TMI Tuesday: the sexes

TMI Tuesday blog


1. What is femininity to you? Tell us in 50 words or less. Fifty words or less? Try fifty pages or less. But in blurb format: “femininity” is a set of behaviors and appearances that are coded in the culture as being appropriate or desirable for females to express. Because binary thinking is prevalent in the culture, the traits of “femininity” and “masculinity” are mutually exclusive, so “femininity” is thus inappropriate or undesirable for males to express.

2. How does femininity come into play in your sexual relationship? If I dress to be sexy, I tend more often to choose clothing and adornment that is considered “feminine”: skirts, dresses, toweringly high heels, makeup.

Note: It happens that I’m interested in BDSM and prefer the submissive role. It also happens that the cultural definition of “femininity” includes sexual submissiveness. But I categorically reject the notion that submission is an inherently female trait (and I’m sure male submissives would agree with me on the point). My submission is an expression of self in the context of a specific relationship. It is not an expression of gender.

3. What does masculinity mean to you? Tell us in 50 words or less. See #1, mutatis mutandis.

4. Men, we often hear about women’s body image struggles–what are your body image issues? N/A.

5. Men’s gender role conflict is a psychological state in which restrictive definitions of masculinity limit men’s well-being and human potential. Do you now or have you ever suffered from men’s gender role conflict? What are you doing to resolve this? N/A. But I will say that because men’s gender role conflict limits men, all men suffer from it in some way. However, if men don’t perceive that they’ve suffered from it, that may be because the culture is on the whole structured to benefit men more than women (viz. patriarchy).

Bonus: Does gender have any real meaning anymore? Did it ever have any “real” meaning? A person’s genitals are a physical fact, but nothing aside from a few obvious physical conclusions (e.g. a person requires ovaries and a uterus to become pregnant) can be deduced from this. The body has no inherent meaning – all meaning is assigned, and it’s almost entirely arbitrary. If gender appeared to have meaning before and appears not to now, perhaps it’s because the construct is starting to be seen as such.

How to play TMI Tuesday: Go to the TMI Tuesday blog and copy the questions. Paste them to your blog and answer them there (with a link to TMI Tuesday Blog). Then go back to the TMI Tuesday blog post and provide a link to your post in the comments.

4 thoughts on “TMI Tuesday: the sexes

  1. “…the cultural definition of “femininity” includes sexual submissiveness. But I categorically reject the notion that submission is an inherently female trait…”

    I agree, but wonder if it’s because it’s been the norm for so long that women are better at it? Men (to generalise) are only now learning how to give up their dominant role.


    1. Well, it’s certainly more acceptable (and thus easier) for women to be submissive since it goes with the cultural flow. I’m not sure I’d say that women are better at it, but on the whole we have a head start in that direction.

      Because patriarchy sets up a hierarchy with men being seen as broadly superior to women, “masculine” behavior is considered superior to “feminine” behavior. On this view, submissive women are seen as properly “feminine”. Dominant women may be seen as insufficiently “feminine”, but they may get a partial pass because dominance (which is “masculine”) is seen as better than submission. Dominant men would be properly “masculine”. Submissive men have two strikes against them: they fail at being “masculine”, and they choose submission which is seen as inferior to dominance.

      It’s no wonder that men have to work hard to be able to let go of dominance.


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