I divorce “feminine” from “womanly”, because arguably I am male. But these are my nature, not nurture- my nurture was to make me masculine. You might argue that I grew up learning that these qualities were feminine, but that would be too weak to inculcate them in me. My femininity is innate. Because of it, I express myself female. What of these “feminine” characteristics do I claim?
Sensitive, empathetic, compassionate. Doing something to serve another is one of my greatest pleasures. After I was sacked as a solicitor, the third partner had left her keys behind. Working my notice, I was given little to do, and was sent to drive after her with them. When I handed them over, I felt a rush of delight. In the CAB, I gave people the space to open up and express their distress, not because I am an emotional vampire, but because I felt it made them feel better, and because I could earth their pain rather than take it into myself. So I am communal, unselfish, supportive, motherly, nurturing, gentle, forgiving. Caring. I care.
“Fragile” is thought of as a feminine characteristic. Well, if I am open and undefended, vulnerable because my feelings are close to the surface, I will be hurt sometimes. Healthily, I will process that hurt immediately, rather than suppressing it up and getting more stressed. This may make me appear “fragile” sometimes. I cry, rather than preserving a stiff upper lip. So “Fragile” is an irremovable part of a good feminine characteristic.
“Uncompetitive”- I see that decisiveness and ambition are good qualities, and I don’t have them. The world would be uncomfortable if everyone had. I am communal and nurturing, to heal some of the hurts from that ambition. This leads to being modest, demure, seeking to be charming and attractive to win that ambitious, go-getting female. It can seem passive. I would be tactful- asking the feminine question “Would you like a break?” rather than making the masculine statement, “We need a break now”.
Artistic and expressive? I like colourful, eye-catching clothes and I love to perform- I did “The Story of my Breast” again at Charney Manor. I love children, and seek to enter their imaginative world. I like to play. I would find it fulfilling to be possessed by a masculine woman.
Ours is a social species, and these characteristics need to be in someone, or we would kill each other- just as the masculine characteristics are needed, or we would never achieve anything. Feeling like this has terrified me. Slowly I come to value it. “Feminine” is beautiful and valuable. Why should I not be Feminine?