The topic of masculinity and femininity is one that can open a lot of doors, however, a popular approach is that of feminism. From a feminist perspective, femininity in particular, is seen as burdened by numerous stereotypes and gender roles which have resulted in various historical movements attempting to liberate women and push for equality. Nowadays, this issue has also shed light on males who – although history shows that societies have been functioning on patriarchal principles – have been neglected in the emancipation of individuals as opposed to adhering to societal pressures and conceptions of masculinity; a concept known as ‘toxic masculinity’ (Clemens, 2017).
An interesting approach is that of psychoanalysis, which focuses on the importance of creating a relationship template with both sexes, based on the early attachment with your parents. Moreover, Carl Gustav Jung maintained that every individual incorporates qualities of the opposite sex, femininity in men and masculinity in women, called the Anima and Animus, respectively (Stead, 2019).
In light of recent progressive movements in favour of gender equality and self-awareness, it is considered healthy to become in touch with both your inner masculinity as well as your inner femininity. Since the issue of ‘toxic masculinity’ is a current hot topic, we shall discuss how both females as well as males can become in tune with their inner femininity.
How can one embrace their inner femininity?
- According to Shelly Bullard (n.d.), femininity can be pictured as the life force. This makes evolutionary sense because women are biologically equipped with a sexual system coupled with maternal instincts which allow for a woman to raise her offspring. Being in nature can help one connect with their inner feminine energy and help revive the soul
- Moving hand in hand with the life force is the creative force which is embodied in the female body, designed to create lives. Engaging in creative, expressive and artistic endeavors can help one embrace their inner femininity
- Reflect, reflect and reflect! Females tend to be more emotionally-oriented as opposed to males’ preference for logical thinking. Therefore, counselling and psychotherapy are extremely helpful and it is also important that you dedicate time to reflect about your awareness of your emotions, your ability to express them as well as recognise them in other people as it helps you connect more with yourself and others. This brings us to the next point..
- Apart from reflecting on ourselves, it is also important that we allow ourselves to explore and communicate with our emotions when we relate to others. Placing rationality as your default mechanism when communicating might be important for when you need to solve a problem quickly, however, some people, especially men, tend to limit themselves in their ability to be more attuned to the person rather than the situation, showing some dislike for going ‘deep’ in a conversation. Being able to relate emotionally helps in strengthening relationships and becoming more self-aware in the process. There are also certain cases where it is best that you take a more person-oriented approach rather than a task-oriented approach in order to deal with issues of a personal and emotional nature
- A common stereotypically-masculine idea is to keep on pushing to reach a goal and being considered as weak or failures if they give up. Sometimes, however, ‘giving up’ on something is a decision taken for the sake of taking care of another aspect of ourselves or of our life. Women, on the other hand, are thought of more as dedicating time to unwind and take a break. In order to take a break from the masculine systematic tendencies both men and women are exposed to in such a fast-paced lifestyle, remind yourself to take more breaks and that your life is not determined solely by your work-load
Embracing your inner femininity and masculinity allows you to be more flexible in your way of relating and dealing with tasks in your life, using both qualities according to the situation. Taking into consideration the fast life we live, it is perhaps necessary to start adopting more qualities associated with femininity. There is nothing wrong with being in touch with your inner femininity. It’s there, you just have to unleash it.
Bullard, S. (n.d.). 6 Ways to get in touch with your feminine side. Mindbodygreen. Available at: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12941/6-ways-to-get-in-touch-with-your-feminine-side.html
Clemens, C. (2017). What we mean when we say, “toxic masculinity”. Teaching tolerance. Available at: https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/what-we-mean-when-we-say-toxic-masculinity
Stead, H. (2019). 4 Carl Jung theories explained: Persona, shadow, anima/animus, the self. Personal growth. Available at: https://medium.com/personal-growth/4-carl-jung-theories-explained-persona-shadow-anima-animus-the-self-4ab6df8f7971
Luanne Grima is a psychology student who works as a childminder with Willingness. She also forms part of Betapsi.