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    Isn't that what gender studies are about?
     
  10. Oct 19, 2016 #9

    wolram

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    I am totally baffled by this masculine or feminine thing i have not witnessed a feminine male, how can one tell if a man has a feminine side?
     
  11. Oct 19, 2016 #10

    Krylov

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    If he does not talk but instead "communicates" and he also enjoys extensive self-reflection, then you may be on to something.
     
  12. Oct 19, 2016 #11
     
  13. Oct 19, 2016 #12

    fresh_42

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    Reminds me on the following dialogue I've had:
    Someone: "I have told you so!"
    Me (and someone else): "When? Hey, dude, we're guys. You gotta shout it!"
     
  14. Oct 19, 2016 #13

    Fervent Freyja

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    Men often talk at each other, it is less threatening. It is especially easy to see those patterns on here. Women prefer to talk with each other. Huge difference in preferred methods of communication.
     
  15. Oct 19, 2016 #14

    DaveC426913

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    There are dispositions of all types, ranging from gentle, kind and amiable [and 47 other salient traits] to rough, surly and stubborn [and 47 other salient traits].

    Somewhere, someone decided that the ones at one end of the bell curve were defined as feminine and the ones at the other end were defined as masculine.

    There may be a strong correlation, but that is not causation - or definition.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2016 #15
  17. Oct 20, 2016 #16

    Borek

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    Men socialize by insulting each other, but they don't really mean it.

    Women socialize by complimenting each other, and they don't mean it either.

    Wolly, I strongly suggest you read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender
     
  18. Oct 20, 2016 #17
    Quite true, a discussion isn't a good discussion before you insult someone in a good-natured way.
    E.g. someone burned his hand a few days ago and he'll be clumsy (and other more colorful descriptions) until the end of time (around next week usually). In a discussion about whatever construction one's doing this comes up all the time.
     
  19. Oct 20, 2016 #18

    DaveC426913

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  20. Oct 21, 2016 #19

    Fervent Freyja

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    Where I'm from, the sexes are very much distinguished. Nearly all women here have what we refer to as feminine wiles or "psychic-like powers" of persuasion, using empathy and being able to read a situation or person. We don't use it for our own selfish gain, like eliciting attention from males (pretending to be all sweet and considerate)- we call that, playing the damsel or may consider them a social opportunist, but as a way to improve a situation for those around us. Women that don't take care of their appearance, like always wearing jeans, are often labeled as lazy here. I even had a man tell me once that the first thing he paid attention to on a woman is how much effort she put into taking care of herself, because that means she probably keeps the *rest* of her body clean and manicured. It makes sense.

    The definition of femininity varies all over the world though, so it may not be that way somewhere else. The highly educated but family-oriented Southern Belle is an icon for many women in my area. We exaggerate everything towards the feminine side, especially our accents. These women enjoy being feminine, we don't consider it a weakness. I cannot recall ever seeing a man clean an entire house, they don't usually do housework here (doing something a man doesn't want to do gives her some serious power in the relationship). When something exciting happens, we jump up and down about it- men don't usually do that... Most people have both masculine and feminine traits, I think labeling someone with that is simply assigning which 'default' character they use the most. As far as daily goings, I usually reside in the middle or the 'feminine' default, depending upon which hat I'm wearing. I can be too assertive at times, but that is also a trait mothers have to learn. I can be quite aggressive when I sense people of low character.

    Hard as Oak and Sweet as Honeysuckle.
     
  21. Oct 24, 2016 #20

    StatGuy2000

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    If I may ask, where are you from?
     
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