Embracing Masculinity and Femininity
It's important to let others be what they want, but it's also important to see these traits beyond their mainstream depictions.
Virtually everything in our society is gendered. Whether it is a product or notion, every social, psychological, economic and political aspect of our culture perpetuates gender indicators that are tailored towards specific and marketable demographics. These stem primarily from historical conceptions of what it means to be a man or woman (before the awareness of other identities became more common, such as transgenderism) based almost exclusively on biological traits.
As a result, people are normally expected to behave according to their sexes. Any deviation from the norm, and individuals get labelled as “tomboys” or “flamboyant.”
As if any of that really even matters in the first place.
Why should we care about how the mainstream arbitrarily classifies us, when all we’re doing is expressing humanistic attributes? Masculine and feminine traits are human traits that any person should have, regardless of sex, personality, upbringing, appearance, or sexual orientation.
The only components sex dictates are anatomically unique bodily functions and the reproductive system for each sex respectively. It does not, and should not, determine the feelings people can or should be allowed to have or the capabilities they’re able to actualize. Just because masculinity has traditionally been associated with males doesn’t mean that it can’t be possessed by anyone else, nor does it lose its meaning in expanding its application, and this same idea applies to the expression of femininity as well.
The problem is that a lot of people seem to confuse gender as coexisting with sex definitively. They don’t realize the values and morals born from both masculine and feminine traits that could pave the road for overall human development. Strength (mental and physical), independence, courage, and assertiveness, among other traditionally masculine traits, are all potential virtues that can benefit the growth of any individual.
They may denote perseverance, initiative, and the assurance of being able to count on oneself to accomplish a task, whether for their betterment or others. We certainly don’t only praise one group of people for that reason alone, do we? We take pride in everyone who succeeds in this way, because we know that people are capable of expressing selflessness and take matters into their own hands, not only to make themselves feel good, but also because they want to see other people be happy.
Then, of course, we have the feminine traits. They consist of, though are not limited to, passivity, compassion, sensitivity, and empathy. Some of these traits are often viewed as being relatively negative; for example, people may interpret the behaviour of most women as overemotional or condescending. These are misinformed stereotypes, if anything. Or they might apply to some women, depending on their personalities, and not to the entire group as a whole.
Sure, women (and even people in general) might have their moments of defence or assertion, especially when it comes to debates and discussions on significant topics. But we can’t dismiss these as ever-burdening traits that others who interact with them have to bear. Let me ask you: don’t we all want to at least try to understand and possibly connect with each other in some way? Don’t we all care for, and want to help at least one person however we can? Well, that’s compassion, sensitivity and empathy for you - all of which are feminine traits.
Additionally, not all women or people as a whole try to be right all the time or complain about everything. Balance does exist; it’s important for us to know when to speak and when to listen, as well as which behaviours we should be accepting of. While there is strength in trying to remain civilized and reasonable while taking blows, we should never let it push the boundaries of demeaning our self-worth.
This perfectly exemplifies the embracement of both masculinity and femininity. While not everyone will exercise these traits equally, it is crucial that we all uphold them at least to a degree. Working together, they help us rationalize and come to terms with our thoughts and actions, and they teach us to have passions that could make for a better conscience - and a better world.
There is nothing wrong with anyone being chivalrous, nor sophisticated. Neither is there anything wrong with being born into manhood, womanhood, or what have you. All of these things are phenomena that should be cherished. But the truly right thing to do is to be a person of real character, someone who can acknowledge their flaws but also be able to redeem themselves with admirable attributes.
So the next time someone tells you to “man up” or “act like a lady”, smile and confidently respond with, “I’m perfectly fine with being human.”