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For you, what are femininity and masculinity?
For me, the words are very meaningful, and I do care if a person is feminine or masculine.
But then, noone would confuse me with anyone who’s answered the opposite.
I am also very much aware of the contingency and cultural specificity of femininity and masculinity as constructs. I am aware that there are plenty of people who have difficulty or malaise aligning to them. I am aware that they can lead to toxic consequences unchecked, and that there is a consensus in flux about how they are negotiated and defined and externalised and internalised.
Vote #1 Victoria Weaver of course: Victoria Weaver’s answer to For you, what are femininity and masculinity? I’m talking about the sociological sense here.
Are they real? As real as fashion sense or race or music. They’re all in the head. That doesn’t mean they’re not real. That doesn’t mean they can’t be a source of good in the world—they’re constructs that it is up to us to harness. And they don’t disappear in a puff of smoke, just because we’ve identified their downsides.
To talk of the psychological sense: I’m not going to apologise for finding femininity attractive, or for feeling good about certain aspects of masculinity. I have a socially conditioned sexuality, and having a sexuality is a good thing. In itself, having a straight sexuality doesn’t make me (to pull out some representative examples) biphobic, transphobic, squicked by agender or bigender people, or whatever else. For me; others will see it differently, I expect.
I do not believe that having a sexuality, informed by constructs of masculinity and femininity, automatically makes you a pig; I also have a superego, after all. And the norms that inform that superego, and that determine the sociological nature of gender constructs, are being remoulded and renegotiated. As well they should.