Femininity is a term identical to the concept of femininity. It is derived from the word "femina", which means "female" or "female". Thus, the concept of femininity encompasses a set of psychological characteristics that are traditionally attributed to women. Since the biological task of the beautiful half is to preserve the appearance and reproduction of their own kind, meekness, endurance, responsiveness, kindness, anticipation of protection, emotionality are among the characteristic features of women. In addition, nature has endowed the female body with more stamina and resistance to the influence of negative environmental factors, manual dexterity, speech skills, smaller body size, and speed of perception.
What it is
Under the term described, it is customary to understand a set of features traditionally referred to as feminine qualities. Also, femininity means a set of behavioral patterns expected from the daughters of Eve.
The concept of femininity covers both biological elements and socio-cultural characteristics, and is not caused solely by the female gender.
The term femininity is considered a synonym for femininity, masculinity or masculinity is the antonym, that is, male gender, which includes the following features: courage, independence, confidence, equanimity and rationality.
Despite the fact that in different ethnic groups and epochs the concept of femininity had various definitions, they still distinguish a number of characteristics that are considered to be originally feminine, forming the basis of the phenomenon under consideration, namely, sensitivity, meekness, sacrifice, sincerity, and resignation. The listed representations should not be considered completely universal.
M. Mead was practically one of the first to describe the life of primitive tribes (Chambuli, Mundugumor and Arapesh), focusing on the dissimilarity of the gender approach in various communities. Thus, for example, she noted that in both Arasheshs, both sexes are characterized by “feminine” behavior, mundugumors of both sexes are characterized by belligerent “masculine” behavior, while Chambuli women are considered “practical” gender, which obliges them to perform physical labor, while their the "courageous half" will pay attention to taking care of their own appearance.
Despite the sharp criticism of some of the provisions of the described work of Mead, her research was an important stage in the study of gender characteristics and the development of cultural anthropology.
In a number of cultures, femininity was caused by attractiveness and fertility, as a result of which many ethnic groups attributed to the gods of love (Aphrodite, Ishtar) precisely the female gender. In patriarchal society, the core feminine “virtues” are due to the traditionally well-established roles of Eve’s daughters, namely, marriage, living, and motherhood. Thus, in many religions, a modest and hard-working spouse is exalted, who works willingly and keeps silent more. In this case, the virtuous wife is contrasted with the "adulteress," "shameful wife." In ancient Chinese philosophy, the key place is given to the concept of unity-antagonism of yin-yang, which are considered fundamental principles. At the same time, Yin identifies the feminine and simultaneously compares with something negative, cold, gloomy, passive, while Yang, in its turn, is associated with the male gender and is considered positive, clear, warm, active. However, in Indian mythology, it is generally accepted that, on the contrary, it is the female gender that is active.
Scientists are constantly wondering whether sexual self-determination and specific behavioral patterns are innate characteristics or arise due to the influence of upbringing and the environment. According to the studies of the famous psychologist D. Halpern, the development of behavioral patterns is due to both factors. At the same time today the significance of these factors in quantitative measurement is not known for certain.
A. Ehrhardt and D. Mani put forward their own theory, popular in the 60-70s of the previous century. Their concept stated that the future sexual identity and appropriate behavior of individuals is determined by the influence of the maternal hormones responsible for the development of the “female” or “male” brain in the embryo. However, later this view was subjected to sharp criticism and today it is considered quite controversial.
There are a number of studies proving the divergence of mental and psychological abilities of the daughters of Eve and the descendants of Adam. At the same time, these same studies have demonstrated that the female gender in the tasks attributed to the primordial man is affected by the threat of proof of stereotype. So, in a “test” situation, the young ladies, consciously or not, performed tasks associated with the template “non-female” areas of activity much worse, whereas in other circumstances they overcame them much more successfully.
There is a theory that the signs of femininity are generally or completely developed under the influence of the social environment. So Simone de Beauvoir was convinced that "women are made, not born." In her turn, K. Millet noted that the female sex from childhood was surrounded by the age-old "girl" books, toys, the main task of which is to remind the young women about their true female fate and destiny.
In his own theory, Jung presented the feminine and masculine elements in the form of archetypical images - anime (in men, the personification of the female unconscious) and animus (in women, the embodiment of the male unconscious). Jung associated the animus with solid, overly principled, strict, outward-directed decisions, and anime - with directionality inward, dependence on emotions, susceptibility to influences of moods. He argued that each individual in himself has both beginnings, but in different proportions, which is not due to gender.
Simply put, femininity in psychology is considered a gender characteristic, including a set of qualities inherent (as well as traditionally attributed) to the female sex.
Femininity is defined by qualities: behavioral (private, social decisions), psychological (emotionality, friendliness), intellectual (induction), professional (interaction with society and signs, monotonous work), ethical (matrimonial loyalty, ideal of motherhood), social (field of relationship) .
An integral element of everyday consciousness of society are stereotypes that carry a conviction in the veracity, authenticity, truth of any phenomenon, statement, way of life. A distinctive feature of conviction that accompanies stereotypes is its strength and stability.
In fact, in everyday reality, in situations where people have insufficient information, lack of time, or for the sake of saving forces, as well as due to the lack of life experience characteristic of youth, people usually use stereotypical thinking. Stereotypes of individuals are acquired from the social caste to which they belong, from the environment with already developed stereotypes, from the media.
To this day, there is a different attitude towards the daughters of Eve and the strong half. This situation, above all, has developed historically and is determined by social norms, due to the peculiarities of culture, religion and law, the specifics of economic development.
Most researchers in their writings of women are emotional, tender, seductive, sociable. In particular, it is often emphasized that femininity is associated with active manifestation of one's own feelings, interpersonal communications, and unification to association, and masculinity is associated with activity, sometimes bordering on aggressiveness.
Similar ideas about "Venusians" and real "Martians" are generally accepted in many modern states and cultures. Meanwhile, in the 90s of the last century, studies were published that demonstrated that, regardless of gender, people who do not possess power are endowed with subtle susceptibility to non-verbal signs. Thus, such sensitivity in lower professional hierarchies is due to the need for survival, since they need to be able to understand the behavioral signals of the "powers that be" in order to properly respond to them. Therefore, most likely, the susceptibility of the female to the feelings of the people around them is only an adaptive response to their forced dependent position, which has become generally accepted and even traditional in most modern cultures. It follows that the susceptibility of Eve's daughters to people's feelings is not determined by gender, but is the result of sociocultural factors.
Due to the solid assertion of technological progress in the world community, the growth of economic development, the availability of education and information, the "advancement" of young people, the domination of reason over outdated moral and ethical canons, the traditional foundations of many states have undergone significant changes. In the last twenty years, stereotypes that have defined femininity for centuries have undergone rapid destruction. Modern femins have not been tortured by the life of housewives for a long time and certainly don’t resemble the pampered ounce young ladies of past ages. Their characters are increasingly acquiring native male traits.
Today's reality dictates the conditions to the daughters of Eve. Women of the 21st century must be strong in spirit, independent, firm, domineering, persevering. Modern ladies understand what they want. They are able to simultaneously raise a child alone and make a rapid career takeoff. They conquer native male professions, occupy management positions, manage factories and even entire countries. This situation has long ceased to amaze.
However, the society will not condemn a perfect leader for a moment of weakness, for tenderness, vulnerability, helplessness, for features previously attributed exclusively to Eve’s daughters. This is the paradox of stereotypical thinking, most likely due to the role of women established by nature. No matter how strong and independent the young lady is, the society will always identify her, first of all, with her mother, and then a business woman or a successful politician. This is due to the well-established patriarchal society.
Today, modern trends in front of those women who intend to develop, outlined two epochal tasks. The first consists, first of all, in consolidating oneself in society, which, as already stated above, is completely permeated with patriarchal nature, and to accept one’s own nature, one’s devalued femininity.
Previously it was assumed that the described complex of qualities is biologically determined. However, today it is known for certain that femininity is not so natural a phenomenon as it had been formed since childhood. After all, the female sex is sharply subjected to condemnation since the kindergarten age, if the society has considered the young ladies insufficiently feminine. The modern definition of femininity has the following definition: it is an insolvent category, which the patriarchate, who reigned in society, endowed the good half with.
Today, such a phenomenon as patriarchy is gradually leveled in part because of progress, the rapid pace of life, access to education, and the struggle of women's communities against discrimination. However, the years of opposition to patriarchy did not pass without consequences for Eve’s daughters. Today, femininity has resulted in two negative phenomena - feminism and toxic femininity. The latter is an excessive abuse of qualities classified as originally feminine.
Most modern young girls misinterpret their femininity by exposing their own seductiveness, which only signals to the opposite sex about the accessibility or fertility of the young lady. Emphasizing seduction is not toxic in and of itself, but it becomes so when young beauties make noise, punishing men for their natural reaction to provocative behavior.
Each femina has the right to intimate immunity in the absence of mutual desire on her part. But if she dresses up vulgarly, exposing all the charms to show, makes aggressive makeup, while demanding that men not “staring” at her, then this behavior is toxic.
Toxic femininity is the abuse of intimate power over the strong half by maximizing seduction while playing the role of the victim.