When you hear the terms, femininity, and masculinity, what comes to mind? Probably something that pertains to male and female or man and woman. While that may have some truth in itself, it’s not really true. Society has told us that men have to be masculine and women should be feminine. But what do these terms entail? What is the difference between femininity and masculinity?

Masculine and feminine traits can both be exhibited in a single individual, regardless of gender. That’s why we are dynamic beings. David Deida, author, and counselor made a very concise breakdown of these terms. He stated that masculine traits are rooted in a core of decisiveness, purpose, mission, and direction while feminine traits are from the flow of emotions and harmony. A woman can have a masculine core and a man can have a feminine core. There can also be a balance between the two within the same individual. 

Feminine energy is pure, infinite, and boundless. It is beautiful, ever-changing, destructive, and moves freely in no particular direction. Femininity is the source of inspiration and also the driving force of life. It moves in every direction possible while the masculine stays true to one direction. The masculine and feminine energy need each other in order to thrive successfully. The masculine gives focus, purpose, and direction to the feminine. The feminine gives the masculine its much-needed passion and drive. The feminine projects while the masculine directs. 

What are feminine and masculine traits?

Let’s discuss feminine and masculine traits. These are the characteristics that help to determine what masculinity and femininity are. A person is said to be masculine when he or she is;

  • Strong
  • Independent 
  • Assertive 
  • Dominant
  • Brave 
  • Innovative 

Likewise, a feminine person is;

  • Vulnerable
  • Nurturing
  • Emotional
  • Caring
  • Collaborative
  • Humble 

These traits are not specifically associated with any gender. It just depends on which characteristics a person displays more often. Sometimes, it could be the environment. For example, in the workplace, both men and women deploy their masculine traits in order to get things done. While caring for a baby, men and women get in touch with their feminine side. Masculinity and femininity are contained in everyone. You just have to draw out the qualities that will help you achieve your aim at that point in time. 

The status quo suggests that men should be masculine and women should be feminine. I personally do agree with this notion. It’s simply the best way to harness our natural attributes without trying to force anything. You find it much easier to do things which you are wired to do. But if a situation calls for masculine or feminine traits, you should choose what would benefit you. A woman can be dominant if she is a boss or leader and has to enforce discipline in her workers. A man can cry if he loses a loved one or something goes wrong. It’s totally normal. To achieve balance in our lives, we have to make use of both masculine and feminine traits.

What is masculinity and femininity in society?

There’s no doubt that society has tried to define what masculinity and femininity are. You know that we are social animals and the lens through which we view ourselves is formed by the society which raised us. Society portrays different traits that are most suitable for men and women. This causes us to teach boys and girls to act accordingly and develop traits that are acceptable for their gender. 

All through our adulthood, we still have to follow the rules and regulations of gender behaviors. While this may differ from place to place, society continues to shape what we call masculinity and femininity. There are many assumptions and speculations in the behaviors that society promotes. Some things that society enforces can either be true or false. You just have to go with whatever worked for the people you wish to emulate. 

Although the physical features of men and women might categorize them into masculine and feminine, society hasn’t observed their psychological similarities. We think alike and our psyche isn’t much different. Certain traits such as fear, insecurity, compassion, creativity, empathy, and mating instinct are common to both genders. Society has fixed us into stereotypes but we all have masculine and feminine traits. Instead of trying to fit into society’s categories, accept your different characteristics, and use them to your advantage.

What is masculinity and femininity culture?

Culture defines us and the way we think. It also differs from country to country. It is a set of beliefs, rules, and customs imbibed by a particular society. Some cultures are masculine while others are feminine. A high-achieving nation such as the United States is said to be masculine whereas the French is feminine. The way your culture views the world will determine how you view the world. An American might seem to be focused on competition and wealth while the Frenchman may want to do what he loves and have time for his family.

Geert Hofstede was a social psychologist who helped define cultures by their gender traits. He said that a masculine culture is one that expects men to be competitive and focused on material success. A masculine culture expects women to be nurturing and focused on the quality of life. Hofstede said that a feminine culture allows both men and women to be nurturing and focused on living a quality life. These descriptions are stereotypical because they are meant to show the discrepancies between a masculine culture and a feminine one. 

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. Within a masculine culture, there are men who are focused on nurturing people and there are women who are assertive and independent. There are also people of both genders in both masculine and feminine cultures who are focused on both social nurturing and achievements. Geert Hofstede’s theory mainly helps to ascertain the extent to which a society stresses social nurture or material success.

Some traits of a masculine culture

  • Ego oriented
  • Money and material things are important
  • Live in order to work
  • Highly prioritize economic growth
  • Conflict solved through force
  • Large gender paycheck gap
  • Fewer women in management
  • Preference for higher pay
  • Failure is a disaster

Some traits of a feminine culture

  • Relationship oriented
  • People and quality of life are important
  • Work in order to live
  • Highly prioritize environmental protection
  • Conflict solved through negotiation
  • Small gender paycheck gap
  • More women in management
  • Preference for fewer working hours
  • Failure is a minor thing