Bare with me because shit is about to get gnarly and understanding this concept might mean re-reading sentences. I’ve broken this topic into a two part article because when it hits home you’ll be struck with an inherent dizziness that reshapes your view of human behaviour.
Understanding the sorcery of our gender fluidity has always been intriguing to me. I’ve long been fascinated by the unique balance between masculinity and femininity in each of us, and the way that it subconsciously perpetuates or challenges the subtexts of our physical gender.
As with many aspects of life, gender is a concept that can be viewed through the lens of Yin and Yang, and the contrary forces, that despite their separate natures are inextricably intertwined. This balance is eternally present within a relationship and the delicate harmony between the femininity and masculinity of each partner. Regardless of gender we can be highly influenced by aspects of masculinity as a female or, by the feminine as a male. This doesn’t mean that our sexuality is doubted, nor does it mean transformation into a hoop slingin’ tom boy or Ru’ Paul magnificence.
Gender is divided traditionally by the dominant representations of it that exist in our contemporary worlds. This means that our world view of gender is shaped by our particular eco-system and the social constructs that we are continually exposed to. The (still) dominant view of gender is rooted in traditional notions of what it means to be a man or a woman. For the most part we attribute certain psychological, behavioural, emotional and physical characteristics to each gender, even if this is only on a subconscious level.
Examples include: Women are nurturing, great communicators and emotionally savvy, Men are decisive, practical and should be a beacon of pragmatism and strength.
Even though we are taught to unwind these preconceived ideals through self discovery, and to be curious about oversimplified explanations I don’t think we realise just how fluid masculinity and femininity can be.
Femininity and masculinity are not fixed constructs, in fact they fluctuate depending on a multitude of external and internal factors. We can deal with situations in a uniquely masculine way, despite being an inherently feminine woman. We can summon femininity or masculinity when necessary and abandon it other times. We are constantly in a state of flux between the two influences. There are many examples of this in modern relationships, for example a woman who runs her own business may seem dominant and resilient in the workplace but still feels the desire to be seduced romantically and treated tenderly by her partner. A man with great soft skills may still retreat into himself in a typically male way when he’s confronted by a difficult emotional moment.
Within a relationship the equilibrium of the two gender foundations greatly sets the scene for the dynamic within it.
It’s important to realise that, for the most part we seek to match ourselves with the opposite gender qualities when we choose a partner, and that’s the subconscious search for balance. A partner portrays a reflection of our own selves and as Yin is opposite to Yang, female the opposite to male our level of femininity is mirrored by a similar amount of masculinity in our mate.
Of course, things are simple on paper, but become confusing when played out in reality. If the theory rings true then our very dominant, typically masculine males; the ones who are characteristically blokey, strong alpha males will seek their opposite counterpart; the ultra feminine woman, the girly, demure lady on the street. But, when we exit the Barbie and Ken folding Fun House Fantasy how does this play out in real life? If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that humans, particular in 2021 are very hybrid creatures and fluidity applies to everything from anti-aging treatments to sexuality.
To be continued..