It’s been a while since I’ve written about femininity, or I have written about it at all ? I don’t even remember. Anyway, I’ve been doing some Googling on it to see what is out there, and I’m amazed at how many more resources and relationship counseling professionals are talking about it now compared to even just three years ago. I’ve thought this for a very long time (probably eight years since I took an interest in the topic of femininity/masculinity in Japanese language), and finally there are a lot of other people putting it out there: people are so confused. When it comes to relationships, nobody knows how to act anymore. Men act masculine, and women have been instilled with the idea that they must act masculine, too, in order to be successful. So when it comes to personal relationships, men and women come together and everybody is masculine. The funny thing is, and I’m not an expert but use history as a guide, most men are not attracted to masculine. The result is women who struggle to figure out why they are unsuccessful in relationships, and men are frustrated because their relationships aren’t going well either. Everybody is so confused!
Times are also changing. Traditionally, men had more formal education than women, and women with more education than average typically ended up old maids. Now, that is being turned on its head. Women are increasingly earning more of the higher degrees awarded than men, but most women still want a man they can look up to, a man who knows more than they do, and a man who has more education than they do. It’s getting tricky for everyone out there. As someone who is considering a PhD, I can’t help but think about these things as well. I’ve always thought I would like to find someone who has the academic ambition to get a PhD, whether or not I ever got my own PhD. But now I wonder is that unattractive to have a PhD? Would it make it harder to find someone to marry if I decided to go in that direction? Would it make it harder to find someone who would be that person to look up to with more knowledge than myself? Because like other women, that’s what I would want.
Talking about how confused women are over their spirit (whether it be a masculine core or a feminine one), it should be mentioned that there are women who are naturally more masculine in their core. There are women who are neither masculine nor really feminine in their core. Most women are naturally feminine in their core, though, and always having to go against their nature by being conditioned to be masculine is hurting these women in their relationships and in their very core beings. These are women who are at odds with themselves. I can speak from personal experience to this. I grew up a tomboy, convinced when I was 15/16 that I would have a sex change, and struggled intensely with disliking my body for being female. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I began to be able to begin embracing my feminine core, and it took years to be able to fully embrace it. But I am so much happier for it now. I know who I am, and I am not just at peace with that part of myself but in agreement with it.
That being said, I receive a lot of hostility from female coworkers who behave very masculine. Some of the women I’ve worked with have been naturally more masculine, and that’s okay. The ones I find that are hostile toward me are the ones who seem to be forced into behaving that way (perhaps through their position at work or maybe because of how they were raised) and resent me. Now that I am in the working world, I’m feeling more push from my work environment to be masculine. It’s quite difficult to navigate, too. Workplaces are not open-minded about being anything but masculine, especially in the science field. This is one of the reasons I want to leave industry (let’s face it, business is a very masculine field, no matter where in the ladder you are) and move back into academia. Additionally, I want to leave chemistry and do linguistics/teaching English as a second language, because I feel the environment would be healthier for me as a feminine individual. Sadly, this should not be the case. Women who want to embrace their feminine core should not feel uncomfortable in their work environments because of expectations, but that is the reality of it. And until more women are able to accept their feminine core, the rest of the world will not accept it either, and the expectation will never change. I get the impression this is especially a problem in the US and is a problem to a lesser extent in Europe, where women were never really ingrained with the idea that to be successful one must behave like a man. I blame this mentality on the second wave feminist movement. The feminist movement started as something very good, but was hijacked and became something that told women to behave in a way that went against their nature. Many of these feminists are also the most miserable individuals you’ll ever come across, so really not many people benefited from the mantra of the second wave movement.
I think it’s time more women started to let themselves be women. For many of us, it will take deep digging to find that feminine core. For many of us, we will be surprised at just how feminine we actually are (I certainly surprised myself in this). Most importantly, those of us who discover our feminine core, we must learn to embrace it and express it. It does little good saying, “I know it’s there” and then just staring at it. We need to relearn how to live our lives and prioritize our values accordingly. It is very important that we learn how to express our femininity and become comfortable with it, but also learn not to apologize for it. Many women may have relatives, friends, or people at work or school who push her to be independent, assertive, and career-oriented, and it will be hard to say, “I’m just not like that, and I don’t really want to be”. Accepting it yourself will be a journey. Getting others to accept it will be a battle, especially in a world that is only open-minded to certain ideologies.
While I do not excel at direct confrontation, I can stand against what is being pushed on me quietly and continue to carry myself as is natural for me, despite what the world says. The world cannot force my behavior, but I also don’t have to be brazen in my going against it and thus making myself a target. It will depend on the individual what approach works best, but I hope any woman reading this will take time to consider it.