Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


Femininity is indeed actively bad (for a number of reasons I will try and outline) but I would not call it a mere distraction, it's actually worse than that. I would not say that masculinity is all-bad unless we are talking about extreme manifestations (aka toxic masculinity). This is because masculinity is actually a set of self-actualizing behaviors that have historically been associated with maleness because for much of history people assigned female at birth (AFABs) were considered non-actors, they were only acted upon.

Of course, I do not subscribe to the idea that female-bodied people are naturally feminine. Most behave in a feminine fashion but that doesn't mean these behaviors are innate to them. As the parent of small male and female children I haven't noticed a difference in dominance behaviors, but it's undeniable that my daughter is exposed to a lot more media that reinforces femininity/selflessness/domesticity while my son is targeted with media and toys that seek to amplify whatever dominance/ambition he has within him. 

There are many female-bodied defenders of femininity and I've heard their arguments. I'm sure they're well-intentioned and that we all want the same: for sex to cease to act like a caste and for everyone to receive the same level of respect for similar achievement. But I believe they're misguided because they treat femininity as if it were some type of 'female essence' or instinct (this is by the way a very primeval view) when it is, instead, a set of submissive behaviors that have come to be associated with AFABs due to a history of abject oppression and objectification. Obviously, when someone is considered property and is severely infantilized, they're not expected to be assertive or to lead anyone, in fact that would have put them in danger. If you wanted your daughters to survive to old age, they had to be trained in passivity. Also, being aesthetically displeasing as an object meant a wretched, lowly status, therefore folks wished for beauty in a daughter (there's a reason why fairy tale heroines are always 'beautiful' if nothing else). AFABs can still increase their status (as arm candy, not as leaders of course) by putting in an inordinate amount of time and money into maximizing their looks. 

The collection of behaviors we call femininity are a relic from spectacularly oppressive times. Someone may say, 'well, those times have passed, and women are no longer legal invalids and there are female prime ministers, therefore femininity today can be a good thing.' But I'm not sure this is how things work. Surely, we're not as brutal as when AFABs didn't have full personhood but that doesn't automatically transform femininity (AKA a collection of submissive and coy behaviors that made it more likely for women to survive as object-servants) into a positive force in their lives. The fact is that some of us are still performing submission and self-objectifying is incredibly disheartening. 

For me to say this is AFABs' fault would amount to victim-blame. It isn't someone's fault. Young girls are groomed into femininity from babyhood, just as it is still considered a rite of passage for boys to consume pornography that features masochistic portrayals of female sexuality. And the perks to be enjoyed for performing submission (AKA being feminine) are still real and substantial. What we need is a paradigm shift where we accept that while our sexual organs exist in a material realm, our sexual roles, preferences and fantasies (whether we are more stimulated by the idea of hurting/dominating or being hurt/dominated by a sexual partner, or by the idea of equal participation/dominance in the sex act) are informed by our environment and what we have come to internalize as normal. A feminine identity facilitates our acceptance of a submissive role in bed because we are already performing submission elsewhere. Some radical feminists believe that changing the way we interact sexually is crucial in achieving culture-wide equality. 

Personally, I subscribe to an ideology called gender abolitionism that also takes into account how gender affects boys and men. One just can't deny that women have been the primary losers in the hierarchy of sex.