I guess the complicated answers to it will lie in studies of anthropology (gender studies), psychology, history as well as anatomy. But, all I know is that the way we are perceiving gender and sex is changing very rapidly and we better learn to cope with it.
As I sit here being productive in the newly opened Starbucks at University Town, I enjoy it by people-watching and eavesdropping. Doing that, I can’t help not staring at a particular group of guys. They were sitting just right in front of me.
They were either Singaporean or Malaysian based on their slang, with the typical unimpressive appearance of NUS male students (khakis with slippers), but I was intrigued by their body language and speech. As I continued typing reports on my laptop, my eyes keep straying to them to watch their facial expressions, their slouch, and especially their hand gestures. When my music playlist paused for a few seconds, my ears picked up the way they phrased their words, and their voice. In more ways than one, I think they were more feminine than me.
By the way, this post is not meant to be a judgmental piece, but just a statement of how things are. I don’t mean and don’t want to cause anxiety, anger, grief, hate, or any negative feelings by writing this.
Watching and listening to them, I have to admit that I was slightly uncomfortable with it. Growing up with Disney fairy-tales and a semi-sexist society (though women are educated and can have successful careers, the masters of the house are still usually the men), most of us have been brought up in the era of the damsel-in-distress feminine females waiting to be rescued by the heroic and bread-winner masculine males.
Let me just be clear about a particular matter, though. I get really annoyed when people intertwine femininity in guys with homosexuality, which is really incorrect. Have you read YouTube comments lately? Just read comments made to OneRepublic, Glee, The Script, or Adam Lambert, and you’ll see them. All these statements are very unjust, unfair and very ignorant.
Masculinity in women and femininity in men are happening at a rapid pace now due to the emancipation of women and globalisation. With women having more rights and freedom, and the world becoming harsher day by day with the increasing competition, damsel-in-distress type of females can no longer survive. We have to be stronger and be more independent. Of course, we have to keep it in check-and-balance to make sure that we do not lose our emotionally sensitive side, or else, we’ll turn into the feared ‘manly woman’. On the other side of the track, more men are becoming increasingly dependent on women, both in the household and out of it, and thus, the rampant increase of men with feminine traits. However, things are not so bad for the feminine guys. There are studies saying that men who dare to show their feminine sides are very attractive to women (e.g. Shah Rukh Khan, Brad Pitt), and another study saying that men with girly faces are more reliable: http://tgr.ph/nYU0s3. Now, it’s getting very complicated. Oh well, gender studies IS confusing.
More and more, we are learning that there are gray areas in this area. What is the definition of a woman? What makes a man? Then, what of those unfortunate ones with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS)? And, who defines the characteristics of a man or a woman? Just because the idea of the masculine male and the feminine female has been there for millenniums, that doesn’t mean it’s right.
I don’t know the right answers now, and in fact, there might not be a right answer after all. So, for now, all we can do is to be aware, not to be judgmental, and not to fall into the traps of false gender-dichotomy.
It’s time to read Judith Butler… maybe?
- World Femininity Day – are you serious? (thefword.org.uk)
- Gender’s Role in Facebook and Google+ (slashgear.com)
- Gender-Blurring Galleries – The Snejana Onopka Vogue Nippon Shoot is Both Masculine and Feminine (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Queering Women Invisible (radicalhub.wordpress.com)
- Gender Verses World: A battle to define oneself without sexism (renetaxian.wordpress.com)
- Judith Butler (suraiiah.wordpress.com)
- My femasculine utopia (femmefresh.wordpress.com)
- Trending: Genderless grown-ups (life.nationalpost.com)
- Boys Will Be Boys (sela12.wordpress.com)