Farrah Fawcett once said “God made man stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met.” Why then, do women still feel that men are superior to them? Does being feminine lower us, or make us inferior? What defines femininity, and masculinity as the opposite? In an excerpt from source B, De Beauvoir says this “The terms masculine and feminine are used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal papers.
” She makes the point that masculine and feminine are unimportant in everyday life, however if used, they are used as a term of judgment and usually negativity. She continues “…for man represents both the positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of man to designate human beings in general; whereas women represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without reciprocity.”
Women are defined by limiting criteria.
What a degrading phrase. Why is it that women always get put on the back burner of respect? We are told that being a man means you are masculine, and if you are not masculine, you are not a man. But what defines masculinity? Is it being a “brave soldier” as in source C, or is it being able to be in tune with your emotions? I will draw from source B again “A man is in the right of being a man… so there is an absolute human type, the masculine.” Men are entitled to no feelings except those that exude strength, because of what we have been told since 1599. In source C, Shakespeare writes “But I had not so much a man in me, And all my mother came into mine eyes, And gave me up to tears.” He says crying is something from his mother, and it makes him become a man no longer.
But what if they had it wrong? What if the real strength of men is being able to be feminine? In source F, a poem written by Maya Angelou, she says this “Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can’t touch My inner mystery.” How fitting of a woman, the inner mystery she describes. It truly cannot be touched, or bought, or sold. It needs to be earned, and they only way to earn that is be being feminine.
To close, I want to finish off with reference to source D, which I think sums up everything that is masculine or feminine. “ Women are told from their infancy, and taught be example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, OUTWARD obedience, and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain them the protection of men… How grossly do they insult us who thus advise us only to render ourselves gentle…”