Lucia has something to say

Friday, September 08, 2006

Masculine and Feminine

You Are 62% Feminine, 38% Masculine

You are in touch with your feminine side.
Sensitive, intuitive, and caring are all words that describe you.
And you're just masculine enough to relate to both men and women.

This outcome doesn't surprise me. I think most reflective people have a pretty good idea where they fall on this spectrum. Girly girls know they have a higher feminine quotient. Macho women know they'd be near the middle or toward the masculine.

I'm reading Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent. In a social gender experiment, she dresses as a man to see what it's like to be a man.

I think many women wonder (but only in a fleeting way) what it's like to be a man. What I imagine is pretty superficial--talking in deeper voices, having stubble (and not on their legs), and walking and sitting with their legs far apart.

At the end of the experiment, the author says "I curtailed everything: my laugh, my word choice, my gestures, my expressions. Spontaneity went out the window, replaced by terseness, dissimulation and control."

She said that both men and women watch men for signs of weakness or inadequacy. They watch for any failure to observe the rules of manhood. And women, women want men to be in control, and also to be tender and vulnerable. (This could be quite a double bind!)

I'm sure there are rules for womenhood too. But what are they? Not to be loud? To be dependent? To be sweet and kind? To be supportive? To be sensitive? I'm not sure how they'd be characterized, but they must exist.


Blogger meno said...

I read that book a few months ago, and it was much better than i had expected.
I was interested in her experiences walking down the street as a man, and as a woman.

10:18 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Oh, and i got 61% and 39% and the exact same comments as you.

10:21 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

Ooh. That dependency line is a tricky one to walk. Humans want to feel needed, but too much and you become clingy. Wonderful NYT "Modern Love" thought piece by Amy McLeary (9/10) "When Thunder Rolls in, My Lie Rolls Out" in which she pretends to be afraid to give her man something to be brave and strong about. Something he can protect her from. It is poignant and thought-provoking.

We are supposed to be compassionate and understanding, supportive and ego-building, but the very part of us that makes us skilled at those things also makes us too emotional and touchy about things for some men's tastes.

Men are often blunt, women circuitous. I much prefer the guy roommate saying to the other "Fuck you, it's your turn to wash the fucking dishes" than when I had my roommates and came home to a five page letter on my bed essentially saying the same thing. But making it about why I chose to go out to the Metropolitan Museum on free Tuesday nights and play softball in Central Park. The dishes were a catalyst for a waterfall of grievances.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Meno: Actually, I think I got this book after you referenced reading it somewhere.

Amusing: Circuitous is a wonderful way to describe the way women can be in the world.

1:58 PM  
Blogger meno said...

Oh, well then, I'm glad you are reading it and i hope you end up liking it as much as i did.

8:35 PM  

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