Mind Carlberg has put on another fantastic exhibit where the vision is to showcase each individual’s way of looking/feeling masculine for the ladies and feminine for the gentlemen. This one got me really thinking about the two words though.
I found myself battling on the social construction what it really means to be feminine these days. Though the definition of feminine is having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, the typical woman nowadays has really changed. Where women were once usually described as submissive and quiet, women now are holding power as leading CEOs and active social reformists. Where women were once seen as weak and incapable of doing tasks men do, and have been subject to oppression, mental and physical abuse – yet they survive and become stronger.
I know more Superwomen than I know Supermen. When I hear the word feminine now, I have to think… what does that even mean? Does it describe the single mother who is single-handedly providing a life and future for her young children while taking on two and sometimes three jobs just to support them? Does it describe the soldier who happens to be female while she is out years at a time defending her country along side her troop? Does it describe the master surgeon who spent decades learning and preparing for her time to save hundreds of lives or the farmer who spends long days in the field feeding the nation?
What about masculinity? What really does it mean to be a man? When described as masculine, is the person exuding strength and tough qualities? If that is the case, then why aren’t pregnant women describe as masculine since they are the ones who not only carry a child in their bodies for months, but will eventually be splitting their bodies open to birth a child in the end. Maybe it is the way men carry themselves with confidence and dominance that make them masculine. However, I have also come to believe that too much confidence then becomes cocky and too much dominance becomes overbearing and abusive. Does that mean too much masculinity really means it is bad? What about too much femininity? What would that mean?
All I know is women have it tough yet they are crushin’ it every day. They are fearless fighters and strong survivors. Leaders as well as partners. Mothers and the fierce protectors of their loved ones. So what does being feminine really mean now? To me, it is a word that is void of any particular meaning other than the simple biological distinction of the x and y chromosome.
View or participate in Mind’s latest exhibit at The Buried Man gallery.